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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Love, Grace, Inclusion in Christianity. What they are and what they are not

Recently, I was embroiled in an argument regarding what I saw to be apostasy, which I called out and challenged quite plainly.  I definitely took a no nonsense approach to the subject.  I was calling out a couple beliefs that were wrong according to the Bible.  I didn't name call or insult those who were expressing those beliefs, but again I was quite firm in my non acceptance to those beliefs.  In doing so, I was charged with lacking inclusion and also it was insinuated that my heart was not filled with love and grace.  So given that charge, I figure it's time to address this since I see it quite often among modern Christian circles.

First, let's start with the good stuff.  Love.  God is love.  God IS love.  Love is God's essence.  Love is the force that drives God's goodness.  Without love we have nothing.  God gave up His only son out of love for us.  Heck, I'll even go a step further and say love is indeed an actual force in the universe.  It's immeasurable by standard means, but it connects us in such a strong way that it breaks the cold paradigm of standard scientific laws regarding self preservation and survival.  It's what can elevate us from the natural to the divine.  Love is just plain awesome.

Grace.  Grace is fantastic.  Grace is a symptom of God's perfect love.  Grace is what allows us flawed creatures to continue living.  Grace is what keeps the world from tearing itself apart.  Grace allows the aggrieved to forgive the repentant.  Grace gives the undeserved the chance to turn back toward God.  Grace is an important tool in our every day lives that helps extend His Kingdom.

Both love and grace are foundational to Christian doctrine.  Jesus expressed love and grace many times throughout the gospel while Paul made it very clear how important love is in 1 Corinthians 13.  Their worth is never to be underestimated.  However, I believe many in today's modern Christian circles are interpreting love and grace to be something it isn't, which I'll get to in a minute.

As you'll notice, I didn't bring up inclusion above.  That's because I wanted to address the lack of inclusion charge directly.

The biggest problem I see with the whole "lack of inclusion", as well as the application of love and grace, is the inability of people to separate a person from their actions.  This is quite common among those who follow a liberal ideology.  Leftists so often identify themselves by their beliefs to a point that they're virtually inseparable.  Thus to call out their apostasy or sinful behavior is also seen as an indictment of them as a person.  To suggest they turn away from such things is, in their minds, an attempt to "change who they are".  

Some may read this and be confused.  Aren't our beliefs and what we do make who we are?  Modern culture would have us believe this.  But this is a lie from hell itself.  We are God's children.  He made each and every one of us and knows us personally.  Each of us has the capacity to do wrong or right thanks to the freedom of choice God has given us.  And while our choices and what we do can set our path and influence how others react around us, we're always one step away from turning back to God.  And each of us are a soul worth fighting for and redeeming.  The person, the soul, is us.  We are not drunkards, liars, racists, killers, and jerks.  We are precious creatures that may have done those things, but it's not who we are.  We are so much more than our actions and beliefs.

This is important to understand when it comes to inclusion.  The modern day leftist influenced version of inclusion means accepting the person AND their beliefs and actions.  To be inclusive in their minds, you have to accept not only them, but their potentially non biblical beliefs.  But that's not the inclusion Christians should be seeking.  The inclusion we must practice is one that is inclusive of every person, since their soul is definitely worth fighting for, but not one that accepts their sin or non biblical beliefs.  Christianity should always accept anyone willing to become a Christian, but that does not mean we'd need to go along with a belief that isn't biblical, such as not believing Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  In fact, it's our duties as Christians to point out such wrong beliefs and guide them back to the truth.  Doing otherwise, such as letting them continue to believe something not biblical, risks them staying disconnected from God.

In other words, we must be inclusive and accept the person, but that doesn't extend to their beliefs or actions.

This brings us back to love and grace.  There seems to be this belief that hate and love are on opposite ends of some monolithic emotional scale where one is either filled with love or filled with hate.  That love is universally good while hate is universally bad or evil.  I cannot stress how wrong this type of thinking is.  Let me explain...

When it comes to love, I'm well aware of what I just said about love being a force of God.  And that's still true.  However, it doesn't preclude flawed humans such as ourselves from loving things that are wicked or evil.  In fact, one of our biggest ways we become disconnected from God is to transfer our love of Him to something else such as ourselves or money.  A heart filled with love that is not directed toward God or our neighbors, the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us, may very well not be good at all.

As for hate, the answer is even easier.  God hates sin.  God hates evil.  God hates wickedness.  So if God can both love and hate, does that not mean we have the same capacity?  Just like God, we are capable of loving and hating while also being wrong or right.  The key difference is where that love and hate is directed.

And this leads us back to the ability to separate the person from the sin/belief/actions.  Love can be directed toward the person and hate can be directed toward the sin.  That is not wrong.  It's not a contradiction.  That is biblical.

So this is what love isn't.  While love is kind, love isn't simply being nice as to not upset someone.  A loving person at times must indeed tell someone when they're wrong.  A loving person must oppose sin and apostasy.  Part of love is speaking truth, though being kind about it.   Love is not refusing to speak truth because that truth might upset the other person.  It's the opposite of love by allowing that person to believe you accept their false belief or sin.   Love isn't some warm fuzzy get along hugathon where no one raises a contrary word.  Believing someone that speaks out against apostasy or sin doesn't have love is like believing a parent doesn't love their children when they discipline them for wrongdoing.

Now let's talk about what grace isn't.  Grace is not acceptance of sin.  While grace will forgive someone of wrong doing, thinking or believing, it does not mean the person bestowing grace accepts the sinful behavior or wrong thinking.  God has forgiven all of us countless times, but do you think He's fine with you continuing to commit the same sin that He just forgave?  Of course not!  He's willing to forgive you, the person, for committing the sin.  But He doesn't accept the sin, the action, itself.  He actually hates it.  So while I may have the capacity to forgive someone who may think that they can get to Heaven without Jesus, it does not mean, nor should I, accept such a belief.  In fact, you can make the case accepting such a belief is deliberately leading someone astray (since they would know better), which is a big no no in the Bible.

Many modern day Christians struggle with the separation of person and action. As long as they continue to believe the lie that a person is what they've done or believe, they will continue to struggle with what it really means to love, bestow grace, and be inclusive as God wants us to be.  However, if they follow the example of Christ by loving the person and hating the sin, they will be act in far more clarity and accordance with the Bible.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The election is won, but the battle is far from over.

Warning:  This post might have a bit of tinfoil hat in it.  Or maybe more than usual depending on how much tinfoil you think I already don.   With that out of the way, let's get down to it.

First off, as I said previously, Trump supporters need to remain vigilant with what our president does.  If you voted for him, you must own every decision he makes.  Of course, doing so will prove difficult. Because even though the election was won and hard fought, the battle still continues.  CNN (and perhaps others, but I've only been paying close attention to the supposedly "most trusted news") is in a full anit-Trump propaganda mode by giving glowing wall to wall coverage of the protests going on in our country while at the same time being on the hunt for any type of evidence that Trump is either putting forth his Hitler agenda or pointing out where he's apparently not keeping his campaign promises.  So if you thought it'd be "over" after the election, you thought wrong.  What you're seeing is the left's attempt to punish those that voted for Trump by trying to portray a national outcry through the protests and also by continually trying to demoralize his supporters by claiming things like "the country took a huge step back" or that "hate wins" or "white nationalism is back!".  You know, stuff like that to make you feel extremely guilty for voting for Trump.

