Of all the articles my “third partier” friends have shared, this one probably provides the strongest rationale for the value of such a vote and resonates with many people. I was surprised to see myself agree actually with all of the individual points, but I disagree with the conclusion because of additional considerations.
Here was my reply:
I essentially agree with every point in this well-presented article. You could even say that the “pro-3rd-partiers” have just as much of a claim to say those who are holding their noses to vote the lesser of two evils rather than the candidate they really want are just as much “wasting” their vote, because they’re missing on an opportunity to provide real power to their viewpoint. One side says “pragmatically/mathematically” a vote for a 3rd party candidate isn’t going to affect the outcome, and another side says “principally/righteously” a vote to achieve ends that justify any means will violate your opportunity to vote your conscience.
For me, I feel immensely blessed to have the opportunity to vote this year for someone who I can enthusiastically endorse who is on one of the tickets of the two major parties. I don’t have to hold my nose or violate my conscience in this election, but I can share some thoughts about if I had to, because I had to in 2012.
In the last presidential election we had two candidates who morally and positionally I had strong reasons to not support either one. So some of these quandaries people are dealing with now, I had to ask myself then if I were to be intellectually honest and not hypocritical. For brevity, I won’t go into specifics, but basically when I didn’t think about myself so much and looked at the bigger picture at what God and Satan were up to (after all, our enemies are never Trump, or Clinton, but principalities, etc…), then my choice was much clearer.
-> In my view, my right to “vote my conscience” ends at the point it affects another’s right to live. I am not talking about “the ends justify the means,” which is a devilish philosophy advocating harm to OTHERS for the desired benefit for those others or for oneself, but I am talking about denying MY rights and opening MYSELF to harm for the benefit of others, which is what I saw Jesus do.
Specifically, in theory I could have a principled-based opinion to prefer to vote for neither Hillary nor Donald, but if my pragmatic neutrality causes someone I love to die, I need to let go of some principles in order to honor the greatest principle of loving God and loving my neighbors. It’s not right for me to take a third-party back seat, knowing what I know.
Amazingly, at the same time I saw you share this article, I saw this teaching from Life Outreach that (although not about the election) illustrates this point so well. When we look at the woman standing before Solomon who decided to give up her living baby to the care of the lying mother, we see someone who didn’t hold to her principles and vote third party. Instead, she acted out of love, and God used her heart to bring life and justice to all involved:
Others may not share this priority of principles, or may not know what I know, and that’s okay. I’m not forcing anyone to think a certain way. I want those who genuinely care for people in America and around the world and who know what’s going on, to take an active stand in this election and do what God is leading you to do. Don’t sit back, and by all means, don’t be intimidated into not doing what you should.[update] Finally, here is probably the best video making a similar point about considering the consequences of an “idealist” vote.