My political thinking has drastically changed over the last 12 months, due in large part to the influence of Mike Winthers and the Institute for Principal Studies. Mike lead a 10-week discussion on the Biblical role of government, and to say it was paradigm-changing would be an understatement. I gained much from the investment of time. This election cycle is where I put into practice the lessons learned.
A few brief disclaimers: Had you asked my political views 12 months ago, I would have told you
- I'm a conservative voter.
- I have no problem voting for a "losing candidate" in order to let my voice be heard.
- I find the best candidate in the race and support them win/lose/draw.
A lot has changed. If you were to ask me today (and I will assume you did since you are reading this...)
- I am a liberal voter. The reason for this change is that I find very little in the present government system that I wish to conserve. Since I hold a position that would radically alter the way the system looks, that makes me by definition liberal. It is the nature of the beast - one is liberal when they wish to change the current system, but every liberal becomes conservative when their policies are in place.
- I have no problem voting for a "losing candidate" in order to let my voice by heard in the primary races. When the final candidates have been decided, it becomes time to vote from among them, not from among the "wish they woulds".
- I find the best candidate in the race and support them as long as possible.
The reasons for this shift are simple. For years I have said to many "The lesser of two evils is still evil." I still believe that; but, really, any human candidate is evil. None will ever be perfect. So this argument is fast losing its appeal for me. The same goes with the 'pick the best candidate and support them at all costs' line of thinking. In the upcoming election, there are two major candidates and a host of others. The incumbent party almost always has a slight advantage, the challenger party is almost always at a slight disadvantage. Mathematically, the challenger has a larger deficit to overcome. Any votes cast for candidates/parties other than the two major parties becomes, in effect, an advantage for the incumbent candidate/party. But let's also consider this: should a candidate other than one of the two majors win an election, where is their constituency in Congress? Which Representative or Senator would sponsor their legislation or agenda?
Do I believe a third party (or more) is needed? Yes! I also believe the place to begin is not in the White House. Who has the most power in government? The person with the most power is held to the most frequent accountability, lest they abuse that power. According to the Constitution, the most powerful person in government is the Representative which is why they are held accountable by election so frequently (every 2 years), next is the President (every 4 years), then the Senator (every 6 years), then the Supreme Court Justice (a lifetime). To effect REAL change in the country, start putting alternative parties in the House of Representatives so a base is built on which a President can stand and accomplish something of substance.
Start changing things where it will help most. Start with the space between the ears!