Must a Conservative Always be a Loyal Republican?

 

shutterstock_117192478Here in America, we’ve two major parties that compete to control Congress and elect Presidents. Does that mean conservatives will sometimes be forced to vote for unacceptable Republican candidates because the alternatives are worse?

Not necessarily so. In a few states in the last few elections conservatives have voting for conservative third-parties. In 2010, more Coloradans voted for the Constitution Party candidate than for the Republican. That same year, Sen. Lisa Murkowski won re-election as an Independent over the Republican nominee.

Do we conservatives owe loyalty to the Republican Party, or is it just a matter of pragmatism? I say we stick with the party when we have to, bolt when the opportunity exceeds the risk.

When would you abandon the Republican Party and vote for a third party candidate?

Image Credit: Alfredartist-17 / Shutterstock.com

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  1. user_1152 Member
    user_1152
    @DonTillman

    Systems with three or more major parties are fundamentally unstable.

    (‘Kind of like how, in physics, the Three Body Problem is unstable.  No, it’s not the same at all; it’s just a cool metaphor.)

    But in a race with three political parties, each has an incentive to split the votes of the other two.   And the resulting winner has far less support as they received fewer votes.

    Also, a third party starts out from square one, with no support, funding, brand recognition, or infrastructure.

    So a third party is a lose-lose-lose situation.

    ——–

    Another possibility, one that you left out, is to actively participate in the Republican Party, local or otherwise,  and help guide it in a better direction.  I believe that has the potential for far more success.  And as a side effect, it gets you more involved in the political process.

    • #1
  2. Matede Member
    Matede
    @MateDe

    I would not go third party because that would be a gift to the democrats ( ie: left) we need to change the party from within and it will be a long arduous process but it can be done.

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  3. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    I have never been registered as a Republican. I live in NYS, so I feel that being a conservative is not even remotely synonymous  with being a Republican.

    I almost always vote R, unless a Right to Life candidate is running. Sometimes I vote Conservative.

    • #3
  4. x Member
    x
    @CatoRand

    I occasionally vote libertarian.  It’s usually when an election is sufficiently uncontested and the spirit just moves me.  Once or twice I’ve done it when I thought the republican made anti-gay rhetoric a pronounced part of his persona and campaign.

    • #4
  5. Badderbrau Member
    Badderbrau
    @EKentGolding

    I tend to vote Republican, but I consider abstaining  from voting, or vote Other Non-Democrat  if the Republican is  bad enough, the Democrat good enough ( unicorn?), or if the race is a foregone conclusion.    I have considered registering Democrat so that I could vote in the Democrat primaries and actually have an influence on elections (would still vote Republican in the General).   If the Democrats are going to pick our nominees,  why not pick theirs?

    • #5
  6. St. Salieri Member
    St. Salieri
    @

    Don Tillman: Another possibility, one that you left out, is to actively participate in the Republican Party, local or otherwise,  and help guide it in a better direction.  I believe that has the potential for far more success.  And as a side effect, it gets you more involved in the political process.

    Matede: I would not go third party because that would be a gift to the democrats ( ie: left) we need to change the party from within and it will be a long arduous process but it can be done.

    Mhahahahaha….

    Sorry twenty years of working for the GOP at the local level tells me this is a complete waste of your time.  I went from being a Regan movement conservative in high-school to an out and out hater of the GOP based on those years of volunteering and seeing it from the inside.

    It started with an old guard who didn’t get that the world had changed, our committee chair had been first elected during the Eisenhower Administration, to a committee chair who wet his pants whenever the local state rep showed up and yelled at him for trying to change anything or thinking for himself.  A friend one county over in the wake of the Tea-Party thought it was time to get involved, and though they are a less dysfunctional county committee, he quickly discovered the same thing.  We are lackeys on the local level, so don’t you dare do anything more than lack – or you’ll end up in the crosshairs.  Once, those of us that actually wanted smaller government contemplated a coup to oust the chairman, most of the ward and district reps who claimed to support us didn’t even bother to vote, and most said in discussion “what difference will it make”.  The lack of anything resembling character, political insight, or integrity on the local level made me sick.