And if you think all this wasn't planned, think again.  While many were genuinely shocked at a Hillary loss, it's silly to think that no one on the left was prepared for the possibility of a Trump victory.  They're called contingency plans.  Remember that Democratic operatives paid people to incite violence at Trump rallies.  They've discussed how voter fraud can be committed and claims it has been used for decades.  There's emails showing collusion between pollsters and the Clinton campaign about how to oversample their polls.  What this means is pollsters were deliberately trying to make the polls favorable for the Clinton campaign by oversampling a demographic known to largely vote for Hillary.  There's also email showing collusion between the media conducting interviews for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and the Clinton campaign, with the media asking what questions they should ask them.  So if they were THIS coordinated to get Hillary elected, do you think they're just gonna go "Oh well, we lost, might as well pack it up"?  Oh no, these are Alinksyites we're talking about.  Losing the election is definitely a major setback, but it's not total defeat.  To think otherwise is foolish.

These protests are organized with paid protesters in the mix.  They're deliberately trying to draw an incident that will legitimize their resistance.  They're looking for the opposition to mess up.  The media is waiting for them to do so.  Leftist operatives are waiting for it to take place so they can pounce on it to further their agenda.  It's textbook Alinsky tactics.

But, you might say, "Obama and Clinton called for unity and a peaceful transition!"  Well, yes, they have to.  If they didn't; if they raised the call to arms themselves, then it ties the violence and damage these riots are causing directly to them.  They are directly and publicly responsible.  That moves them farther from power, which is what an Alinskyite would not do.  However, they play nice and it forces the winners, and the right, to lower our guard and extend their hand in unity, looking gracious in defeat all while the operatives underneath keep doing what they're doing.

What's telling is that neither Obama or Hillary have came out to publicly denounce these riots.  Which they should.  If they're calling for a peaceful transition, then they should tell their ardent supporters to calm and back off.  But they haven't.  Yet, you have Bernie Sanders, whom is a socialist but NOT an Alinskyite telling them to stop.  He's not part of the inner circle loop, which is obvious by the way he was treated in the primaries.  Yet Obama and Hillary are.  They won't tell these people to stop.  They're just waiting for this protest to produce the incident.

What is this incident?  It could be a variety of things, but the bottom line intent is that these protests are designed to provoke a response from either Trump supporters, republicans, law enforcement, etc that makes it look like the protesters are being oppressed.  Maybe some protesters get run over when blocking traffic (by someone just not paying attention).  Maybe some protesters get beaten down or shot in a chaotic situation.  The facts for the incident won't matter.  All that matters is that some "peaceful" protesters got hurt and are being oppressed.

After such an incident, you can bet there will be calls for a variety of central power grabbing actions.  It could be that martial law is declared because the incident set off nationwide chaos in urban areas.  It could be a call to institute a federal police force to supersede local law enforcement.  It could be declaring a state of emergency that somehow delays or usurps the transitional political process.  It could be trying to push forward some type of emergency injunction in the court that stops Trump from taking office.

We'll all have to wait and see how long these protests continue.  It's been nearly a week. If it lasts much longer, it points more to something organized and planned than it does to a spontaneous grassroots uprising.  Because I'm sorry, but your every day college age American doesn't simply upend their daily life day after day to protest.  The anger will wear off.  The reality will set in.  They'll have to go back to work or school.  Life will carry on.  The only way to keep them going is through paid and professional organization.  And even if the incident never occurs, which is possible, the battle rages on as the media will continue to punish the American people who voted for Trump.  Leftist outlets will continue to write scathing mockery after scathing mockery.  They will continue to foment resentment and division every step of the way with the end goal of trying to turn the tide politically in their favor.

It's going to take courage and resilience to see through it all.  If we thought the election was bad, this is easily worse since at least before the election liberals were simply smug and mocking in thinking they'd win.  Sure, they'd chastise Trump supporters accordingly, but ultimately they'd win, so no big whoop.  But now that  they lost and their reality has been shattered, they're going to do their worst to make the rest of us pay for our supposedly horrible decision.

Stay strong America.  Stay strong Trump and team.  Pray for strength and the courage to fight against these lies.  We've been handed a major victory.  Let that remind us that we are on the right path.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump Supporters: We've won, now let's make sure we own it.

So, Donald Trump has won the presidency.  First off, a YUGE sigh of relief.  This victory restores my faith in this country's people to reject the corruption so blatantly on display by the Democrats this election and stand up to their bullying fearmongering tactics.  And yes, I could spend all day gloating, but I'd rather get down to next steps.  Because this isn't like winning the world series.  Instead, it's more like winning your division to make the playoffs.  It's great that you're division champs, but now the real work begins.  Like the Cubs pulling off a dramatic game 7 to win it all, can the Donald pull off all the things he says he's going to do?  That remains to be seen.  And it's up to us Trump supporters to be watching carefully.

I don't necessarily think we'll have much trouble with that.  See, because the media probably will not own up to its own dishonesty, it'll be looking for anything to go "SEE?! WE TOLD YOU HE'S DANGEROUS!!!".  He could shake a woman's hand on camera and someone in the media would inevitably go "Did you see that woman who stopped Trump from groping her?!".  This is expected.  And I'm fine with that.  Ironically, their dishonesty and bias will keep a Trump administration honest.  And I'm OK with that.  They hated Reagan and yet he managed to pull off the biggest lopsided re-election victory in history.

However, we have to do our parts.  Regardless what you think about Trump, he was a controversial candidate and will most likely be a controversial president.  I mean, you kind of have to be if you intend to build a wall and drain the swamp.  And because of those promises, we need to make sure we're paying attention these next 4 years.  We need to pay attention to not only what Trump does, but also what Congress does and says.

Remember, politics doesn't go dormant in between elections.  In fact, while elections have a lot of drama in campaigning, it's actually not nearly as dramatic as the political persuasion theater that happens in between.  Many political figures will say outlandish things during election time in order to persuade voters of varying information levels.  An example of this is Harry Reid in the 2012 election claiming that Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes for 10 years.  About as bald faced false as it gets, but it was meant to build on the "evil out of touch rich guy" narrative the Obama campaign was pushing.  But these things are ephemeral and simplistic in intent.  However, the political persuasion theater when there isn't an election going is far more sophisticated.  An example of this would the political grandstanding about government shut downs or Rand Paul filibustering John Brennan's CIA Director Senate confirmation hearing to talk about the droning of American citizens.  The filibuster eventually forced then Attorney General Eric Holder to firmly state that the US government did not have a right to drone kill its own citizens.  Prior to the filibuster, Holder gave a very ambiguous and politically weaselly response to the question.  Rand's filibuster was able to put the Obama administration, and John Brennan, on record regarding this issue.

So, paying attention while an election isn't going on is the biggest way to stay informed.  Trump should have less obstacles than Reagan had to get his legislation through.  The key will be to watch what happens in the Senate.  Assuming that pro Trump legislature passes the House with no problem, the thinner majority in the Senate will require some Democrats to cross the aisle.  This is where Trump's negotiating and persuasion can really come in handy.  Things to pay attention to will be how the Senate votes go, which bills that the Speaker and Senate majority leaders bring to the floor, and what political stunts will be pulled when confirmation hearings begin.

It's important for supporters to keep track of which promises he upholds, which he deviates, and which he ignores.  He's made promises to the inner cities to help out the black community in our country; a very bold move and something many conservatives have wanted a leader to say for years.  Now, will he follow through?  Will he build that wall? Drain the swamp?  Effectively replace Obamacare?

