18 Oct Extremocrats vs. Trumplicans
Andrew Yang, an aspiring politician himself and a recent founder of the Forward Party, put it this way: “The two-party system is like having to choose between Coke or Pepsi when what you actually want is a fruit smoothie.”
Personally, your humble blogger has no problem with a two-party system when the two parties nominate candidates who embody and follow the leadership and governmental principles advanced by Principle Based Politics. Things like honesty, integrity, and service. Fundamentals like protecting the vulnerable and limited government, among others.
Too often in the 2022 midterms, however, voters in many jurisdictions will face a stark choice that reflects the title of this post. This is sad. When the ballot contains ultraliberal, intolerant Democrats running against Trump-believing, fear-spreading Republicans, what, indeed, is a sensible, principled voter to do?*
*On Tuesday, November 1 (one week prior to Election Day), Principle Based Politics will host a virtual one-hour panel discussion on this very question. At 7 p.m. Central that evening, please join us by Zoom at this link.
While terribly unfortunate, the characteristics of polarization, extremism, tribalism, and divisiveness indeed are the political reality of 2022. Truthlessness (to coin a new word), also is rampant. Nevertheless, because these evils do exist, we must deal with them as we prepare to vote.
There are multiple strategies a sensible, principled voter could adopt in the face of our current dilemma. One approach, of course, would be to determine which major political party best represents you and vote for that party’s candidates across the board. The opposite approach would be to examine each candidate individually to select the strongest and most principled ones, regardless of party affiliation. Yet a third method would be to fix upon the one issue (e.g., taxes, abortion, foreign relations, etc.) that is most important to you and vote according to the candidate’s record on that specific issue.
In choosing a voting strategy, we recommend against putting much weight on the most extreme positions of the candidate on the campaign trail, and certainly not on how extreme the adverse party has claimed the opposing candidate to be. In office, the candidate likely will not be able to “accomplish” such extremes anyway. We also recommend you ignore both what the candidate says about Donald Trump and how political enemies try to tie the candidate to our former president. Donald Trump is not on the ballot; he should not be an issue in the election whatsoever.*
*Nor is Joe Biden a 2022 candidate. When voting, we all should attempt to consider the merits of the people actually running for office, rather than voting against a candidate because he or she is a Democrat like Biden and Nancy Pelosi or a Republican like Trump and his congressional enablers.
We will explore these strategies and more in the panel discussion on November 1.
The Culture Wars
Because you have read this far, you probably consider yourself a “sensible, principled” voter. Excellent! America needs all of those we can get.
In our way of thinking, it also would be a good strategy for such voters—especially in federal elections—to set aside hot button issues like transgender rights, schools teaching about race, wokeness generally, and anything else that feeds the culture wars. The media’s latest “Breaking News” about a crime or a scandal also likely is not something that should decide your vote on November 8. Think about what an elected official actually can influence before deciding whether the issue is pertinent to your decision of whether to vote for the candidate.
Our nation faces truly serious problems like inflation, distrust of authority, lawlessness, a mental health crisis, and even the potential for nuclear war. As we vote, let us focus on those things and which candidates can help us make it through.
See you on Zoom November 1.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.