    At first it was hard to see, especially as an idealist kid who was at the bottom of the pile.  But as the nation has gotten in to deeper troubles, and I worked on more and more campaigns and issues outside of presidential campaigns it slowly became clear.  After years of trying to support it, change it, and help it I finally walked away for my mental and physical health.  The party does not want to change.  They just want happy people to go along and support approved candidates simply because they sport (R) after their name.  Give them votes and money and then shut up.  I’m sure there are local and county committees and individual leaders who are not like this, but they are the vast minority.  In most places anyone who is outside of the GOP box, is considered esoteric at best, or at worst dangerous, see also the reaction to the Tea-party.

    I started as a envelope stuffer, phone caller, etc., worked my way up, helped with campaigns, and ended up on the county committee.  By that time I was excited to finally be in a position to help, organize, and have a say, several years later I was completely and totally disgusted, and the gap between the professional politician, the local supporters, and those of us with an ideological bent became clear.  The machine exists to exist.  Yes, I think the leadership is broadly conservative, but actual party and state leaders really want to merely perpetuate their comfortable existence, they use the true believers to support them when convenient, and the rest of the time could care less.   There might be some true men and women, but they are vastly outnumbered by the time servers.  Until this nation reaches an existential crisis it can’t ignore the venality of the GOP won’t change.  I think it is largely true on the Democrat side as well, but they have a more powerful engine driving them – they want to imatize the eschaton.

    The first shot I thought we had at making a real difference for small, constitutional government and preserving traditional American values was about 12 years into serving, when a young fellow who came out of our local communities built up a grassroots campaign, inspite of the local leadership and the state ignoring him.  By sheer hard work he won the primary, at which point both state and local swung behind him, great.  That’s the way it is supposed to work, right?  After one session where he tried to stay true to his “principles” he began to just vote the party line, on everything, basically ignored the district completely and after the second session he left to be a full time corporate lobbyist.

    The second shot I thought we had was after many of us bucked the state party appointed successor to our district and backed a grass roots reformist who actually won in the primary again.  Again the state and local machine swung behind him.  But after electing our “reformist” representative, he came back from his first legislative session and explained to all of us how the state leadership took him to the woodshed for voting No against the party in what was supposed to be a straight party Yes vote on a controversial and unpopular topic, a topic he promised to vote No on, and from now on, he’d be playing ball or there’d be no more money for him or the district.  Our state had all three branches in the hands of the GOP at the time.  That was over 10 years ago, and he’s still safe in his seat to this day, having never passed a single reform bill from then to now except some worthless pro-gun/pro-hunting crap that gets him re-elected every time.  Oh sure, he votes pro-life, like it matters, is pro-traditional family, but never discusses it and will flip when the tide turns, has no ambition for higher office, but neither does he for changing anything or reducing anything.

    Yep, just go to a couple of Catholic pro-life events, hit some Protestant church suppers, go all maudlin’ at the Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations, pass some hunting/gun stuff that is safe as can be, wave the flag, talk about bringing jobs back to INSERT STATE HERE and hug some wounded warriors, kids, and grandma’s and you’re good to go for a career as the local state or Congressional GOP rep.   Now in the mean time you’ll take care of the sufferings and needs of various lobbyists and industries that will put money in the GOP’s state and national coffers, and will then rely on you to shut out competition on the local and state level through all kinds of interesting but legal crony-capitalist deals.  You will enjoy the lavish lifestyle of a legislator and move to lobbying with your industry buddies when you’re tired of all the hard work of being a representative of the people, or can’t get re-elected.  That’s all it really takes, that and fixing peoples taxes, driver license issues, etc, and promising to “look into things”.  Talk real conservative when it’s election time, and then just vote at your party’s or financial backers bidding and you will be a sure fire winner.  Oh the needs of the communities, the state, and the nation, you represent, well as one state party leader once told us when questioned on some hideous betrayal of our conservative principles, “That’s just the way it is folks, we need to win, we don’t want this district going to the Democrats do we?”