And lastly, there's lots of fear about a Trump presidency.  I find most of it ridiculous and irrational.  However, it seems to be real.  Part of our role will be to remain vigilant.  We held our own establishment party members accountable when we nominated Trump despite party bosses scolding us not to do so (though full disclosure:  I voted for Cruz in the primaries).  We rejected their elitism by electing Trump when they turned their back on him.  There was a lot of "if you elect him, bad things will happen".  Part of our honesty must be to remain vigilant and own these problems should they manifest.

I think Trump will be a great president, but as Trump said last night, "It's only just begun".  And I look forward to seeing how things unfold with a real leader that prizes being on time and under budget.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dear 3rd Party supporters: Your smuggery makes you look foolish, not enlightened.

This will be a bit of a rant post.  I have a few Facebook friends that are voting 3rd party.  As I've said before, I don't necessarily have a problem with people voting 3rd party as long as they are willing to own the ramifications of their decision.  I'll talk more about that further down.  However, what I don't like is the smuggery that comes from the memes that get shared.   See, I expect smuggery from liberals.  I expect them to say things that indicate a lack of critical thinking.  I expect them to ironically believe they are the smart and informed ones.  I don't expect this from people that typically reject liberal ideology and espouse more constitutionally aligned principles.  But yet, that's what I'm seeing.  Let me give you a few examples...

According to this meme, people complain but are too naive/dumb/unaware/afraid to vote for a 3rd party candidate.  According to this meme, the only option if you dislike both parties is to vote 3rd party.  I guess they're unaware of the internal struggle that has gone on in the Republican party ever since Reagan left office and even more recently the internal strife within the Democrat party this primary season.  I guess this meme didn't take into account that when someone bitches about these parties, they may indeed be bitching about certain elements within the party that they want to change.  I guess this meme has never heard of conservative vs establishment Republicans.  So in an attempt to look profound, this meme instead looks foolish for oversimplifying the social landscape each party has and the effort many people within the party go to the change their particular party for the better.

This is a great one.  Any time anyone throws out the "have you ever considered.." line, the implication is that you haven't and that they, those writing/saying the meme, have done so and are therefore more enlightened.  This meme pretty much is saying that people who are supporting Trump or Hillary are just sheeple caught up in sensationalism and celebrity worship.  The irony is by saying this, it shows how foolish this meme is because at least Trump has put out policy plans on just about everything and they appear quite good to me.  Lowering taxes for everyone? Yes.  Congressional term limits? Yes.  Taxing products of American based companies manufactured overseas? Yes.  Build the wall? Yes.  A more conservative Supreme Court bench? Yes.  Not all his policies are perfect, but they don't have to be.  They're taking the right direction and are achievable.  Naturally they can be picked apart by partisan think tanks and the like, but that doesn't immediately invalidate their worth to the point the policy is "beyond dumb".  

It also shallowly lumps all supporters as having a single sheeple mindset, ironically pointing out their own shallow regard for Trump and Hillary supporters.  And it reveals a very selective nature to Trump's history since it ignores some things he has been saying all along (like our trade deal problem, his disdain for government waste) and instead chooses to point out the history where his positions may have changed from over a decade ago.  Again there's the smuggery that people supporting him aren't aware of this when in fact many are aware, but take a more adult approach to weighing a candidate's value.

This one isn't smug really.  It's just naive.  It's quite telling when they use the definitive "Period".  In their argument.  It points to an unwillingness to consider they may be wrong and an unwillingness to defend their statement.   Because let me put this plainly:

Strictly voting for the candidate you identify most with is simplistic and naive.

It's naive because it doesn't take the consequences and ramifications of one's vote account.  And as an adult, is it ever wise to make an important decision without first considering the consequences of that decision?   For example, even if you desperately need a car, do you just go out and buy the first one that meets your needs?  Do you not consider if you can actually afford the car? Do you not consider how it will handle in the winter?  Do you not consider how dependable it is? Do you not consider its safety rating? If it's been in any accidents?  How much the insurance will cost?  Of course you do all (or most) of those things.  Why? Because the choice of a new vehicle is going to impact your financial situation for the next few years and you want to make the choice that will be the most favorable.  All of these factors apply a certain level of tension and weight when deciding on the car to buy.

That's an aspect to voting this meme doesn't cover and that most people "dispelling the fiction" don't seem to get.  Voting, just like choosing a car, has consequences and that the factors in choosing how to vote are many and not as simple as pick the one you like the most.  So let's break down the ramifications of a 3rd party vote.  First off, let's establish one fact:  The 3rd party candidate isn't going to win.  So your vote will be going to a losing candidate.  One of the two major party candidates will win.

After that, we need to say which state a 3rd party voter lives in.  If it's not a "battleground" state, meaning the state is overwhelmingly going to vote one way or another, then voting 3rd party has the same effect as voting for the Republican or Democrat nominee that's going to get trounced in that state.  In other words, no real meaningful effect at all.  In this case, there's no direct ramifications.  The 3rd party vote isn't going to siphon enough votes from the losing candidate to make a difference in outcome.

However, if you live in a battleground state (also called a swing state) where the race is close according to polls, your vote could indeed help one candidate win by not supporting that candidate's opposition.  This part is well known.  There's plenty of  you must vote Trump to stop Hillary or you must vote Hillary to stop Trump.  I don't think I need to cover that.  But what may not be expressed is the ramifications behind the decision to vote 3rd party in a highly contested race.  And that boils down to whether or not you're OK with both candidates becoming president.  Because you know your candidate is going to lose.  Therefore, knowing this, and still choosing to vote for them, means you're fine with either Hillary or Trump being in the White House.  

What this means is you're fine with the most corrupt and publicly exposed politician in history becoming president.  You're fine with the Democrat party hiring out people to incite violence at Trump rallies.  You're fine with a media actively helping one candidate by providing them cover and thoroughly trashing the other candidate.  You're fine with the collusion between the current president's administration of the same party abusing their executive power to avoid subjecting said corrupt politician candidate to the same justice system you and I are bound to.  You're fine with a president that deliberately used a private email server to hide her ongoing dealings with the Clinton Foundation, which is under FBI investigation for corruption, because she had to promise to discontinue her dealings with the Clinton Foundation before being confirmed as Secretary of State.  You're fine with a president that has enriched themselves through this foundation and has offered special state department access to those that donate to the Clinton Foundation.   You're fine with a president that took millions of dollars of Clinton Foundation donations to approve the sale of 20% of our nation's uranium supply; a deal that can only be approved by the secretary of state.  You're fine with a candidate that visited billionaire convicted sex offender Jeffry Epstein's "sex slave island" 6 times while her husband visited it dozens of times himself.  

So you're fine with all this if you still vote 3rd party in a highly contested state.  The timing on all this information gives the voter a once in a life time opportunity to reject that corruption by voting for the candidate with the best chance to win...but instead you're going to naively vote for your 3rd party candidate.  Are you sure you're weighing the ramifications of such a vote?  Yes, you may also not be fine with a Trump administration (though I think a lot of that is overblown by fearmongering liberals).  But not liking both doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to stop the greater evil.  

