While the religious right and like-minded social conservatives have certainly aided the Republican Party to recent electoral victories, one can only wonder if that loyalty will fade with this upcoming presidential election.
Recently, Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, a pro-family organization, and evangelical Christian, wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times. He wrote that he would not support a candidate from the Democrat or Republican Party that did not adhere to strict moral views.
He discussed a recent gathering of more than 50 pro-family leaders. In their meeting, they came to an almost unanimous agreement: if neither major political party nominates a candidate that adequately promotes the sanctity of human life, they will support a minor party candidate.
Many of these leaders also pushed on creating a third party specifically for their own interests.
Dobson, as well as the rest of these leaders, does not believe in selecting a candidate that is the “better of two evils.” To him, sacrificing one’s principles is abhorrent.
Now, this may be a respectable view, but it is entirely impractical and should be alarming to conservatives.
Voting based on one’s core principles is definitely ideal and it is what political primaries are for. Voters choose who they feel best represents the majority of those that belong to the party. Whether it is Rudy Giuliani or Ron Paul in this upcoming Republican primary, the Republican electorate will determine who has the best views and credentials to be the head of the Grand Old Party.
After the primary, however, Republicans should rally around the nominee. Like former President Ronald Reagan once said, “My 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.” As voters know, rarely does a candidate match up perfectly with what one believes. It is more practical, secure and right for a voter to back the voted nominee to assure a better chance at gaining power.
Only if that candidate is diametrically opposed to one’s views or if that candidate really has a lousy chance at winning the election should a Republican not support the nominee. This, however, is very unlikely to happen.
The same should be said for those that become bitter after primaries. Remarkably, I have heard voters say they will not vote for the party’s nominee simply because their choice lost. Instead, they would rather vote for another candidate so long as it is not that candidate that beat their choice.
I witnessed this from a couple of voters during the Jay Webber/Larry Casha Republican primary for Assembly in the 26th legislative district. This attitude is absolutely despicable and detrimental to any party’s efforts. Certainly, those voters do not comprehend the importance of party building.
Dobson and others do not understand party building either, and refuse to abandon principle, or, at the very least, vote for a candidate that is not absolute and direct in their stance. This view is like what people say about communism: it sounds good in theory, but does not work in reality (although I think the theory is horrible too).
By voting for a third party candidate, these evangelical Christians are quite possibly going to repeat the same mistake made by members of the Democratic Party in 2000.
Many Democrats voted for the main third party candidate, Ralph Nader, which arguably cost Al Gore the election in 2000. Voting for the third party candidate will suck votes away from the Republican candidate who has a serious chance of winning the election. This is a very dangerous position to follow out of mere stubbornness and pride.
To them I ask, is it better to cast your vote for a candidate that has stances directly in line with you and who is almost guaranteed to lose, or compromise slightly and back a formidable candidate? These people are providing Hillary Clinton with a welcome mat to the White House.
It also warrants evaluation as to how conservative some of these religious right people truly are. While they hold several conservative views on huge issues like immigration and the economy, many tend to be liberal.
One can only wonder whether courting their every move and want was beneficial to the party as a whole over the last several years, seeing how there is a possibility many will abandon the party.
Unfortunately, according to a New York Times/CBS poll, nearly 60 percent of evangelical Republicans agree with Dobson and refuse to cast their ballot for a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage candidate.
While I consider myself to be a social conservative as well as an economic conservative, I am most likely not supporting a Republican front-runner in the primary. However, I am certainly willing to support whoever it may be in the general election for the sake of the Republican Party. It is foolish and destructive not to.
Information from – citizenlink.org