    The call for the party to survive is the only call that matters.

    Yes, please volunteer at the local level, but unless you are heavily tied to powerful industrial/corporate/business interests, have enough money to float your own candidate, or have incriminating photos of the state leadership, don’t expect to change your district, let alone the world.

    Remember, no matter what we do or say in the GOP – we wouldn’t want those Democrats to win.

    • #6
  7. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Rocket City Dave: Likewise in Alaska the independent candidate beat the fringe Republican nominee.

    Just a reminder, Lisa Murkowski was the incumbent senator, lost her primary to a tea party candidate and subsequently staged a successful write-in campaign to stay in office. Hardly a third party candidate.

    At the Ricochet Meetup yesterday we discussed this with Randy Weivoda; given Minnesota’s reliably blue tendencies he will often throw a vote to the libertarians, since symbolic votes is all he gets anyway. In WI we’re a much more purple state, so party discipline has to carry more weight. The difference of a few votes is significant.

    Myself, I’m still largely undecided on this. As the saying goes, “Winners never quit and quitters never win, but if you never win and you never quit you’re an idiot.”

    • #7
  8. user_231912 Member
    user_231912
    @BrianMcMenomy

    This is isn’t (or shouldn’t) be an exercise in vanity or self-righteousness.  3rd parties (unless they actually supplant one of the 2 major parties, a la the Republicans vs Whigs) only hurt those with whom they sympathize more.  Examples?  1992- Perot’s vote total came largely from those that would have otherwise voted Republican.  Was it decisive?  We’ll never know for sure, but it didn’t help Bush 41.  2000-Ralph Nader’s vote total came almost exclusively from people that would have otherwise gone for Gore (especially in Florida, where the whole ball game was decided).  Canada- until Preston Manning’s Reform party reunited with the Conservatives (no longer called the Progressive Conservatives, oxymoron anyone?), the Right in Canada didn’t have a chance of governing.  Now, it is the left-of-center parties that are divided between the Liberals & the NDP.  For all of Justin Trudeau’s charisma, Stephen Harper’s Canada is a pretty good place to be right now; it will take some doing to get Harper out of Sussex Drive.

    The Tea Party did itself and the country a great service by not going 3rd party but by changing the party from within.  For all the establishment carping, the Tea Party has won the rhetorical and policy battle inside the Republican party.  Big-government Republicans are either in deep blue states or in hiding.  They have to at least pay rhetorical homage to smaller government, and that is a great triumph.

    Elections are a binary process; you win, or you lose.  As John Podhoretz has said, politics start when elections are over.  Elections are about choosing; politics is about how we order our lives together.  Do we like it when we have to choose the least bad of 2 bad choices?  Of course not.  But politicians (news flash coming) aren’t angels and neither are we.  We choose from the menu and then work to improve those choices.  Right now is when we should be working on Presidential candidates that we can be proud of.

    I am a Christian first, an American second, a conservative third and Republican fourth.  Party loyalty isn’t about muzzling oneself “for the good of the cause”.  It’s telling the truth and defending the ideals we should be championing while making sure that something much worse doesn’t gain power.

    • #8
  9. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    I vote mostly Republican for this reason: Republican politicians will do the wrong thing 50% of the time, but Democratic politicians will do the wrong thing 95% of the time.

    If the same candidate is on both the Republican and Conservative lines, I use the Conservative line.

    • #9
  10. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    My take has long been that I will support the Republican party to the extent it furthers my principles. Often, that means voting for someone who’s far less than ideal, but still close enough to count. But if a candidate looks like they will undermine those principles — either ideologically or through flaw of character or temperament — I’ll vote otherwise or simply stay home.

    Shorter version: I will support most Republican candidates, but it’s a matter of interest, not loyalty.

    • #10
  11. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Hank got to it first. Murkowski’s write-in campaign was a travesty of justice. Lisa was entitled to her family’s senate seat and used the promise of federal pork to draw the Democrats of Alaska to support her.