This is also where the whole whining about the lesser of two evils is naive and/or lacks maturity.  The  "but both are still evil so I'm not gonna vote for them!" doesn't really think critically.  Because by doing so, you're choosing not to oppose the greater evil.  And by choosing not to oppose the greater evil, you are in fact tacitly supporting the greater evil by giving your vote to a candidate that has no chance in opposing the greater evil.  And it's true, you may also believe the greater evil isn't that much greater than the lesser evil.   And if that's the case, then you're again fine with a Hillary administration.  But by believing so, you're not only ignoring the 2nd to previous paragraph, you're ignoring a candidate that:
  • Is under FBI investigation 
  • Has a campaign that illegally coordinates with pacs
  • Has been exposed by unconventional means (wiki leaks and project veritas) because the conventional means (the media) are instead doing their best to protect her
  • Has too many real scandals over the decades to count
  • Has enriched herself through the Clinton Foundation (how does someone go from being "broke" out of the White House to being worth hundreds of millions of dollars without running or owning a private business?)  in exchange for giving special state department favors
And still believing they "won't be that bad".  That's about as naive as it gets.

This meme's also naive because it makes the childish assumption that capturing a small minority of the popular vote is going to "send a message".   The only message that will ever be heard loud and clear in Washington is the message that directly threatens their corrupt way of life on Capitol Hill.  No one's going to go "Oh man, Gary Johnson got 10% of the vote!  We should really pay attention to those Libertarians!"  Because then they'll see there's no Libertarians in Congress.  There's no Libertarian governors.  There's no libertarians in state legislative bodies and realize there's no meaningful impact to that vote.  They'll see it for the lazy, bumper sticker activism it is and continue on their way.

In a perfect voting world, we'd have preferential candidate voting (and if you're a 3rd party supporter who doesn't know what this is, then you are indeed naive) where you can vote for your ideologically aligned candidate and still have your vote make an effective impact on the election.  But unfortunately, that's not the case.  And because of that, voting for a candidate polling sub 10% (maybe sub 15%) is effectively wasted.  You can go "lalalalala no it's not! lalalala" all day long, but the bottom is yes, it's wasted.  And worst, it could have an impact you did not want.

And lastly, let's talk about "sending a message" about the status quo.  If you really want to do that, then you should be all about 3rd party candidates all year long every year.  If you want to send a message, help drive a political movement that can get some libertarians elected in state and federal offices.  That will send the message and build momentum.  Just showing up every 4 years and posting smug memes about voting 3rd party will never do anything and just make you look foolish.  If you're all about 3rd party candidates, prop them up during mid terms.  Help build the political base. 

 Otherwise, just being smug about it, like these memes, just makes you look naive and foolish.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Evangelicals, Conservatives, and Republicans: Trump IS the breakthrough candidate you've been waiting for. Here's why you should vote for him.

It's both hard to believe the election is so close and also somewhat of a relief that it's almost over.  This post was going to be entitled something like my case or my plea to vote for Trump.  But then I realized how pathetic that sounds and how many of those "case for Trump" posts already lose because of that.  It's a tacit admission that he's a terrible candidate that one should hold their nose for when voting.   From the get go, the amount of respect for the post and/or author is lowered, even when a Trump supporter reads it.

What I'm attempting to do today is convince you that Donald Trump is a breakthrough candidate and that you can vote for him with positive confidence.  While stopping the most corrupt politician and establishment this country has ever seen  and preventing an imbalanced liberal Supreme Court are two very important reasons to vote for Trump, they just don't seem like big enough reasons to vote for Trump for a decent chunk of the Republican base.  And while preventative voting is indeed a smart use of one's vote (contrary to what many Johnson supporters say), it doesn't generate enthusiasm.  And that's important.  Enthusiasm is the biggest factor in guaranteeing someone makes it to the polls.  Enthusiasm also spreads socially among peers, which has the chance to bring even more people to the booth.  Without it, you have a voter that although they'll vote for Trump to stop Hillary, might not conjure up the motivation to actually make it to the polls on election day.  And that's what I'm trying to do: generate some enthusiasm by persuading you that Trump is a good candidate.  Not only is he a good candidate, he's a breakthrough candidate.

What do I mean by breakthrough candidate?  A breakthrough candidate is one that defies political norms.  A breakthrough candidate is one that is able to reach down and connect with the American public on a visceral level.  A breakthrough candidate is one that ignites enthusiasm.

For decades, many conservatives, evangelicals, and Republicans have been looking for a breakthrough candidate.  Someone that isn't beholden to special interests.  Someone that respects the Constitution.  Someone that will fight against political correctness and the bullying tactics of liberals.

Donald Trump is all of those.  But why hasn't he been acknowledged as such?  Because many who've been waiting for this breakthrough candidate were waiting for another Ronald Reagan.  In other words, many set their expectations for a very specific individual, character and all.  But, by doing so, they've unintentionally blinded themselves to Trump's breakthrough candidacy.  One parallel that comes up for me is to remember that the pharisees rejected Jesus largely because they were expecting the Messiah to be a mighty, kingly conqueror that would save them from Roman occupation.  Now I'm not claiming Trump to be some kind of political Jesus.  That's not only ridiculous, but blasphemous.  What I am saying though is that God will send us people in times of need that aren't what we're expecting.  Paul is another such example.  David another.

Specifically, here's why Trump is a breakthrough candidate:

  • He's not a politician.  He's a businessman.  While many of his interactions play the same kind of game as politics, he's never been an elected official.  This is breakthrough since distrust for career politicians as at an all time high.  People are tried of hearing the same platitudes from well spoken politicians that have resulted in nothing or even worse: betrayal.  He doesn't robotically repeat the same stump speech over and over or seem like he's brainlessly listening to political consultants.  This makes him appear far more genuine.
  • He's not beholden to special interests.  One the main themes in Washington politics for the past decade has been self serving corruption that perpetuates.  The optics into corruption have been magnified by the revelations of Project Veritas and Wikileaks.  One of the biggest discerned causes for corruption is special interests, or in plain terms, rich people paying off politicians for policies and decisions favorable to them and their own interests.  Once again, this has been magnified by the exposure of pay for play at the Clinton Foundation when Clinton was Secretary of State.  People want a leader that has their interests first and foremost.  Being a billionaire himself, he has the capacity to not owe any big donors any favors and can work toward the policy he's campaigning on.
  • He rejects political correctness.  By being as bold as he's been, he's been able to cut through the political correctness filter that has debilitated so many politicians.  Many on the right see political correctness as weapon used by the left to neutralize some of the hard truths this country faces.  His ability to speak plainly and boldly is another big sign of being a real genuine leader.  
  • He puts all Americans first.  While the left's obsession with identify politics that divide us into racial, gender, and financially based voter blocs, Republicans have also been known to do this by only appealing to their base.  They don't attempt to reach out to the other side and persuade them to come over.  Trump, on the other hands, has reached out to everyone.  He's campaigned in heavily Democratic states to get his message out.  He's made inroads to the black community, saying things many on the right have been saying for years and have been waiting for a candidate to say them.  Many Americans are tired of taking a back seat to illegal immigrants and jobs being sent oversees.   His Pro-American stance is, again, exactly what people want to see in a leader.
Of course, there are other good reasons to vote for Trump, but these are the reasons he's a breakthrough candidate.  For so long we've had Republican candidates that will talk a good talk during the campaign, but then do things completely different on Capitol Hill.  Many on the right reject big government and the globalist agenda.  But many Republican politicians, while claiming to be for limited government and putting America first, will do the bidding of whatever their big donors want them; of which, many represent global interests that do not necessarily have the American citizen as their priority.  They've let the climate of political correctness beat down their messages, if they ever had a bold message to begin with.  They believe the lie about the inevitability of the global economy "balancing" American prosperity.  In other words, they've played right into the left's hands repeatedly, whether unwittingly or not.

