Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Problem of Parties

Over the past few weeks I’ve tried to convince you that the conservative approaches to the issues of the day are biblically consistent and/or more logical and practical than liberal approaches.

You may be saying, “My candidate holds all the right positions. It doesn’t matter that he’s a Democrat.”

I used to believe this. Unfortunately, it’s not true.

Partly as a result of how our system is set up, and partly as a result of the operating philosophy of certain political parties, voting for a conservative Democrat is really no better than voting for a liberal.

Are Pro-Life Dems Kidding Themselves?
Abortion is the best example to illustrate the problem. Here in Texas, we have three “Pro-Life Democrats” running for Congress: Kent Hargett, Brian Ruiz, and Eric Roberson. Presumably, if a pro-life issue came up, they’d vote against their party in support of policies designed to protect unborn humans.

The problem is that those policies will never come to the floor of a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. A vote for any of these gentlemen is also a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. She’s so pro-choice she’s bordering on pro-abortion; she would not permit any pro-life bill a vote.

The same holds in the Senate. A vote for a Democratic candidate for the Senate is a vote to let Harry Reid control the Senate’s agenda. It’s also a vote against giving the pro-life side a filibuster defense.

You may protest that Democrats have allowed pro-life bills to come to a vote before, but that was a long time ago in a Congress run by different Democrats in a very different political climate. Today, pro-life Democrats are barely even allowed to speak in public, much less vote their conscience.

Essentially, there can be no such thing as a pro-life Democrat in American today.

Not Just Abortion
This system is true for any issue where you disagree with Democratic Party leadership: drilling domestically for oil, taxes, judges, or health care reform. If there is any issue that is very important to you, don’t assume you can safely vote for any Democratic candidate in today’s political climate if you don’t hold the DNC party line.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is in a mode where they really don’t believe in debate – even among their own.

The Sad Plight of the Homeless
Right now there really is nowhere for pro-life people to go if they disagree with the Republicans about anything substantive. The Democratic Party has fashioned themselves as the abortion party. As long as they continue to do so, pro-life liberals really have no home.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Once upon a time pro-life and supply-side Democrats were seated at the same table as the pro-choice and Keynesian Democrats. Today homogeneity of ideology is enforced – and to be honest this is a problem in many aspects of American life, not just the Democratic Party. But there is hope that one day the Democrats will again embrace ideological diversity.

The Problem of Third Parties
“Wait a minute! What do you mean there’s nowhere for a pro-lifer to go? There are other parties besides the big two.”

Yes there are, and I’ve been known to vote for the occasional third-party candidate. But in a presidential race, we have to acknowledge that a third-party vote is a protest vote and nothing more. The Libertarian or Constitution candidate has no more chance of becoming president this year than I do.

Barr = Obama
“What if I want to cast a protest vote?” Well, that’s your option, but you need to make sure you understand what you’re doing. Either John McCain or Barack Obama will be our next president.

A conservative voting for a third-party candidate is really voting for Sen. Obama; you are denying Sen. McCain a vote in a very close race. The opposite holds true for liberals.

If you’re ok with your protest vote helping to elect Sen. Obama, then do what you need to do.

But if you’re pro-life and you vote against Sen. McCain, realize that you are enabling Sen. Obama’s plans to undo every pro-life victory since Roe.

Protesting into the Wind
I understand the sentiment behind the protest vote. Neither party is very consistent about supporting their principles. The GOP especially has earned a trip to the woodshed.

But a “protest vote” will not do that. We like to think they’ll look back at election day, check the third party numbers, and re-evaluate their approach to the issues that are important to the base.

Um, who are we kidding? They’re really not that bright.

What has shown some promise is when conservatives run as conservatives and beat liberals running as moderates while moderate Republicans get their butts kicked. That and unseating sitting Congressmen in primary races seem to be the only things they pay attention to. And they barely do that.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: If you don’t like the choices presented to you, next time run yourself!

But a protest vote is just putting the guy you like least in office.

Do What You Gotta Do
In the end, we’re all going to do what we think is best on election day. My goal is to make sure everyone understands the implications of every decision. If you vote for a Democrat or a Libertarian on election day, be sure you’re comfortable with both the man and the message you’re sending to Washington. And if you vote for a Republican, realize that you’re probably going to want to kick him in the rear at least once a month.

1 comment:

Tymetraveler said...

Very good article. I was a registered Republican for years, then became a Libertarian for a short time. That did not work out for me, especially with the Libertarian view on abortion. I am now "unaffilated". You make an excellent point for the argument that voting third party is really no more than a "protest" vote.