Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

29 August 2012

GOP and Voting Strategy


Note: This is cross-posted from my blog, NoodleFood.

Wow, this essay -- It Is Infuriating That I Can't Vote For A Fiscal Conservative Without Also Supporting Religious Aggressives -- was a huge breath of fresh air for me. Here's a few quotes:

At some point, I actually would like to vote for a Presidential candidate who has the balls to really tackle our budget problem. Because, as a country, we really do have hard choices to make. And now is the time to have leaders who are actually willing to lead (read: make unpopular decisions), instead of spineless yes-men who quake at the thought of saying or doing things that most people don't want to hear.

And given that the folks who say they will take a hard line on those sorts of fiscal decisions tend to be Republicans, I assume that to vote for such a fiscal conservative, I would probably be voting for a Republican.

And I would would be fine with that.

Except for one thing...

Thanks to the radicalization of today's Republican party, voting for a Republican fiscal conservative would also mean supporting Republican Religious Aggressives who want to expand the scope of government to such an extent that the government will be telling me what I can and can't think and do on certain subjective moral and cultural issues--and enforcing this legally.

And that's a non-starter.
In short, I support freedom.

The Republicans do not.

The Republicans support increasing the size and scope of government to such an extent that it strips away freedom and limits the choices Americans can make because some people believe these choices are "just wrong."

And that's a bummer.

Because I would like to support a true fiscal conservative at some point--our budget mess is a real problem.

But unless the Republican party returns to what it used to be, or a Democrat who is also a true fiscal conservative comes along, I fear that I am not going to be able to vote for one.

Because I just can't support what today's Republican Party supports:

Stripping away freedom and increasing the scope of government to the point where America won't be America anymore.
Hear, hear! (Please read the whole thing.)

In my view, the only way that the GOP will ever listen to the many, many Americans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal is if those people stop reflexively voting for the GOP simply because the Democrats are marginally worse on some (but not all) key issues.

The GOP knows that evangelicals will sit home rather than vote for a candidate not to their liking; they know that they have to earn the vote of the religious right. As a result, the GOP has become increasingly unprincipled and compromising on every issue -- except its (utterly wrong) opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

In contrast, GOP politicians know that fiscally conservative and socially liberal voters will hold their nose and vote GOP just this once... and then again... and again... and again. Hence, GOP politicians don't even need to pander to those voters while campaigning, let alone actually satisfy them once in office.

The only way to crush the GOP's love affair with the religious right, in my view, is to punish the GOP at the polls by refusing to vote for their big-spending theocratic candidates. We must say, loud and clear, that we'll only vote for candidates who are genuinely committed to cutting spending, welfare programs, regulations, and more -- while not push any social conservative agenda either. Yes, that will entail some more pain from the Democrats -- perhaps very serious pain -- in the short term. Alas, I think that's the only way to turn around the GOP's ever-growing commitment to spending like mad while imposing biblical law.

I discussed these ideas about voting strategy in greater depth in Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio Show. (In fact, I wrote this post before Sunday's broadcast.) You can listen to that segment here:

Links and other details can be found on the web page for the question.

My basic points were:
(1) The Founders did not create a two-party system by design.

(2) Voting is the least significant political act you can do, albeit still worthwhile.

(3) Fiscal conservatives need to be willing to refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils if they want better candidates.

(4) A good candidate from a third party is often a worthwhile protest vote.

(5) I don't yet know how I'll vote, although I'm most likely to vote for Gary Johnson.

(6) Acrimony over voting is wrong, pointless, and destructive.
I'm not too concerned with how anyone votes in this presidential election. I'm definitely not demanding that people vote in some particular way. The process of demanding better candidates from the GOP needed to start long before now... and it can only really begin after R&R either win or lose.

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