I have been overwhelmed by the thoughtful perspectives, concerns, and frustrations of the many TEA Party activists I’ve met in Virginia; and as philosophy is my deepest love, I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about the ethics of the various dilemmas facing TEA Party activists today. This will be the first in a series of five articles I intend to write. However, if anyone feels that I have not touched upon a particular topic or dilemma and would like it addressed, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. These articles will be long in order to address the entirety of the questions.
SHOULD WE VOTE FOR ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS IN GENERAL ELECTIONS?
I was recently asked this question while speaking with the King William TEA Party and my own answer didn’t fully satisfy my own mind. My answer was duplicitous, which is usually a sign of poor reasoning, but not always and truly not in this case. On the one hand, if we continue voting for establishment Republicans, establishment Republicans will continue to control the Republican Party. On the other hand, if we allow the radical left wing, the Marxist and Fascist Left, to gain power in government, we could do irreparable harm to our country. Just look at what Obamas’ Bureaucracy has accomplished over the last five years. Frightening, yes?
I will begin by spelling out the case for refusing to vote for establishment candidates. This position is justified by virtue of the most basic logic of republican participation: do not vote for people that do not represent you. That’s not a complicated stance. After all, in a representative republic, our vote determines the direction of our government and our government determines the direction of our foreign and economic policies. If we vote for representatives that do not truly represent us, it is logical to conclude that it will be the agendas of those they do represent which will be represented in Washington DC. How does it serve us to support politicians that actively work against our own philosophies and interests?
If there wasn’t a common dilemma referred to as “The Lesser of Two Evils”, this question would be easy to answer. If not voting for a Republican enables a truly dangerous, if not truly evil, man or woman to ascend to power, must we NOT vote for the Republican? Does this complication, however, somehow negate the fundamental logic that in a representative government you don’t vote for people that won’t represent you? If so, then the question is no longer a question of principle, but a question of practical strategy.
Therefore, we must ask ourselves, does “practical political strategy” take precedent over principle? Don’t TEA Party activists, like myself, constantly speak about the profound importance of principles in politics? Don’t we complain endlessly about the Cantor’s and McConnell’s of the world compromising with Democrats for “practical reasons” in order to avoid (generally) inaction? Inaction, which in most cases is viewed as the greater of two evils? How is what Cantor does when he compromises with Nancy Pelosi different from what republican voters do when they vote for John McCain, when they detest him, just because they think a Marxist like Obama would be the greater evil?
Now, for those of us who disagree with the purists amongst us, this is a question we better take seriously. Shouldn’t we? If we don’t have an answer to this question, then we are intellectually obligated to take a more principled approach when casting our votes. However, the case for the purist/principled view isn’t complete.
Besides principle, there is another important reason why advocates against voting for establishment republicans feel justified. This reason is strategic in nature and could rightly be considered a practical reason not to vote for men like McCain, even if they are running against men like Obama. Who controls the Republican Party and the party apparatus? Is it principled constitutionalists, libertarians, and conservatives, or is it K-Street Corporatists and Wall Street Globalists? Now if it is the latter, every vote for one of their candidates makes it that much harder for constitutionalists, libertarians, and conservatives (THE TEA PARTY) to advance their agenda; and if we fail to advance our agenda, then what is the point of having one? Tom White just posted a great article addressing this issue here.
Now, this is also the same line of practical reasoning used by Libertarians who refuse to vote for anyone but Libertarians. In 2000, that was my position. “What’s the real difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush”, I asked myself. Sure, there were several differences, but they were small, and my instincts about George W. Bush were entirely correct. He was a Big Government, aka compassionate, Conservative, aka Corporatist. In 2000, I was able to vote without holding my nose when I voted for Harry Browne, the Libertarian Candidate for President. After 9/11, and after the Lefts’ lurch left in 2004, I voted for George W. Bush, scared to death that what I thought was maybe the most unintelligent man ever nominated by either party for President, John Kerry, might actually win. That fear, palpable and realistic, made it impossible for me to vote for a Libertarian. That and Michael Badnarik was not a very good Libertarian Candidate and the Libertarian Convention was a disaster.
