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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