WASHINGTON, June 16, 2015 – There are six months remaining until the first primary and caucus votes are cast, and already the question is circulating among conservative voters: Would you vote for Jeb Bush if he were the nominee? Could you?
Common responses are, “hell no!” “The lesser of two evils is still evil!” “My vote goes for Rand, no matter what!” “The Republicans are bought and paid for, just like the Democrats. No difference!” “Maybe if true conservatives stay home, the GOP will start paying attention to us!”
Are these people all idiots?
When you live in California or Utah, it’s easy to vote your conscience; you know that your vote won’t make a bit of difference to the way the state’s electoral votes go. In those states, we need more votes for third parties. If they can achieve certain voting thresholds, it’s easier to get them on the ballots in all 50 states, easier to force them into the presidential debates, harder to ignore them. Libertarians, Greens and Constitutionalists in Massachusetts and New Mexico should breathe free, vote for their candidates and work to make their party grow.
Republicans and Democrats who fret over the two-party monopoly should join them. If your state is leaning solidly red or blue, vote orange. You have nothing to lose and the country has much to gain.
If you’re a conservative in a swing state, however, you have to ask, if Bush and Clinton are the major party candidates, who will win if people like you don’t vote for Bush? Someone better? If that someone better is Hillary, vote for her. Or vote for Rand Paul if Hillary is better than Jeb and you prefer Rand.
Hillary is worse, but you’ll vote for Rand? Well, enjoy the next four years of Hillary. That’s your choice.
Work hard for your preferred candidate during the nomination process. If your candidate doesn’t win, then you really have to ask, what happens to the country for the next four years if I stay home? Is there really no difference between Hillary and Jeb? Would Mitt Romney really have nominated the same SCOTUS justices that Obama did? Would McCain really have pursued the same foreign policy Obama has?
A lot of Florida Greens are still kicking themselves for thinking that W and Al Gore were the same man.
If “real conservatives” can’t get a real conservative nominated, what makes them think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the election? In 2012, there was nothing more common around here than Ron Paul supporters who had never worked in the GOP, had never been active at the local level, had no clout, and then complained incessantly that the party was unfair to them. If they wanted Paul to win so badly, why hadn’t they laid the groundwork to make the GOP more in his image for the last 10, 20 years?
The parties aren’t run by people who are passionate about politics in an election year; they’re run by people who think long-term and whose political interests don’t run hot and cold. If “real conservatives” want the GOP to be a “real conservative” party, then rather than going home in a snit after every convention, they should stick around, plan, organize and change the party. If there are that many real conservatives out there, it shouldn’t be that hard to do. If there aren’t, it’s no wonder the party ignores them.
“The lesser of two evils is still evil!” Maybe, but there’s still a big difference between Hell and Detroit.
“My vote goes for Rand, no matter what!” That’s the spirit. Demand your right-of-way next time a cement truck runs the light at your intersection.
“The Republicans are bought and paid for, just like the Democrats. No difference!” The difference between parties and cars is that parties don’t stay bought and paid for, and they can be legally hijacked from the people who bought them.
“Maybe if true conservatives stay home, the GOP will start paying attention to us!” No one pays attention to people who aren’t there.