The Lesser of Two Evils: Should we vote for Mitt Romney?

This post is in response to a comment posted in the “Suggestions” section. Thanks jenevieves for the request!

Despite nature’s best efforts to hinder the Republican National Convention and the subsequent nomination of their less-than ideal candidate, the time for Mitt Romney’s inevitable nomination as the GOP’s candidate for president is inevitably drawing closer. This leaves many conservatives, including myself, at a loss as to who we should vote for. We can all agree, (or at least, all of us conservatives) that we don’t want to see Obama in office for another four years. But is it worth selling our souls, compromising our principles, ignoring our consciences, and voting for a middle-of-the-road moderate in order to get rid of our current commander-in-chief? More and more these days, I hear grumblings amongst the hard-core conservatives about the leftward leaning Republican Party and their rather undesirable nominee. More and more often, I hear people say that they would sit this election out or vote for an obscure third-party candidate rather than throw their support behind a middle of the road moderate. But is this the right thing to do? Is it worth throwing away a vote just to avoid the guilty feeling that may come from pulling the lever for Mitt?

In terms of numbers, the answer is obvious. A vote not cast by a conservative is a vote for Obama. A vote cast for a third-party president is a vote for Obama. By not voting for Mitt Romney, conservatives are effectively voting for Obama. So in terms of numbers and statistics, it’s straight forward. If we want to get rid of Obama (which is one thing that ALL conservatives seem to agree on), then we’d better grit our teeth, bite the bullet, and cast our votes for Romney, even if it does give us a sick feeling inside to vote for someone who once pedaled his own version of Obamacare.

Despite the straight-forward logic behind the numbers, there are some very convincing arguments to be made against voting for Romney. For example, supposing we conservatives get out there and vote Romney into office. Okay, great. What have we actually accomplished? Granted, Romney in office means that we’ve gotten rid of Obama, which is no small accomplishment. But what else will we have accomplished? If conservatives come out in force to vote for Romney, they will be sending the GOP a definite message. In essence, they will be admitting defeat. If conservatives vote for Romney, in essence they will be saying to the Republican Party: “You can shove us around, force your moderate candidates down our throat, and as long as they’re only marginally better than the democrat against whom they run, we’ll get out there and vote for him.”

Now, that’s the last message I want the Republicans to get from me, and I think most conservatives would be in agreement with me on that. So when viewed from that perspective, it might be worth sitting this election out just for the purpose of waking up the GOP. After all, if Mitt Romney loses by a land-slide because conservatives decided to stay home, it won’t take Republican leadership long to figure out that they need to come up with candidates who hold real conservative values rather than trying to cajole us into supporting their moderate choices. But there are a couple of problems with this way of thinking.

First of all, we have to ask ourselves whether or not the GOP will get the message. Even if enough conservatives sit the election out to make Romney lose, will this actually get the Republican Party’s attention? One would hope so. I mean, of all times for a Republican candidate to win, one would think that this election would be the easiest. Obama’s done such a bad job for the last four years that Mickey Mouse could run against him and win. Or at least that’s what one would think. So if Mitt Romney were to actually lose this election because enough disgruntled conservatives didn’t vote, one would think that this would be enough of a wake-up call to get the party leadership’s attention. But then again, it might not. Is it worth throwing away a vote and possibly handing Obama another four years in office in order to send the GOP a message that they might possibly never get?

Furthermore, it’s worth considering the price that we might have to pay if Obama gets another term in office. Our nation is heading towards destruction. Our economy is ready to take another nose-dive, we’re practically owned by the Chinese, our military is being downsized, and our liberties are being whittled down to nothing.  Given another four years, there’s no telling what kind of havoc Obama might wreak. Remember, these last four years that Obama’s been in office, he’s been thinking about getting reelected this year. So the Obama we’ve seen so far is most likely the more conservative version of the man. Once he doesn’t have to worry about reelection, then he’s free to pull out all the stops, and let loose with a storm of liberal executive orders. True, Obama will most likely have a conservative congress to stand in his way, but as we’ve seen already, Obama doesn’t let the Constitution stand in his way. He’s more than happy to grab whatever power he can and use it however he likes. The prospect of a two-term Obama presidency is truly terrifying.

One might rightly wonder whether or not Mitt Romney is really a much better alternative than Obama. Obama is driving our country towards disaster at record speed, no doubt, but will Romney be able to put on the brakes in time? While I’m not confident that he will, I think that it’s reasonable to say that Romney will be able to at least somewhat reverse the changes Obama has made. With a conservative congress and a Republican president, our chances of getting Obamacare repealed are fairly good. Also, I think the Republicans actually mean business about cutting spending and reducing taxes. Finally, I have no doubt that Romney’s foreign policy will be better than Obama’s, and that Romney will work to restore the military which Obama has worked so hard to downsize. Now, I’m not overly confident that Romney and the Republicans will bring about the deep, across the board reform that the country so desperately needs, but I do feel that despite their numerous, glaring flaws, the Republicans in office will be at least somewhat better for our country than the Democrats. If our country weren’t so close to disaster already, or if Obama were a slightly less radical liberal and weren’t quite so hell-bent on destroying our country, then I would seriously consider sitting this election out to send the GOP a message. But we as a nation are teetering on the brink of disaster as it is. We can’t afford to play political games with this election just to make a point to the party leadership or satisfy our consciences.

No doubt, the GOP knew at the start of this election cycle that they had the Republican base over a barrel. More than likely, the moderates in the party took advantage of the situation, knowing that they could force a moderate down our throats now, when the stakes on this election are so high. The Republicans hold the trump card, and they know it. Despite our moral qualms, most conservatives are going to grudgingly cast their vote for the Republican candidate, no matter how moderate he might be, and the Republican Party leadership knew that. But just because the GOP took advantage of the situation doesn’t make their position any less strong. Despite whatever devious tactics might have been used to get Romney nominated, we still have to grit our teeth and vote for him if we want to keep the country from going over the proverbial cliff.

But what does this mean for the future of the party? Does this election doom us to having to live with moderate candidates from now on? Well, I sincerely hope not. And I think that there are ways that the conservative base can fight back, even if we do vote for Romney.

First of all, we need to keep our politicians accountable. This means writing letters, making phone calls, going to rallies, etc. It’s a lot harder than just sitting out an election, but it will likely be far more effective. As long as Romney knows that he has a conservative base on his back, watching his every move, I think he will ere on the side of conservatism as long as he’s in the White House. But we need to make sure that Romney and the Republican congress (assuming the Republicans do in fact win) know that we’re watching their every move, and we must keep them accountable.

Secondly, if Romney gets elected and then blows this term, then I say by all means, we should boot him out in 2016. If in four years we’re still facing high taxes, irresponsible spending, and more attacks on our liberties, then we should first of all try to get someone besides Romney nominated to run for the GOP, or else not vote for Romney to get a second term. (Romney has said that he plans to be a one-term president anyway, so this may be a non-issue, if Romney keeps his word.) We need to send a strong message to the GOP: Yes, you forced us to vote for a moderate candidate, this time. But don’t get any big ideas; we won’t let this happen again.

In conclusion, I say that despite the moral qualms many of us may have, I think that the right thing to do in this election is to vote for Romney, even if he is just the lesser of two evils. As much as I wish there were a viable conservative candidate to vote for, our country is in too dire of a position for us to play around with this election. But at the same time, we should not give up and give in to the moderate trend which seems to be dominating the party. Winning the election will be the easy part, and we will by no means be done after November 6th. In fact, Election Day will be just the beginning of the battle we must battle to set our nation back on track, and we must be prepared to join the fight.