Great question to ask. Let me give you my logic and my worries on this thought.
- I feel that I have a responsibility to vote. I have great freedom that many people in the world do not have. Many people died to gain this freedom. I take it seriously. This means that I am not going to 'not' vote if the perfect candidate is not there. I am fairly sure that there will never be a perfect candidate. Spending all of time complaining about the lack of a perfect candidate and taking no action seems like a waste of time to me. Therefore I will take a stand and make a choice, even with a limited or imperfect set to choose from. So my first decision is that I will participate in the vote.
- The way I vote in virtually all elections is to line up the candidates on a whole array of issues and see who I agree with on each issue. Normally it is fairly lopsided. The candidate with more check marks wins the vote. Now, when I compare the two candidates that are in the race now, I get the same lopsided affect. So my second decision is that I will vote for the best person according to my personal philosophies, thoughts, etc.
- Now, a question that is often asked these days is, "Why not punish your party by voting for the other guy because they have strayed from their core values?" This is a valid question.
- In the past years, McCain for instance has been known as a fringe Republican. In many instances he has undermined various party positions. He has also not being a traditional conservative. He prefers the straight talk Maverick label. I think of his as one of Moderates stuck in a 2 party system. However, as fringe as he may be, he is still miles apart from Obama. These are arbitrary numbers here, so do not take these seriously. If my ideal candidate was 100 out of 100, I would consider McCain probably a 65. My favorite primary contender was probably a 90. Obama is closer to a 30. Now Mr. 90 is no longer in the race. The highest person left is Mr. 65. And 65 is a lot better in my mind than 30. So part 1 of this answer is that I still think that McCain is a lot better than Obama. So lowering my standards to punish the party really seems like a contradiction of point 2. Also, I will say that if Mr. 90 was still in the race as a 3rd party, I would vote for him.
- But the stronger argument in my mind is the following. Laws that are enacted get ingrained in our society. They stick fairly fast and people get used to them. In punishing my party, I can enable harm to be done that will last a very long time. This is my fear. I look at legislation that was enacted for the New Deal around 70 years ago. Some of those programs (Social Security being the obvious) are already straining our budget these days and will only get worse. Again in the 1960s, the Great Society legislation was passed. It had its plus and minuses. Some of the minuses in my opinion are the Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare systems that strain our budget as well. These are pieces of legislation that have lasting fiscal effects on our nation. We are so dependent upon them now, that it is nearly impossible to get rid of them. This is just from a financial standpoint. The nomination of Supreme Court Justices is a vastly important function of the President. Do we want more rulings that allow municipalities to take our land or deny rights to the unborn? I personally say no. I see much more harm that can be done to my country in the long term. I do not think that it is worthwhile to punish my party.
- Since Philip brought it up, I do not feel a calling to punish my party or my nation. There may very well be one, but I am unaware of it. I think that there are certain citizens who are hoping for this, but I am not one of them. Also, if it is the providence of God, then I doubt that I will be able to stand in the way.