But then finally someone comes along that rejects all of that.  Finally someone frames our situation in a way that points to inept politicians putting us in the position we're in.  Someone bold enough to say these things and can because there's no one pulling his strings.  Someone that isn't politically correct and tells things from a perspective that breaks apart paradigms that have long been considered true and proper.  There's not been a Republican politician that has both championed free market concepts and rejected the growth of globalism at the expense of the American worker.  No one before has framed our economic woes around our politicians essentially "giving away the farm".  No one has spoken so boldly at securing our southern border.  Again, no one was saying these things.  But he was able to punch through the media filter and connect with Americans in a way a true leader does.

Furthermore, and many will not like to hear this, but Donald Trump is uniquely suited to be the breakthrough candidate.   You see, our political climate today makes it so anyone who attempts to speak truth, especially if it's politically incorrect, gets lambasted, demonized, and considered the most hateful person on the planet.  For many people, especially those who may be beholden to donors, it's enough to make them back away from what needs to be said because they cannot withstand the onslaught or become afraid their funding will dry up.  The dishonesty of the media is so bad and so slanted in favor of Democrats that it takes someone bold and in your face that only has to answer to themselves to take them on.  It requires someone over the top that also knows how to use the media to their advantage.  Someone that will not back down and isn't afraid to take the hits.   

Donald Trump is that person.  
He has the means.  
He has the demeanor.  
And he knows how to lead people from the front instead of the rear.  

No one else meets these requirements.  

How else is he a good candidate?  Here's a few other things..

His breakthrough candidacy.  Ok ok, he's a breakthrough candidate, but how does that make him a good candidate?  Well, just by the nature of his candidacy, many elements within the election cycle have had to reveal themselves to the public.  Media bias against his candidacy is at an all time high.  Some have even openly admitted to it.  Others can barely maintain a veneer of neutrality.  His lack of political correctness and his unapologetic attitude break the media built paradigm so thoroughly, it has them scrambling to take him down.  And this exposition is a good thing as it shows the public that the media is more a campaign extension of the Clinton campaign than they are a neutral party objectively reporting the news.   Also many Republicans, including the Bush family, have decided to support Hillary Clinton.  Some may blame this on Trump's reported misdeeds.  However, many Republicans already believe many politicians in Washington have the same agenda regardless if they have a D or R attached to their name.  Moving to support Clinton pretty much confirms this.  Clinton represents corruption, special interests, globalization, and the Washington status quo.   Therefore supporting Clinton means these Republicans are on board with all those.

Draining the swamp and term limits.  When's the last time a serious presidential contender put Congressional term limits on their platform?  When's the last time you've seen any R or D politician get the public traction for term limits that Trump has?  That's right, it's not happened.  People, on both sides, have been clamoring for Congressional term limits for decades.  Trump has also tied term limits to ending corruption by "draining the swamp" which is what many people on the right have done.  Congressional approval ratings are below 20% and have been for years.  Many Americans believe corruption is abundant in Washington.  Vowing to fight that as a political outsider is, again, something a good candidate for the people would promise.

Master Persuader.  Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, has called Trump a master persuader by observing how Trump has operated in the debates and how he packages his messages.  Evidence for this can also come from Trump's ability to strike great business deals that has lead to his success as a billionaire running his businesses.  No matter what you may think of the guy personally, someone does not get to where he is by not being smart and being good at negotiating.  Now, while there are many things we want a president to do, the biggest factor in actually getting them done is how well the president can negotiate with all parties, particularly his political adversaries.  This is one of the main reasons Obama has been such a failure in this regard.  He's an ideologue that finds it untenable to compromise any of his beliefs.  He rarely, if at all, attempted to negotiate or work with conservatives and Republicans.  He wanted his will implemented and if Congress wouldn't bend to it, he'd attempt to go around them.  A president must be able to negotiate and work with the other side of the aisle effectively.  Something a master persuader would excel at doing.

30+ years executive leadership experience of a successful business.  Trump may not have any elected political office experience, but he has plenty of leadership experience.  And that definitely counts.  Fundamentally, government and businesses aren't that much different when it comes to managing and operation.  Probably the biggest difference is that bosses of a business have a bit more direct authority than they do in government where rules and laws are legislated by a collective body.  That means that yes, Trump cannot put the laws he wants into place on his word alone and he cannot order congress to make them.  However, there's another side to leadership many seem to ignore while focusing on the leader's direct power. And that's their ability to influence and persuade the people in his organization to go along with his ideas.  As anyone knows, a subordinate that isn't on board with what his boss is saying will still follow orders, but may do so reluctantly.  They may drag their feet and do what's needed, but nothing more.  In short, a boss may have the authority to make a subordinate do what they want even if the subordinate doesn't agree, but it won't be very productive or effective.  A good boss is able to persuade the people who work underneath them that their idea is something they can positively get behind.  And a sign of a good boss, especially one as long as Trump has been with his own company, is a sign that he knows how to be a good boss.

He is a real leader.  Being a good boss is one thing.  However, being a leader is something else.  Bosses may be able to effectively manage their domain, but it's leaders who set the course and direction for whomever they're leading.  Despite his rough exterior, Trump knows how to lead.  It's virtually innate.  It's quite clear looking at him on the campaign trail, his interviews, and his debate performances that he's in control.  Not his advisors.  Sure, he may listen to what they have to say, but the decision is ultimately his to make.  Real leaders are confident and somewhat arrogant.  You have to be if you intend to lead people.  You have to have a certain level of confidence in oneself to trust your own judgment and instincts when leading people.  Once again, you can see that in the success of his companies (though not all were successful) and also in how successful his children have become.  
He's pro life.  When it comes to measuring character, this one is really the only measurement I use for character.  As I'll discuss later, there are a lot of distractions when it comes to character.  But to me, none of those matter if you feel it's ok for a woman to allow a doctor to brutally murder the innocent child growing inside her body.  He's not completely pro-life as he's pro-life with the exceptions (rape, safety of the mother, etc.), but that shouldn't be held against him.  The fact that he's against elective abortion is what I'm largely looking for.  Of course, there are some that will point out that he's been on record at saying he's pro-choice and that he's just doing this for political purposes.  However, I have two counters for that.  First, his mind changed within the last decade when he encountered a real situation with a friend of his where an abortion was an option.  The result, where the child was not aborted, changed his mind.  People are allowed to do that.  Second, no one whose just claiming to be pro-life for political purposes says they expect to overturn Roe vs Wade based on the Supreme Court justices they pick on national television nor do they so vehemently rebuke late term abortions.  He's the only major candidate that's pro-life.

America First policies.  As stated above about being a breakthrough candidate, his policies are geared toward making America prosper first and foremost.  Illegal immigration is a huge issue both economically and from a security standpoint.  His big idea about a wall is one of the most persuasive illustrations about securing our border that it wholly resonated with many Americans.  His talk about trade deals brings up an issue no one was talking about in regards to economic prosperity and how it's hurting American jobs.  The proposed policies to tax companies for their products that are made outside of the country shows how he has American jobs as a primary interest and not simply allowing companies to make more money at the expense of American jobs.  

