Voting for the lesser of two evils?

May 14th, 2016 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized

May 2016

If the 2016 presidential election was held today, “None of the Above” would get a lot of votes!

An exit poll in West Virginia’s primary found that 21 percent say they’ll support neither “presumptive” candidate Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. In Kentucky’s primary, Trump—as the only candidate still in the Republican race—only garnered 36 percent of the vote. Nearly two-thirds voters chose one of the 16 GOP candidates who had dropped out!

The former first lady and secretary of state along with reality TV star and billionaire real estate developer have historically low favorability and trustworthiness. According to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, Clinton and Trump are viewed less favorably than any presidential front-runner since CBS first surveyed candidates’ favorability ratings in 1984. Clinton scored only 31 percent favorability while Trump received just 24 percent. The candidates’ scores are even lower when viewed as “trustworthy.” A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey this month finds that 56 percent don’t trust Clinton and even more—76 percent—don’t trust Trump. (During Richard’s Nixon impeachment, the disgraced president’s favorability was 5 percentage points higher than Trump’s current number!) How’s a person to vote?


A major article in Christianity Today, quoted the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Al Mohler, as saying:

      Christians in the United States are now going to face a very excruciating set of decisions Many of us are going to be facing the reality that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, we will not be able to vote in good conscience for either.

The South Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president, Russell Moore agreed:

      When Christians face two clearly immoral options, we cannot rationalize a vote for immorality or injustice just because we deem the alternative to be worse. The Bible tells us we will be held accountable not only for the evil deeds we do but also when we “give approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).

      This side of the New Jerusalem, we will never have a perfect candidate. But we cannot vote for evil, even if it’s our only option.

Mohler and Moore are not alone in their opinions. More than half of the 81 “evangelical insiders” surveyed by World magazine in March said that if faced with a Clinton-Trump ballot in November, they would vote for a third-party candidate even if that candidate had no chance to win. More than a quarter more said they’d vote for a viable third-party candidate (29%).

Meanwhile, several memes have quoted Charles Spurgeon: “Of two evils choose none.”


However, the son of evangelist, Billy Graham, disagrees. Franklin Graham told Fox News’ Todd Starnes:

      You don’t just stay home and not vote—you vote. Vote for the candidates that best support Biblical truth and Biblical values. In some races, it may not always be clear. You may have to hold your nose and choose [one] of the two.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late televangelist, has strongly endorsed Trump along with mega-church leader Robert Jeffress. The pastor of First Baptist in Dallas has been introducing Trump on the stump while trying to maintain its tax-exempt status by not “officially endorsing” the billionaire. Instead, he proclaims, “I want you to know I would not be here this morning if I were not absolutely convinced that Donald Trump would make a great president of the United States.” I’m no IRS auditor, but that sounds like an endorsement.

No and yes!

Jeb Bush, whose primary candidacy never lived up to his exclamation point logo, wrote on Facebook:

      In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life. For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress. I look forward to working hard for great conservatives in the Senate and House in the coming months.

He has been joined by his father, President George H. W. Bush, and brother, President George W. Bush, along with former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Lindsey Graham, Republican U.S. Senator from South Carolina and one of the “lower tier” primary candidates, also has vowed not to vote Trump.

I think I agree with Jeb! on this conundrum. I cannot in good conscience vote for either Trump or Clinton, but I will go to the polls to vote for strong legislators who will oppose both candidates’ dangerous agendas. And pray that the Founding Father’s brilliant concept of “checks and balances” will prevail no matter who wins!

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins

Photo mashup by Boston Globe

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11 Responses

  • AlvinWooters says:

    I agree that I can not vote for Clinton or Trump. But I will Write in a Candidate. Which ever of the two major party candidates win, he or she needs to see in real numbers how strong the opposition to both of their polices there are. If we do not vote at all, they will just assume that we do not care. I wish one of the conservative candidates would declare publicly that they would serve if elected as a Write in candidate. At any rate vote for the strongest conservative for the House, Senate and all other elections.

  • I’m voting Libertarian this year. 🙂 If the Libertarian candidate gets 15% in the polls he’ll be included in the national debates with Trump and Hillary.

  • Brian Blowers says:

    A few weeks ago I had decided not to vote for a presidential candidate this year; but I’m re-evaluating my decision. One of my mentors, who is a wise gentlemen of 92 years, told me it was my duty to vote. He told me that presidents only last 4 to 8 years; and our system of checks and balances doe a pretty good job of limiting presidential power. But whomever is elected will be appointing as many as 3 supreme court judges. Judges are appointed for life, and supreme court decisions do more to shape our country than any president will ever do. Do I want a conservative or liberal judge? Am I willing to waive my right to influence the type of appointment that will be made to the supreme court because the candidates are despicable? If I do not vote am I casting Peter to the wind because of Judas? I am still undecided, and a bit confused.

    • Yep, the Supreme Court appointments are an important consideration, although the Senate has the power of “advice and consent” in the approval of judges (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2). Such a complex–and important–decision.

  • Jonathan says:

    I think it’s a bit goofy. Taking the advice and going the same route as a handful of not-so-Conservative Republicans, which includes one who got his butt kicked against Trump and another that ran an extremely weak campaign against Obama- and lost.

    Even those you think will be “strong legislators who will oppose both candidates’ dangerous agendas”- that cannot be guaranteed. So many disappointments over the years- even some Tea Party “saviors”.

    And btw..why have none of these and other Republicans gone after Obama like they do Trump??

    • I respect your opinion. We are in uncharted territory with both candidates having unprecedented unfavorability ratings! I so wish there was an electable alternative!

    • Sue Garcia says:

      Step one is to pick a Republican candidate that the Republicans can be proud of. Trump is an embarrassment; a media star that surprised even himself with his blind following. It’s not a done deal. Obama is a thing of the past, no need to go after him.

  • My deceased husband had a mantra: “Gridlock is good, because it protects the country from the extremes of both party’s agendas.” Consequently, he would vote for president the candidate most likely to appoint conservative judges to the US Supreme Court, and vote the opposite party for congress. The only measures that will passs will be those that have wide bi-partisan support.

    • Sue Garcia says:

      Trouble is, the outcome will not always be the way your husband would have voted. He might have gotten one, but not the other. Why would he vote, anyway, for conservative judges and then vote a liberal congress to oppose his own beliefs?

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