Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who do I vote for this year?

I was preparing my column for the parish bulletin yesterday, and was writing about our miserable choices in the presidential election. Like many people, I find the two party candidates morally unacceptable, and I have decided I will not vote for either. But what are the alternatives?

My original plan was to write a summary of each candidate; then I remembered the Archbishop really doesn't like any sort of "voter guides" provided in our parishes, and whatever my intention, it might have seemed to be that. So, I cut all that out, and pasted it here. This is my personal blog. So here is the information I gathered:

Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is aggressively pro-abortion, even favoring tax funding for abortion. She has made clear she will appoint justices to the U.S. Supreme Court that will sustain abortion on demand, as well as maintain the Obergefell decision that redefined marriage. She has voiced support for policies and decisions under President Obama that are harmful to religious freedom. I found conflicting responses on torture. Her website doesn’t address euthanasia, but I found a comment online endorsing it. She endorses limiting, but not ending, the death penalty.

Meanwhile, businessman Donald Trump has given much more positive answers on abortion – although he supports abortion in the case of rape and incest; he has said he will appoint judges that are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. It should be mentioned that he is a recent convert to these positions. He has said conflicting things about religious freedom. Mr. Trump strongly supports the death penalty; he has called for increased use of torture, and endorsed targeting and killing non-combatant family members of terrorists.

Notably, his website doesn’t address any of these issues; these positions can be found elsewhere. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has become known for a long string of outrageous and offensive statements, including about women, illegal immigrants, a Muslim family whose son died in the service of our country, a U.S. born judge of Mexican descent, and former POW and current Senator John McCain, just to cite a few examples.

Obviously there are many more issues of concern than what I’ve highlighted, but not all issues are of equal gravity, and I’ve tried to call attention to those that matter most. Some people have decided they will support one of these candidates as the “lesser of two evils.” That is a morally acceptable approach, but I think we need to be clear-eyed about the reality of the candidate we end up voting for.

But what about an alternative? No one is obligated to vote for either the Democrat or Republican, especially if you have serious reservations, as many have. I took some time this week looking up the five most prominent “third party” candidates; here’s my summary, with links to their websites so you can make your own judgments.

Darrell Castle, Constitution Party. He is 100% prolife and pro-traditional marriage. His party is against euthanasia, but supports the death penalty. He is strong on religious freedom. I could not find something explicit on torture. His party is fairly conservative, although it does oppose “interventionism” in foreign policy. Website here.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party. He describes himself as personally opposed to abortion but doesn’t support any change of laws to protect the unborn. He is in favor of so-called “same sex marriage” and is unclear on protecting religious freedom. He is against torture. I couldn’t find his position on euthanasia or the death penalty. The Libertarian Party tends to be very anti-government, often going so far as to advocate legalizing prostitution and drugs, and making drastic reductions in the powers and expenditures of the federal government. Website here.

Michael Maturen, American Solidarity Party. He is a Catholic, and his party is an attempt to develop a consistently Catholic approach on all federal issues. He is 100% prolife and pro-traditional marriage. He is against torture and the death penalty. In questions of economics and foreign policy, his approach includes ideas from both left and right.

Evan McMullin, Independent. His platform is much briefer than the others. His website gives a strong statement in defense of the sanctity of life and religious freedom, but isn’t as specific as many would like. He opposes tax funding for abortion and says he would appoint judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade (which imposed abortion-on-demand). He specifically distances himself from torture and targeting non-combatants in war. I couldn’t find his position on euthanasia or the death penalty. His website doesn’t address marriage, but elsewhere I found an interview in which he said he wouldn’t seek to overturn the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling imposing “same sex marriage” on all 50 states.

Jill Stein, Green Party. She is strongly pro-legal abortion and supports redefining marriage to include same sex “marriage.” Her party’s positions on these issues suggest she won’t be friendly to religious freedom concerns. She is against torture and the death penalty. I couldn’t find her position on euthanasia. Her platform overall is pretty left wing, favoring drastic reductions in defense spending, and significant increases in government spending and involvement in the economy.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Father, for your honesty and good research. Still prayin about all this...

Banjo pickin girl said...

Unfortunately some of these other people are not on the ballot and a write-in vote won't count for someone who is not certified as a write-in candidate. You can write-in anyway, though. Free country (still, for now).

Doug said...

Father, I'm confused by your comment "Some people have decided they will support one of these candidates as the “lesser of two evils.” That is a morally acceptable approach," - especially as it pertains to Mrs. Clinton.

She is "aggressively pro-abortion". In the mind of a Catholic, I believe that this disqualifies her even as the "lesser of two evils". I cannot understand how the other options could be judged to be better when the issue of life is prominent.

Would you please expand on this?

Anonymous said...

it seems to me that voting a party might be the route to follow. I will look at a platform of a collective group, and somewhat ignore those two flawed individuals.

rcg said...