All of these qualities point to a candidate that has been able to break through the politically correct culture and media filter and connect with every day Americans.  And for his efforts, he's been attacked nonstop by the media and the political elites.  And that's one of the biggest indicators that he's the right candidate.  The media and the political elites fear the shake up he'll bring.  They fear it so much, they're doing all they can to influence the public against him.  

Now with all that said, you might begin to think that I'm ignoring the parts that seem to make him an unappealing candidate.  That I'm seeing through rose colored glasses and going la la la regarding the bad things that have come up about Trump.  But that's hardly the case.  I just didn't want to start off on the defensive.  Regardless, let's make one thing clear:  I'm well aware of all of Trump's misdeeds, actual and alleged.  

For example, his treatment of women.  The infamous Hollywood Access hot mic tapes.  I'm not going to defend that type of talk.  Whether it's done in private, joking around, or private, it's still wrong.  It's still wrong even if many people, including women, around the country talk like that in private.  So that makes him a misogynist pig.  (Remember he's not talking about raping them since he says the women let him do this stuff).  A character flaw? Absolutely.  A fatal character flaw in a president? Nope.  There's a couple reasons why I think this.  

One, he apologized.  As Hillary ironically pointed out, Trump never apologizes for anything.  So for him to publicly and humbly apologize to the nation lends to it being genuine than the opposite.  Trump's unapologetic attitude about a lot of things points to a man who believes apologies can be seen as weakness in a leader.  So, in my mind, he would not apologize like he did and appear as a weak leader unless he really was repentant.  

Two, as president, he's not going to be going around groping interns in the White House or groping Kate Middleton.  He just isn't.  He's got a country to run.  And I highly doubt Melania is the sort to let it slide (unlike Hillary).  It's not going to be an issue with him as President.  Keep in mind, we're electing a President, not a Pope.  And while yes, I would rather have a character who isn't a misogynistic pig, it's not a disqualifying character flaw that would turn him into a bad candidate.  

Other things to rise up are the civil suits against him where he's supposedly fleeced contractors and defrauded people out of their money.   For the former, Trump has a long history of not paying for work he considers poor quality.  Or rather, he won't pay what they are asking because the work is of poor quality according to him.  This actually happens in business all the time.  You see it all the time when people get poor quality products and contact the company who rectifies the issue by giving some type of credit or coupon.  Trump is no different in this respect.

As for the latter, specifically regarding Trump University, it's remained to be seen whether he actually did defraud people.  The case was already thrown out once and nearly twice, so to me it points to something that doesn't quite jive the con man narrative floating about.  And anyway, there's quite a few different possibilities, even if it is true.  For example, it's highly unlikely that Trump and his cohorts planned to defraud people out of their hard earned money.  What's more likely is that whoever designed Trump University was too ambitious with the promises offered.  Even if Trump approved, again it's more likely it was an oversight on his part or that later on a proper plan was not put in place to give the top tier payers access to him.  How does that all unfold after that?  Again, there's a variety of possibilities.  The point though is that this suit doesn't reveal a man intent on defrauding people their money.  It more than likely shows things got out of hand, which isn't a disqualifying quality.

At this point, you may also feel like I'm simply making excuses for Trump.  It could be seen that way.  But one thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that the sheer volume of accusations hurled at this man is more than what most people could bear.  That when someone's accused of being the next Hitler.  A racist.  A sexist.  A rapist.  A liar.  A con man.  A criminal.  When someone has that many things being thrown at them, anyone stepping up to defend against them all will look like they're making excuses simply because there's so many accusations to defend against.  Many of them are gross misrepresentations perpetuated by the media deliberately interpreting the ambiguity of Trump's words in a negative light so it fits their narrative.

Bottom line is, the most you can say about the man is he's a bit of a misogynist pig that's rough around the edges when he talks.  Again, not an ideal quality, but definitely not a quality that turns him into a terrible candidate.  

What many evangelicals, conservatives, and republicans need to get over is he's not going to be like Reagan (although he and his supporters are being attacked very similarly to what happened to Reagan and his supporters).  Many are looking for a perfect political Messiah and it's blinded them.  Because Trump isn't what they're wanting or expecting, but they're not seeing he's the candidate that's needed at this time.  

Let me repeat:

Trump is the candidate we need, not the candidate we were expecting.

  Anyone thinking of sitting on their hands and not voting or voting for the "sane" Gary Johnson (and I use that quote lightly), should give a good hard look at their misgivings of Trump and see if they're not misplaced.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Rigged: Every American that loves their country should oppose the Democratic party

The word rigged is being thrown about a lot lately.  Trump is throwing it about talking about the election is rigged.  The media sneers.  Obama sneers.  Clinton claims the Russians are rigging the election...and then she sneers.  A wall of information from the liberal echo chamber has come up to rebuff Trump's claim.
The problem with what Trump is saying about the election being rigged is its potential ambiguity.  This has been a vulnerability of his the entire election season.  Trump says something that's not carefully crafted like a seasoned politician would.  His opponents then interpret those words, deliberately in most cases, to push the next-coming-of-Hitler narrative.

When it comes to saying "the election is rigged", it's easy to take it to mean rampant voter fraud.  That no matter how many people actually vote for Trump, Clinton is going to win by cheating on election day.  That's probably the most common interpretation when Trump says the election is rigged.  Even though that's not exactly what Trump is meaning, that's how his opponents are choosing to interpret it.  And by doing so, it does two things:

  • It makes it easier to refute and defend.  Voter fraud is notoriously hard to prove.  Most of the suspected methods are front loaded, meaning that proving it after the votes have been counted is nearly impossible.  And trying to catch, expose, and stop voter fraud on election day is hard to do given all the sensitivities and constitutional ramifications involved.  Therefore, due to a lot of this lack of concrete evidence and after the fact prosecutions, it's easy to say "voter fraud doesn't exist" because by any objective measurable factor, it doesn't.  
  • It deflects attention from what Trump is really getting at.  The media can claim they aren't ignoring it and just claim Trump is crazy.
So what does Trump and his surrogates mean by the election being rigged, if not talking about actual voter fraud?

I don't quite have the right phrase to succinctly describe it.  But basically, the type of "rigged" Trump is talking about is the collusion between the Democrat Party (the DNC), the media, activist groups & PACs,  and the Obama administration to oppose his candidacy.  In other words, the deck is unfairly and unethically stacked against him.  That's the type of rigged he's talking about.

And this type of collusion should not only scare the heck out of every American, but it should prompt them to vehemently oppose the Democratic party from gaining the White House and any other government office.  Forget what you think about Donald Trump for a moment (I'll be talking about him later).  Forget what you think about how mean the Republican party is portrayed.  The type of collusion that has been revealed from WikiLeaks emails and Project Veritas videos are the same type of characteristics that exist in 3rd world countries run by corrupt political elites.  Heck, the fact that the media didn't expose this type of collusion should worry everyone.  

Why is this so bad?  What's wrong with the DNC, media, activist groups & PACs, and the Obama administration all working together to defeat a political opponent?    If you're wondering this, I'm hoping below will explain why...

Let's start with the Obama administration.   The executive branch of the government, regardless of political affiliation, should not be meddling in elections in this manner.  Utilizing the power of the executive branch to assist one party and ideology over another is blatantly wrong.  Sure, the president can campaign.  That's fair game.  But utilizing the apparatus of the executive branch, such as the FBI and Justice Department to shield a presidential candidate from prosecution is beyond unethical.  With the exception of campaigning, the executive branch is supposed to be objective and politically neutral in executing the law of the land.  When it's not; when justice favors one party over the other, that's what we call corruption.

