Last night’s presidential primaries indicate that, unless something incredibly crazy happens, we will be party to a general election featuring Trump vs. Clinton. Ah, the two party system. Many evangelical Christians, myself included, have serious qualms about supporting either The Donald or Hillz for a litany of reasons. Others are attempting to discern the lesser of two perceived evils or attempting to pragmatically reframe the conversation in light of the reality of the US’s two-party system.”Since one of these two will be president,” the argument goes, “it is naive, unrealistic, or impractical to propose any alternative.”
“Since one of these two will be president,” the argument goes, “it is naive, unrealistic, or impractical to propose any alternative.”
I’m not an especially political person. In fact, I tend to treat political seasons, particularly primary seasons, as one might treat a suspected Zika patient: I’m glad there are people who take care of that because I’m going to stay away. As such, I tend to think that my opinions aren’t widely shared by those who are more engaged in the process. However, a quick perusal of social media last night reinforced my thought that that, like me, a lot of people are incredibly discontent with the potential options:
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this presidential election a -4.
— Garland H. Honeycutt (@GHHoneycutt) May 4, 2016
In the sage & prophetic words of R.E.M. “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine”.
— Ali Chambers (@achamb3646) May 4, 2016
America, I still love you, but I am so very disappointed in you.
— Abby Davis (@LAbigailDavis) May 4, 2016
And then there was this:
Who’s more likely to start a new war, Trump or Clinton? No more lesser-evils: We need an alternative to the two war parties. #WeAreGreen
— Green Party US (@GreenPartyUS) April 27, 2016
Which begs an interesting question about the validity of the “lesser of two evils” argument many evangelical Christians are espousingto justify their support of a candidate, mostly Trump. Here are 3 reasons why I reject the lesser of two evils argument and will be voting for some type of third party candidate this election:
- It is inherently pragmatic. Pragmatism is hardly the best foundation on which to make moral judgments. Since the morality of the two candidates is one of the chief complaints from evangelicals it hardly makes sense to support one of them simply because one is presumed to win. Which leads me to…
- It is defeatist. Yes, we have chiefly operated under a two-party system and I agree that either Trump or Hillary will most likely be the next president. But who says that, as a nation or as an individual I have to accept an establishment that I perceive to have fundamentally failed? Sure, Donald or Hillary will most likely be the next president but I don’t have to endorse a process that I feel has left me with no suitable choice.
- It is unnecessarily binary. Just because this is generally the way things have been done doesn’t mean that it should not or can never be anything else. I’m old enough to remember that, before dropping out of the race, Ross Perot, a third-party candidate, was once a front runner in a general election. This idea is not that unprecedented. Thank God for individuals throughout history who looked at a seeminlgly binary decision and opted for “none of the above.”
Call me an idealist but at least I have some. And if the discontent runs as deep among the general population as it appears, this may be the moment when enough of us band together and say, “Enough!” Staying home and not participating will do nothing but make you an average voter. Expressing your discontent by refusing to accept the failed process that has played out before us and advancing an alternative, any alternative, is how we can finally express the dissatisfaction many of us have felt for years.
I’m with Spurgeon: “Of two evils, choose neither.”