Monday, March 5, 2012

Who should I vote for?

Undecided who to vote for in the primaries?  Here are a few resources that will get you started in learning more about the candidates.  In this blog post, I'll list everything I personally considered when deciding which candidate to vote for; perhaps this will help you draw closer to deciding, as well. 

For a list of general information about the candidates and their political views, click here.  

If you're looking for the constitutional leanings of the Republican presidential candidates, a good resource I'd recommend is the Constitutional Report Card issued by Vision Forum.

In this report, Vision Forum rated the answers of all the Republican candidates during the 9/12/2011 CNN/Tea Party Republican Presidential Debate.  Their answers were rated according to strict constitutional criteria.  

The final grades for the candidates that are still on the ballot today were:

Ron Paul: A
Rick Santorum: D
Mitt Romney: D
Newt Gingrich: D

For the entire report card, click here

Of course, there are other things to consider in addition to constitutionality.  Some Christians consider the religious leanings of a candidate to be important for determining whether or not to vote for him.  

There are also side issues about certain candidates, other than constitutionality, that bother many voters.  For example, a large number of Americans are disturbed by Ron Paul's radical foreign policy views.  

Other voters are so sick and tired of Obama in the White House, that they will vote for nearly anyone that can beat him; these voters' main concern is a candidate's ultimate electability
What should we look for?

As for the religious beliefs of a candidate, I wonder if, as Christians, this should matter in our voting decisions?  We are supposed to be "salt and light" (Matthew 5:13-14), and we should certainly be involved in politics as Christians, but should Christianity and politics be interwoven to the extent that we shouldn't vote for a non-Christian candidate?  In other words, is it appropriate to vote for the most capable political leader, even if the most capable political leader is not a Christian?  I am not sure I completely know the answer yet myself; I'm just throwing the question out there for pondering. 

As for some of the side issues, (I call them side issues, but for some people they are rightly much more than "side" issues), I just want to briefly say that we should compare the  various negative issues of different candidates, and measure what the worst thing is at stake.  Which issues are most important, according to your personal values?  For example, is foreign policy or the constitution most important to you?  Or, consider what other issues you may find pressing: Marriage, pro-life, economy, spending, etc.  Once you can answer these questions, you can decide which candidate represents the most risk according to your values.  

Then, there is the issue of electability.  I can understand the desire for strategy, for choosing the most electable candidate that can beat Obama.  But should we ever compromise principle for so-called "strategy"?  As I see it, the act of choosing to vote for the candidate that is most popular or that is most likely to win, over choosing the candidate that is closer to your personal principles, sounds less like strategy, and more like caving into a kind of peer pressure.  Think about it: If we all voted purely for principle, would we ever have to worry about strategy or electability?  

I will conclude with this quote from John Quincy Adams:

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”