    • #11
  12. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    My younger brother once observed voting for the lesser of two evil always beats voting for the greater of two evils.

    Unfortunately, that is what most of politics boils down to.  I have never been tempted to spend my vote “to send a message,” or “to teach them for next time.”  To me, that boils down to voting for the greater of two evils.

    I was unhappy with my choice of Mitt Romney for President.  Nevertheless, I voted for him.  He would have been a better President than Obama. (Certainly no one can disagree with that today, can they?) Unfortunately a lot of true believer conservatives disagreed (“there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them”) and stayed home. So we have two more years of President Obama

    In the final analysis, go conservative in the primary, and vote for the most electable, conservative candidate in the general.  In almost every case that means voting Republican.

    Seawriter

    • #12
  13. user_517406 Member
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I never vote third party, but I have been known to not vote for a particular office where I couldn’t support either candidate.  I will never vote for someone who supports abortion for example.

    • #13
  14. Jim_K Member
    Jim_K
    @PlatosRetweet

    Yes, a conservative must always be a loyal Republican, the alternative being living under left wing tyranny.

    The more pertinent question: “Must a loyal Republican be a conservative?”

    The answer is a resounding “No!” It is the seculars, the RINOs, the successors to “the Reagan Democrats,” the visiting Independents, the emotion-driven low information feelers, and the Tea Party irregulars who stand between conservatives and life under left wing tyranny.

    • #14
  15. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Merina Smith: I will never vote for someone who supports abortion for example.

    Would that include someone who supported Roe’s overturn, but didn’t support a federal abortion ban?

    • #15
  16. user_517406 Member
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Merina Smith: I will never vote for someone who supports abortion for example.

    Would that include someone who supported Roe’s overturn, but didn’t support a federal abortion ban?

    Yes–federalism is good.

    • #16
  17. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I take a very practical approach to voting.  While I have problems with the Republican Party’s regular propensity to cluelessness, it remains the only viable American means to defeat the liberal agenda.  I don’t love the party as such, but I don’t want to be the means of helping an ideologically liberal candidate beat an uninspiring Republican who will at least vote the right way.

    More broadly, if the American Republican Party ever becomes as squishy as the British Conservatives, I’d be looking for an American version of UKIP.

    • #17
  18. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Merina Smith:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Merina Smith: I will never vote for someone who supports abortion for example.

    Would that include someone who supported Roe’s overturn, but didn’t support a federal abortion ban?

    Yes–federalism is good.

    Got it. I’m glad I asked.

    • #18
  19. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    While I nearly always vote GOP on the lesser of two evils principle, I’ve been an unaffiliated or independent voter since the Bush 41 administration.

    Something about “No New Taxes.”

    • #19
  20. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Don Tillman: Systems with three or more major parties are fundamentally unstable. (‘Kind of like how, in physics, the Three Body Problem is unstable. No, it’s not the same at all; it’s just a cool metaphor.) But in a race with three political parties, each has an incentive to split the votes of the other two. And the resulting winner has far less support as they received fewer votes.

    Weeeeell, that depends on the election laws in the jurisdiction, and the strategies employed by the third parties.

    For example, “rather than nominating its own candidates, the Conservative Party of New York usually endorses the same candidates as the Republican Party and campaigns against the Democratic candidates. It withholds this support from the Republicans if it deems them too liberal.” (Source.)

    • #20
  21. Gary The Ex-Donk Member
    Gary The Ex-Donk
    @

    I re-registred as Unaffiliated a couple months ago (two weeks before a primary no less).  There’s just no upside and all you get for your troubles is annoying phone calls and mailers asking for money.  In CT, primaries are pointless as there is really no real choice between candidates.

    I continue to vote R in national elections (unless I couldn’t stomach the candidate, in which case I’d just stay home).  And locally, I’ll pull the GOP lever 9 out of 10 times.  But beyond that the GOP can stick “loyalty” up their outbox as far as I’m concerned.

    • #21

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