We also need to be reminded that the Democratic party is not a government agency.  It is not part of the government.  It's a private political party.  The government should show no favor to one party or another.   Therefore any collusion between Democratic operatives clearly trying to get their candidate elected and the White House is highly unethical.  A couple examples of this is Robert Creamer, the Democratic mastermind behind paying people to incite violence at Trump rallies, having a multitude of meetings at the White House and Bill Clinton, technically an average, un elected citizen, meeting "off the cuff" with the current Attorney General (the head of the Justice Department).  So once again, you have our officially elected government giving very special, rather secretive treatment to one candidate's party.  This, again, is what corruption looks like.

Next we have collusion between activist groups & PACs and the DNC.  For starters it is illegal for a campaign to coordinate with a PAC.  PACs and activist groups are supposed to operate on their own leadership.  Coordinating their efforts with the actual campaign is considered illegal by the FEC.

Also, another problem with this collusion is the deceptive appearance.  Activist groups, by their definition, should be seen as grass roots, every day citizen organizations rallying for and/or against some cause.  This type of grass roots activism gives a sense of genuine credibility to the issue they're talking about.  Yet, if a major political party is engineering and paying for these groups behind the scenes, it's deceptively playing an influence angle that's hard to reject without looking like a conspiracy theorist.  Heck, prior to Project Veritas' latest work, it's super easy for people to dismiss dark money funded fake activism as crackpot conspiracy theory.  But once exposed, it shows a party going to great lengths to deceive the people in this country.

And finally, there's the media, the lynchpin to all of it.  Remember, the media is supposed to be our country's watch dogs.  The media gets special protections because it's supposed to inform us of the truth and what the government is doing without fear of government reprisal.  It's supposed to inform us objectively about the candidates.  This is the medium through which citizens are supposed to get information to make informed decisions.  If the media did  what it's supposed to do, all of the above mentioned scandals would be exposed and we'd be able to make an informed decision knowing these things.  However, if the media instead uses their powers and protection to help one candidate and oppose another, it instead acts as a shield to all of the above scandals.  It's deliberately keeping people in the dark on topics that might sway their opinion against their preferred candidate.  

Just remember this:  it should have been the media that exposed Robert Creamer's operation to incite violence at Trump rallies.   It should have been the media that continuously went after the quid pro quo request from a State department official to the FBI regarding Clinton's investigation.  It should have been the media doing these investigations.  But instead, it took a citizen reporter's organization (Project Veritas) and a hacker to shed light on it.  And even then, despite this stuff being shown to the public, the media is choosing to largely ignore it if you were to compare how much they cover the scandals.  In this case, Trump's "locker room talk" and his accusers is getting magnitudes more coverage than the wiki leaks releases and Project Veritas combined.  

Furthermore, when a government works with the media to smear the opposition's presidential candidate, that's unethical.  When campaign staff for one party is dictating questions the media should ask their candidate, that's unethical.  When one party is paying people to incite violence and incidents at the opposition candidate's rallies that the media gleefully covers without doing any due diligence, that's unethical (not to mention inciting violence in this manner is illegal).  

When all of these pieces, the executive branch, the DNC, activist groups & PACs, and the media all line up together to destroy their political opposition, you get the same type of corrupt government that exists in 3rd world countries like Venezuela and many other South and Central American governments.  And this should scare every American.

America is unique and exceptional.  Don't believe all that crap that says we're not.  The reason we're unique and exceptional is because our country was founded on the principle of limited government giving citizens the maximum amount of freedom.  Yes, other countries, particularly in Europe, have freedoms.  But they're all big government in ideology.  They believe the government is the arbiter and bestower of rights.   Those freedoms only exist at the mercy of whose in charge.  In other words, there's no foundation for the limiting of government being the biggest source of freedom.  That's where America  is unique.  Our rights are innate and not granted by the government.  The government is really only there to protect us from foreign enemies and  legislate laws within their constitutional jurisdiction.

We're so used to this freedom that we've taken it for granted, which is dangerous.   Let me ask this:  If the collusion of these four entities is powerful enough to destroy political opposition, what else could it destroy?  Obama has already hinted at making a way to "curate" news for truthiness in regards to right win news outlets.  Probably sounds great to many liberals out there.  But what happens when a freedom you enjoy becomes their target?  What then?  Just because the target of this collusion may be something you also don't like, the implications it brings points to the beginning of the loss of freedom and the declining of the marketplace of ideas.  And again, that should worry everyone.

So, if you oppose this level of existentially threatening corruption, the only thing you can do is oppose Hillary Clinton.  And the only effective way to do that is to vote for Trump.  I'll outline the case for Trump later.  But to put it simply, Trump wont start a nuclear war.  Trump isn't going to start persecuting non whites and women.  Trump isn't going to be running around the White House groping interns (though Bill did set that precedent).  To vote for anyone aside from Trump, including not voting, is to be OK with this type of corruption running our country. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Yes, 3rd party candidates can win elections...if they did it right.

So lately I've been seeing a lot of posts about how voting 3rd party is a viable option and that the only reason 3rd party candidates don't win is because no one votes for them because they don't think they can win.  And if everyone who actually voted for their 3rd party candidate instead of the "lesser of two evils" as it's put, then they could actually win.  I'm here to tell you that this simply isn't true.

But first, let's start with pointing out how the current deck is stacked against parties that are not the Republican and or the Democrat party.  There are two significant factors that play against these other parties.  One, the presidential election does not do run offs.   Without going into too much detail, a run off occurs when one candidate does not receive at least 50% of the votes.   The idea is that while one candidate did indeed get more votes than any other candidate, most of the people did NOT vote for them.  My favorite example is how Bill Clinton won in 1992.  He only received 43% of the vote.  Bush Sr received 38% and Perot 19%.   So while Clinton received the most, there were still 57% of Americans that did not vote for him.  Had there been a run off system in place, there would have been a 2nd round of votes (either automatic using preference style voting or another full manual round of voting) where only Bush and Clinton were on the ballot.  And naturally, in a two candidate race, one will get at least 50%.  This is why a 3rd party candidate is a problem.  More Americans did not want Clinton than did, but still he was elected.   Without runoffs, more than 2 parties in the presidential election make it so it's highly likely we'll have a president that most Americans did NOT want.  In these cases, the vote for the 3rd party candidate is a waste since it could have given a candidate that a voter is somewhat ok with a better chance at winning and also reaching 50%.

And two, most people use their vote defensively, especially because there's no runoffs.  In many elections with multiple candidates, a voter will be faced with these choices

  • A candidate they most ideologically align with
  • A candidate they somewhat ideologically align with
  • A candidate they most ideologically disagree with
Given that for the past 3 decades there's been this feeling the country has been heading in the wrong direction, people see their vote as one of the only ways they can put a stop to this decline.  And in their mind, it's better to keep out the one who's going to do the most damage to the country and have someone somewhat ideologically aligned than to risk the opposition candidate winning because they threw their support behind their preferred candidate who was highly unlikely to win.  The justification is usually "Well ok, let's keep that person out and maybe next cycle our party will have a stronger standing to actually win".  In other words, the lesser of two evils.  

That's really only one factor I guess.  But it's probably the biggest reason why people will vote how they vote.  I know a few voters older than myself (I was only a freshman in high school for the 92 election) that regret voting for Perot.  They truly believe by doing that, they let Clinton into the White House.   And while there's so much focus on the damage the Obama administration has done to this country, the Clinton administration during the 90's wasn't all that great either.  In fact, they set the stage for a lot of the problems we faced in the 2000's and today.  