It seems that Clinton is the most dangerous to all dignity, justice, and liberty because, if elected (and she will be) she will have the power to accomplish her goals. If one believes that she can only be stopped through voting for another candidate, then one must vote for the candidate most likely to defeat her - Trump. Trump, by contrast, is going to have an opposition party in Congress (even if it is his own) and is unlikely to accomplish much, so fear of his pledges is minimalised since he will be the most controllable. Voting for either of the other candidates will only ensure a victory for Clinton.

There is a thought that we must vote and that we must find a candidate "to get behind and support" who represents our concerns if not in elected office then at least communicating the level of interest in important issues to the winner who will respond by adjusting policy stances to reflect the size of the opposition. Another view of that strategy is that when the winning party sees how votes were cast in opposition it will know how to isolate and destroy them for the next election. This is how Washington operates.

Not voting will allow Clinton to win but will be a powerful comment on the system if enough people do it. It is likley to draw the unfavourable attention of the winner, but also give them the greatest difficulty developing a retaliatory policy.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Doug said:

Father, I'm confused by your comment "Some people have decided they will support one of these candidates as the “lesser of two evils.” That is a morally acceptable approach," - especially as it pertains to Mrs. Clinton.

She is "aggressively pro-abortion". In the mind of a Catholic, I believe that this disqualifies her even as the "lesser of two evils". I cannot understand how the other options could be judged to be better when the issue of life is prominent.

Would you please expand on this?

The people I had in mind were those who would vote for Mr. Trump as the "lesser (lessor?) of two evils."

But, yes, of course Mrs. Clinton's position on abortion "disqualifies" her. But Mr. Trump's position on supporting abortion likewise "disqualifies" him; and so does his endorsement of torture; and so does his endorsement of the deliberate targeting of non-combatants. And we could go on to look at Mrs. Clinton's positions on marriage and euthanasia. If you credit the accusations against Mr. Trump of committing sexual violence, isn't that a grave evil? If you credit Mrs. Clinton's reputation for corruption, isn't that a grave evil?

My point being, that if your measure is, does this candidate endorse grave evil, then both of these candidates are disqualified, not just one. It's only after that judgment it becomes possible to use the comparison; the comparison is between two evil-endorsing candidates, and then the judgment is, which is "worse"?

I think it's not so obvious here. How precisely do you quantify each and every negative quality of the two evil-endorsing candidates? I don't mean to be crass, but do you assign a point system? So many points for favoring killing this many people, so many for that?

If your argument is that the candidates' position on abortion is the only one that matters, I disagree; it's a huge question, but not the only question. If your argument is that a candidate's position on abortion outweighs every other consideration, again, I find that a little hard to endorse.

I was going to propose a hypothetical, but instead, let's use a real scenario.

In the 1990s, there was a Congressman named Randy "Duke" Cunningham. He was a conservative Republican, and along with that, he was strongly pro-life. Memories are uncertain, but as I recall, he was, in fact, 100% prolife. And, while I don't know the details of all his opponents when he sought election, let's assume -- safely, I think -- that he faced run-of-the-mill, pro-abortion Democrats.

In 2005, the story broke that he had been accepting bribes from defense contractors; he ultimately went to prison. Now, in fact he chose not to run for re-election. But had he done so, and faced a pro-abortion candidate, would you in that case say that the life issue overrode any other consideration, and vote for Mr. Cunningham?

I'm not saying you have to reach that conclusion between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump; but I am saying that people who sift through all the information of the two, might reasonably conclude that the package-deal that is Mr. Trump looks even more putrid than the package-deal that is Mrs. Clinton. As I've said before on this blog, I have a hard time sorting out which plate of putrid food: Plate "C" or Plate "T" is truly worse; and I don't intend to eat from either.

Anonymous said...

The issues with Hillary are more than abortion. She should now be in jail. If someone with her background tried to get a job at FBI or Defense requiring a security clearance she could not get the job. There is overwhelming evidence she has gone after women raped by her husband to insure they stay in power. Her story in Clinton Cash shows she and Bill and now Chelse have been involved knee deep in corruption by selling out this country and the poor people of Haiti. She covered up the murder in Benghazi and stood next to coffins and lied to their families. She laughed about her defense of a man who raped a 12 year old girl on tape using her fake southern accent. This could go on for hours because the Clinton crime family has been ripping off America for decades protected by a compliant media. After Anita Hill, the feminist movement was making headway on sexual harassment in the workplace. As a woman who was sexually harassed and lost my job while trying to raise two kids, it was a major slap in the face to see a president lie with his wife covering his back, until the blue dress showed what liars they were. The basis of a powerful boss taking advantage of a young intern without power was the basis of much sexual harrassment progress. Suddenly the feminist leaders found themselves having to try to defend this slime because he was on their side with abortion. All the women with jobs were suddenly less important. So while I do not like what I hear from Trump from 11 Years ago, I find it hard to believe the women trotted out 30 days before an election, while the media attacks bills rape victims as if the blue dress did not happen.