Bill MacKinnon is a regular on this site, commenting under the name “Bill Mac.”
Vote your conscience. Those words were spoken by Ted Cruz at the 2016 Republican National Convention. It was met with boos, jeers, and outrage. Why? Because “Vote for Donald Trump” was the only acceptable answer. Trump had repeatedly called Cruz a liar. He had mocked the appearance of Heidi Cruz. He had implied that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. And yet the party faithful expected Cruz to swallow all that and endorse Trump. Why? Because power trumps integrity, no pun intended. Even in Cruz’s case, after a long pause, he calculated that it was best for him to finally endorse Trump rather than hold firm. And of course, Trump gratefully accepted the endorsement after loudly proclaiming that he would not accept Cruz’s endorsement even if it was given. Why? Because gaining power is all that matters.
But the words “vote your conscience” ought to resonate with Christians. How could it be anything different? However, although we would not care to admit it, Christians are just as susceptible to peer pressure as anybody else, and there is plenty of it out there. We are constantly being told that not voting for Trump is the same as voting for Clinton. The argument is specious, but that doesn’t prevent people from making it. I, for one, cannot fathom voting for Trump or Clinton. How do you choose between Baal and Ashtaroth? I will not be bullied into voting for someone I do not think should be president. My conscience will not allow it and I will vote my conscience. But you know what? Neither should you be bullied by me and like-minded Never-Trumpers (or Never-Clintoners) into refraining from voting for Trump or Clinton if you think either one of them should be president. It is no secret that I am adamantly Never-Trump and I will happily defend that view in the comment section. But none of you answer to me just as I do not answer to you. Vote your conscience. I freely admit that I cannot fathom the mind that thinks Trump would be a good president, but I can understand why people would choose him as the lesser of two evils. If that is where your conscience leads you, then who am I to condemn you?
However, I will leave you with one more thought before I let this go. Perhaps we should try being strategic rather than tactical. Americans aren’t good at taking the long view. We want results now. This election is the only one that matters. You get the idea. We have a broken political system. We are locked into two parties, and for decades Christians have been joined at the hip to the Republican party. And look at where it has gotten us. I think it is time to send the Republican party a message, that they have to change or they can no longer count on us. My view is that voting for Trump only reinforces that idea that we have no standards whatsoever and that the Republican party can count on us no matter what abominable candidate they give us. I understand that my view likely results in a Clinton presidency, with all that it entails. Change is hard. Revolution is hard. Fixing a broken system is hard, and likely time-consuming. But I’m glad our founding fathers didn’t decide to choose the lesser of two evils and continue to work inside the existing system.
I think we will survive a Clinton presidency, just as I think we will survive a Trump presidency. But I think perhaps the country won’t survive in the long run unless something in our system changes. Ultimately, what you do in the voting booth is between you and God, and people of conscience will make different choices, and that’s OK. Vote your conscience and trust God knows what He is doing.