Now this doesn't make a truly viable 3rd party candidate impossible.  It just means their battle is an uphill battle in which there's a lot to overcome.  And this leads me to my next point.  There's a reason why people don't think 3rd party candidates can win...and it's not because "no one votes for them".  It's because these parties themselves don't think they can win or just don't have the political power and don't want to take the time to cultivate that power.  

Here's a question for you:  Why is it the only time we hear about the Libertarian party or any other 3rd party is during the presidential election?  How come we don't hear about them during the mid term elections?  Or Governor's races?   When looking at a list of Libertarian elected officials, I searched for the words "house", "senate" and "governor".  I found one state house elected official and one state senate elected official.  Nothing at the federal level and no governors.  

So the question must be asked:  If the idea is that if everyone voted 3rd party (or Libertarian since they're the most popular "other" party) instead of "the lesser of two evils", they could win the presidency, then how come there aren't any lower federal offices held by Libertarian, let alone other 3rd party politicians?  I mean if there's really that much popular support for the Libertarian platform, surely there'd be a sizable representation in the House and Senate.  Maybe even a governor or two in the more "libertarian" states.  But there isn't.

This doesn't necessarily mean 3rd parties don't have large support, because they might - at least on an ideological scale.  But then again, these parties aren't winning.  So when it comes to answering the question of why I think a 3rd party candidate can't win, the answer really is this:  Why would I think a 3rd party candidate can win in a presidential election, the biggest election in the country and arguably the world, when they can't even win lesser offices?  And if they're not even trying to win lesser offices, it shows a party that isn't really serious about building its political power.

Because when it comes down to it, presidential elections cannot be won on ideology alone.  Presidential elections will never be won by banking on the unfavorable ratings of the Republican and Democrat candidates.  Presidential elections will never be won by only coming around every four years pretending to be the "sane" candidate.

Instead, presidential elections are won by a political movement that stays in the public's eye.  A constant, ideological reminder that keeps pointing out that "hey, our ideology is the best, yo".  Despite many people's personal distaste for political theater, what they may not realize is that this drama actually keeps each party's antics, actions, ideals and values, for better or worse, fresh in people's minds.  People are bombarded with Democrat this, Republican that.  But in the last 4 years since Johnson ran last time, how much have you heard from him or the Libertarian party?  Where were they when it came time to weigh in on the myriad of scandals and controversies that have come up?   Why wasn't their presence felt during the mid terms?  As far I know, they were nowhere to be heard.  Even media bias isn't enough to explain away the lack of Libertarian presence during a very politically turbulent last 4 years.

So let's look back at the last time a 3rd party actually was successful:  the Republican party.  The Republican party was born in the 1850's primarily as an abolitionist movement.  Most of them came from an ideological fracture in the Whig party, the Democrat's opposition at the time, in response to legislation that was going to expand slavery.  During the 1850's while being unsuccessful in winning the presidency in 1856, they were gaining seats in congress the entire time.  And while it's difficult to know what kind of political theater was around during that time, it can be reasonably assumed that the Republican party was fresh in the public's eye seeing as 6 states had already seceded and formed the Confederacy between the time Lincoln was elected and the time he was inaugurated fearing the Republican's abolitionist platform.

So, in other words, the Republican party formed from the Whig party, along with some Free Soil Democrats.  Their platform, the abolition of slavery, was front and center in the public eye that decade.  Using that issue, they were able to gain seats in congress years before they won the presidency in 1860.   This would be the gold standard example to how a 3rd party emerges as a political power.  This took 6 years.

On the contrary, the libertarian party has been around for over 40 years.  Yet, despite this, there hasn't been much to show except for them playing the spoiler.  Looking at their history page, it seems they are actually proud of getting a noticeable chunk of the votes, like 5 or 15 percent, despite suffering an overwhelming loss.  This, to me, shows they aren't really serious about winning.  They expect to lose, but consider it a victory if they just make it on the board even it is a small amount.  With that attitude, it isn't surprising at all that there's no Libertarians holding congressional seats as a true member of the party and not a Republican that has Libertarian values.  If you're ok with just getting noticed, you'll never win.  While people may vote defensively, they're still voting for whom they expect to win.

So bottom line is, the Libertarian party, and just about every other 3rd party today, are doing it wrong.  They celebrate losing badly.  They only seem to get noticed every 4 years.  They don't seem to be trying very hard to go after lower offices.  It's no wonder they haven't gained much ground since 1971.  They're still ranked spoiler status to me.  There have been articles over the years predicting the rise of the libertarian party, but I guess I'm still waiting for them to start taking congressional seats from Democrats and Republicans.

While today's political climate is vastly different from that of the 1850's, the model for success should remain largely the same.  Get in the public's eye often.  Win lesser offices that builds momentum, exposure and a foundation of success. Build upon that foundation enough and you'll have the White House and/or plenty of success that champions Libertarian values.  Become a political force to be reckoned with.  Until then, they and all other 3rd parties will never be taken seriously.  Yes, you can create "clever" memes that blame 3rd party lack of success on some inane bewildering voting logic.  But all that does is give someone a reason to not face the truth.

I say all this to not persuade you to vote for Republicans or Democrats.  I say it simply to point out what I see to be the truth about why 3rd party candidates aren't winning.  Is it a wasted vote?  It just depends on your outlook of the Republican and Democrat candidates.  If you truly believe both candidates to be equally bad or you don't really care if either one sits in the Oval office, then at least functionally speaking, your vote is not wasted since it isn't really much of a vote at all.  It's like watching a football game between two teams, then rooting for a completely different team altogether to win the game. It just isn't going to happen.  It's not wasted because wasting a vote would indicate that the voter had some intent for direct impact.  In this case, the voter doesn't care who wins so voting for their candidate, even if it's a potted plant, has no direct impact - but they're ok with that.   However, if you feel strongly that one candidate would be far far worse and a real, terrible danger to the country, then yes, your vote is wasted on the 3rd party candidate.  They won't win and now that vote is one less vote the terrible candidate has to overcome to win.  By actually caring about someone other than the 3rd party candidate inhabiting the Oval office, there's at least some need to want to prevent a disastrous administration, which is going to have a bigger impact than voting 3rd party.  In this case, the vote is wasted since it won't have a direct impact even though the voter wanted to make one.

There is a very good reason why people disagree with 3rd party voting as I hope I've outlined.  People might not be able to articulate it well (me being one of them, though I try), but it doesn't mean there isn't some valid reasoning behind it.  Don't kid yourself.  Johnson may indeed become the most successful 3rd party candidate in history and eclipse Perot.  But he'll still lose by a margin that would be considered a landslide in a two candidate election.  Then the Libertarian party will disappear from the public conscience for another 4 years while Democrats and Republicans duke it out in political theater.  Libertarians will tout their "victory" and claim a movement is rising, then reappear 4 years later only to lose again.

I guess at the end of the day, all I'm saying is if you're going to vote 3rd party, just own it.  Own up to the reality that your candidate is going to lose.   Own up to being aware the impact of your vote is only to indirectly make it easier for one candidate to win. Proudly point out that you've taken a principled stand despite knowing you won't win.  Face reality.  But please, stop the whining when someone expresses a notion of futility toward today's 3rd party candidates.