I am just as disgusted with the spend-happy Republicrats in power as the next person. And, as a Libertarian, I believe in third parties. But it is one thing to support a candidate with a legitimate shot at victory, and another thing to throw your vote away, essentially casting another vote for Barack Obama.
We saw the same arguments being made in 2006: “I’m voting my conscience;” “I’m voting for someone who actually espouses conservative principles;” “I’m sending Republicans a message” (my personal favorite); and “After two years of a Democrat Congress/President, the public will be so fed up that we’ll get real conservatives elected in the next election.”
I get it. But I’m sorry, those rules don’t work, for what should be obvious reasons.
Those of you who “sent Republicans a message” by staying home or voting for third party candidates in 2006 helped create a Democrat-controlled Congress. It’s been two years – see any outrage yet? Are the same Democrats who helped create the financial crisis being shown the door?
This year’s election poses the threat of a filibuster-proof Senate. If Obama wins the Presidency, you’ll have helped hand all three branches of government to the Democrats. Yes, three. A President Obama and a Democrat-controlled Senate will nominate and confirm, respectively, the most liberal Supreme Court justices this country has ever known. John Paul Stevens is 88. He will retire. More may follow. Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life; there’s no “getting rid of them” in the next election. You can kiss your rights and your traditional values goodbye, as that new liberal Supreme Court finds all kinds of new ways to shut you up and shut you out.
Further, you’re assuming that you’ll get another chance at an election. But what if you don’t? Last week, I said to a family member that what really worried me about an Obama presidency is the risk that we’d get hit again by terrorists, or face some other catastrophe. “And on the heels of that,” I said, “what’s to stop Obama from ‘suspending’ elections? I can hear his sonorous voice now, proclaiming in the most presidential tones, that ‘we cannot afford the divisiveness and partisan bickering of national elections, when the current crisis demands that we be unified as a nation!’ And to those who’d challenge (legitimately) the constitutionality of such a move, our President Obama would simply quote the Great Liberator, Abraham Lincoln, who asked what would be gained if he ‘los[t] the nation, and yet preserve[d] the Constitution?’” And then what would you do?
Think this is all beyond the pale? What, then, do you make of Joe Biden’s comments that “… within the -- first six months of this administration ... we're going to face a major international challenge, 'cause they're going to want to test him…” and “I promise you, you all are going to be sitting here a year from now saying, 'Oh, my God, why are they down there in the polls, why is the polling on Obama so low, why is this thing so tough?' We're going to have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years, so I'm asking you now … be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point, because you're going to have to reinforce it." ?
Just what kind of crisis, precisely, does Biden think a President Obama will face? What “incredibly tough” and unpopular decisions would the pragmatic President Obama be willing to make to ensure that he – and his cohorts in the Congress - stayed in power? Would he exploit a nationwide sense of fear, panic, and helplessness for his own political benefit? What, precisely, is Biden insisting we would have to tolerate?
And we haven’t even touched on Obama’s love of gun control. Hmmm. Let’s see – no votes, no guns, no … chance?
Obama may be a relative unknown, but far too many of those supporting him, funding him, inspiring him, and otherwise propping him up have made no bones about their disdain for this country and their desire to bring down the entire American system. I put nothing past them, and I think we ignore them at our peril. At best, we will find ourselves saddled with a bloated, egotistical, economically ignorant, redistributionist government that treats American workers like pack mules, to be flogged until we collapse under the weight of an unsustainable system. And at worst, we could be facing a form of entrenched despotism the likes of which we never imagined possible.
There was a time when Democrats in power meant a slight shift to the left, and Republicans in power meant a slight shift to the right. Elections were relatively minor “course corrections.” Politicians on both sides of the aisle loved this country, believed in it, wanted the best for it. The disagreements were about the best way to accomplish what were reasonably mutual goals.
If we stay home, if we vote Democrat or third party to “send the Republicans a message” or to “punish them,” WE are the ones who will be punished. And quite likely for a long, long time.
Think about it as you head to the polls. The ones that matter.
Laura Hollis is an Associate Professional Specialist and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches entrepreneurship and business law. She is the author of the forthcoming publication, “Start Up, Screw Up, Scale Up: What Government Can Learn From the Best Entrepreneurs,” © 2014. Her opinions are her own, and do not reflect the position of the university. Follow her on Twitter: @LauraHollis61.