It’s too soon to know how everything will shake out, but it’s not too early to start thinking about what an Evangelical Christian would do if faced with an unfortunate Trump v. Sanders or Trump v. Clinton vote for president.
I see 12 options (a list made with the help of friends):
- Political apathy, skip the vote altogether because it lacks Christian priority to begin with.
- Refuse to vote based on a settled conscience-based objection to the major presidential options.
- Refuse to vote to send a message to a politician or a political party for reform, and vocalize the decision.**
- Refuse to vote as act of “settled judgment” on America, and vocalize the decision.
- Refuse to vote for president, but vote on issues and congressional races and everything else.
- Vote for a third party or write-in candidate with no hope of winning, and vote on everything else.
- Rally around one particular third party or write-in candidate who could perhaps be given a chance to win, and vote on everything else.
- Vote for cancellation by casting a vote for the candidate opposite the one you most oppose, thereby cancelling out one of their votes.**
- Vote utilitarian by choosing the major candidate by using a lesser-of-two-evils mentality.*
- Vote utilitarian by choosing a major candidate based on who would appoint the best SCOTUS judges.
- Vote utilitarian by choosing the major candidate who would most likely avoid global warfare and the death of civilians.
- Pack up and flee before the wall is finished.***
In thinking through the options:
- This strikes me as lamesauce neighbor-neglect and potentially disastrous for local issues on the ballot, not to mention for solid republican candidates running for any one of 469 congressional seats up for election in November.
- Perhaps; but this again seems to ignore all the issues and all the candidates on the table.
- Perhaps useful in encouraging future reforms going forward, but I think the point has been made.
- This runs the risk of projecting to our culture a false gospel: Our ultimate hope is in the right Republican candidate.
- I could do this.
- Maybe; but this one candidate would need to be chosen fast and chosen unanimously and backed by all his/her closest rivals. How would this be done? Has it been done?
- I cannot imagine voting for someone I am not for.
- Based on whose rank of evils?! Which evils get stopped? Which evils get a pass? Abortion? Gay rights? Arrogance in the leader himself? And how staunchly pro-life is Trump to begin with?
- Perhaps; but it remains difficult to know how many SCOTUS judges will be selected in the next four years, perhaps none (though four justices are presently 77–82 years old).
- Perhaps the pro-life argument could extend to the candidate “least likely to lead us into war,” but if they’re also pro-abortion it’s a moot point.
- Very attractive. I hear Ecuador and Panama are beautiful this time of year. In seriousness, it has been suggested to me that a presidential election catastrophe, like the one we may soon face, could help shake confidence in this nation and make it easier for young Christians to uproot, leave America, and join foreign missions work.
So I guess I like options 5, 6, 7 in this scenario.
How about you?
[Suggestions from * Justin Taylor, ** Joe Carter, and *** Joe Rigney.]