By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
Expect to hear much discussion in coming weeks about conservative voters facing a “lesser of two evils” choice in the presidential race. This is because GOP voters - they have no one to blame but themselves - have given America a moderate Republican as the party’s presidential candidate. As many have correctly observed, Mitt Romney is Obama-Lite, a lo-cal, nutrition-free, Etch-a-Sketch, tabula rasa alternative to unabashed fascism.
(Obama technically is a fascist, since under socialism the government owns the means of production. But our president, Barack the Benevolent, is willing to allow you to own your own company, but he is darned well going to tell you how you have to run it. As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, that’s the textbook definition of fascism.)
Conservatives, of course, have many justifiable reservations about Gov. Romney, a man James Carville refers to as a “serial windsock,” a man without a discernible moral and political core. So Republican primary voters, bless their hearts, have not given voters a genuine fiscal and social conservative to vote for as an alternative to the incumbent.
This means that conservative voters will have to do triage as they face the general election. They will be forced to choose between a man who, in their view, is at least trying to say the right things whether he believes them or not and a man who is saying none of the right things.
Conservatives wanted steak, but it’s not on the menu. For them, the choice now is between gruel and a baloney sandwich.
So what will conservatives do in November? The choice is frankly a stark one, an unappealing one at best. I believe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council observed that no moderate Republican has ever unseated a Democrat incumbent, so Romney’s odds are long to begin with. It is virtually impossible for a Republican candidate to win the White House without an enthusiastic and fired up evangelical base.
There will be two schools of thought among conservative Christian voters. Faced with a choice between the “lesser of two evils,” many evangelicals will say that a vote for the lesser of two evils is still evil, and they won’t do it. They will stay home or vote third party. Either of those two decisions increases the likelihood of an Obama victory in November. The only chance that Gov. Romney has is for this cohort to be a small minority of evangelicals. The more sizeable this contingent gets, the longer his odds.
Other evangelicals will say, yeah, it’s a choice between the lesser of two evils, but shouldn’t Christians want less evil? If in reality the only two choices a Christian voter is faced with is a choice between more evil or less evil, it’s pretty easy to make a case for choosing a smaller injection of toxins if the only realistic alternative is a lethal dose. One will make you sick, the other one will kill you.
Either way, my counsel to Christian voters, to evangelical voters, is to vote your conscience. Many Christians will find it impossible to vote for either of these two candidates in good conscience. I would never try to talk someone into voting against his own internal standard of right and wrong.
In a case where the only choice is between more evil or less evil, the conscience of many, perhaps even most evangelicals, will permit them to choose less evil. Speaking in general, sometimes voters may not have a candidate they can vote for, but may well have a candidate they can vote against.
This choice ultimately must rest in the heart and soul of each social conservative, and we shouldn’t spill blood trying to pressure each other into seeing things our way. For social conservatives to start hollering at one another now is fruitless. We will be up against another man’s deeply held convictions, and I’d never want to pressure another Christian into going against his own conscience. As the Scripture, says, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
But it is telling that this triage must take place at all. Social conservatives in the GOP continue to long for a candidate for whom the Republican party platform is not empty rhetoric but an expression of deeply held moral and political convictions. They won’t have one of those candidates this time around.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)