I oppose Mitt Romney in the 2016 elections and this is why:
Soon after Mitt Romney surrendered–despite massive reports of voter fraud and inconsistencies in the vote–some Republicans already began chanting “Romney 4 2016″… The reality is this: Mitt Romney is old news. He let down the Republican Party. Even more so the Conservatives that supported him. Not because he lost, but because he refused to put up a fight when all of his supporters had rallied to go to hell and back to make him president. He conceded and went quiet. This left many Conservatives with feelings of failure, hopelessness (at least in regards to the direction of the country), and abandonment by a man (many of us) begrudgingly supported.
Romney Not a First Choice
Truth be told, Mitt Romney was not the first choice of Conservatives. Just off the top of my head I can think of almost a handful of relevant candidates that were offered to us in the lead up to the election that Conservatives would have supported. People like Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman, and, yes, even Ron Paul are all candidates that would represent the core of Conservatives.
How did Romney Lose?
How then did Mitt Romney win the nomination? The answer is: I don’t know. I do, however, have a theory: The Republican Party is far more divided than they want us to believe and many of us were led to support a candidate which we weren’t actually willing to vote for in the general election. Through the course of the last few major elections, I have heard comments coming from some in the Republican Party that the problem is the “Religious Right” or “Christian Right”. In fact, the Republican Party has gone through efforts to disassociate themselves with the Religious Right while still giving lip service to them without actually accomplishing any major achievements. In spite of controlling both the House, Senate, and White House for four years of the Bush (jr) Administration not one major goal for the Religious Right was achieved. Abortion is still relatively unhindered, marriage is even less secure, religious expression is being repressed in the workplace, schools, and especially government, and the government is more intrusive in our lives than it was 12 years ago.
The Republican Party has failed to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to support women’s rights without supporting abortion, it has failed to attract any semblance of minority support (idiotic moves like this don’t help), and has refused to actually accomplish anything for the Christians it begrudgingly heralds as part of its “core”. The reality is that the accusations of the Republican Party being dominated by Old, Rich White Males is true to of its leadership, and I think that many people, including evangelical Christians, are beginning to see it as is demonstrated by two pathetically failed elections.
Christians Responding to Conscience
The fact is that Christian Conservatives by and large have lost heart with the Republican Party. I can’t recall how many conversations I had in the run up to this last election where Christians I knew were already determined not to vote. Not because they didn’t care, but because Romney didn’t truly begin to be a proper representation of their beliefs. The soul of this matter I believes boils down to this: Conservatives, especially Christians, are no longer voting on a party line but by convictions. These Christians would much rather not vote or vote for a third party than to put their support behind a wishy-washy Republican.
Interlude, Why Obama Won
Let’s pause our critique for a moment and evaluate the Democrat’s presidential candidate. Mr. Obama was someone that Liberals were EXCITED to support. Although I’m sure it happened, most Democrats did not vote for Obama because he was “not Romney”, but because he was Obama. They were excited to support and vote for him. He embodied their ideology and beliefs. They were not afraid to fight for and vote for him and they did. On the converse, how many Conservatives voted for Romney because he was “not Obama”? The answer is: I can’t recall one friend of mine who actually voted for Romney because he was Romney. They voted for him because he was perceived as the better of two evils.
(At this juncture I should point out that I don’t think Romney was “evil” or even a bad man. I think that he would have made a great president, but his appeal to Conservatives was very weak.)
The reality is, that is no way to win an election. If your only shot is “He’s not the other guy” you’re in for trouble. How many people voted for John McCain because he was John McCain? Very few. I know I didn’t. I voted for him because of Sarah Palin and because he wasn’t “the other guy”. Again, that is no way to win an election.
Big Dysfunctional Family
The Republican Party has attempted to give the image of one big happy family. An alliance of fiscal conservatives, the religious right, tea party, libertarians, and the Rich White Male. The reality is that very few of these factions actually like each other or share common goals. Although there is the occasional overlap, the continual comments and actions coming from the Republican Party are creating massive division and most of us haven’t even realized it yet. There is Civil War inside the Republican Party but it just hasn’t been identified by anyone of any stature, and even we have been lead to believe in the big happy family by continuing to vote Republican so that we can “win” as opposed to voting by conscience.
Well as a people called to be a people of conscience I’m proposing something: In 2016 we vote for the candidate that most closely mirrors our beliefs as Christians. That little or no attention be given to party or even whether or not the name is actually on the ballot. Could we very well “lose” the election? Sure we can. In fact, history dictates we probably will lose. However, the conviction and epiphany I am beginning to realize is that as a Christian, I am not responsible for how other people vote. I am only responsible for how I vote. My vote is a public show of support for a person to lead us. To support someone who does not mirror my beliefs is to violate those beliefs.
The parties will try and convince us that it is those who vote for third party candidates that let the country down, but this is a scapegoat for their own failed elections. They were unable to provide candidate relevant to a significant portion of the voters and failed. Instead of accepting responsibility and providing better candidates, they try to guilt those who voted according to conscience. Newsflash: If you voted according to conscience then there is no reason to feel guilty. You did your duty to both God and country.
tl;dr (too long; didn’t read… i.e., a summary)
So all of this is really a long-winded challenge to my Christian Conservative brothers and sisters, and even to those who completely disagree with every belief I hold, in 2016 (And let’s use 2014 as a practice round) let us vote strictly on conscience. If it be a third party candidate then maybe The Big Two will get a clue.