Let us imagine that a Democrat was going to run against the winner of the Republican Party in Virginia’s 7th District. Would we really vote for Eric Cantor? This is a man committed to the destruction of the TEA Party and the silencing of our elected representatives in Washington DC. No matter how terrible the Democrat might be, Eric Cantor stands between us and control over the Republican Party. What good does it do the rest of the nation if we allow Eric Cantor to remain in control of the Republican Establishment? What’s the Democrat going to do? Raise taxes? Give illegal immigrants amnesty? Raise spending? Increase the debt limit? Continually pass off congressional responsibilities to the bureaucracy? Gee, that kind of Democrat sounds an awful lot like Eric Cantor.
So those of us who disagree with the purists certainly have our own ethical questions to consider; but before we do, let me address the logic and justification of the “vote for the lesser of two evils” crowd.
My answer at the King William TEA Party was duplicitous, but I spoke with absolute certainty when I said that if Alan Grayson runs against an establishment Republican, well, you damn well better vote for that establishment republican! After all, this is the reason why I voted for the “Republican” Mitt Romney instead of voting for the “Libertarian”, republican, Gary Johnson. President Obama is the most dangerous President in American history. He is worse than Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, LBJ and Carter (possibly combined!). Yes, I think Mitt Romney is a dangerous protagonist in the corporatist movement in America. NO, I did not think Mitt Romney would represent me or any constitutionalist, libertarian, or conservative, but who cares about that when faced with four more years of a Marxist zealot like Barack Obama?
There are some Americans too dangerous to hold office. Unfortunately, almost all of them now control the Democrat Party in the United States of America. So what am I going to do? Vote for Jeb Bush or Chris Christie in order to avoid Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Elizabeth Warren, or the ghosts of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin? And then what? Another Bush eight years from now?
Didn’t a young TEA Party blogger for a Virginia Website write an article called “The Importance of Principle” where he stated emphatically that,
Ladies and Gentlemen, the worst Republicans give us the worst Democrats. George W. Bush gave us Obama. Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford gave us Jimmy Carter. Herbert Hoover gave us Franklin D. Roosevelt! Teddy Roosevelt paved the way for Woodrow Wilson. The most unprincipled Republicans are always followed by the most radical Democrats, because what leg does the Republican have to stand on?
I know what you are thinking! Smartest blogger ever! I whole heartedly agree. So at the end of the day, if I tell you to vote for Jeb Bush in order to save us from Hillary, aren’t I asking you to pave the way for the next Woodrow Wilson, the next FDR, the next LBJ, the next Carter, or the next Obama?
The answer is yes. My conclusion is that we cannot continue to hold our nose and vote for establishment Republicans in Presidential Elections. After all, Woodrow Wilson gave us Calvin Coolidge. Jimmy Carter gave us Ronald Reagan. Obama may give us Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin. There is a lesson there.
However, that is Presidential Politics.
I stand by my statement to the King William Tea Party: IF ERIC CANTOR RUNS AGAINST ALAN GRAYSON, damnit, YOU VOTE FOR CANTOR. There are Democrats that are simply too radical and too dangerous. When voting in an election against the Devil, does it matter that Jesus Christ isn’t on the ballet? No, when the Alan Grayson’s and Cynthia McKinney’s’ run for office, you vote for the lowest of the low Republicans to stop them. You vote for McCain or Cantor or Kevin McCarthy. We cannot allow evil to emanate from our districts and states.
One or two awful Republicans in Congress doesn’t unmake the TEA Party. I’m referring to extremes. I’d happily vote for a Dennis Kucinich over a McCain or McConnell. Not all Democrats are evil. Not all Democrats are violently opposed to the United States Constitution. Some Democrats are just wrong, just awful, but not evil.
When can we not put principle first? When principle threatens our very survival as a nation. Evil men and women must not be allowed into government. We could not survive a Congress of Alan Grayson’s. This exception can be extended to all kinds of situations that I do not intend, however, I want to make my conclusion clear. Eric Cantor hurts America. Alan Grayson would destroy it. We cannot support our own destruction on principle alone. Not now. Not ever.