Scott Tibbs

Voting for and against politicians

By Scott Tibbs, August 27, 2020

Politics is as much about the things we are against as the things we are for. If I am for lower taxes, I am against high taxes. If I am for private property rights, I am against overly restrictive land-use regulations. That includes supporting and opposing candidates for office. I could go on, but you get my point.

I see tens of millions of people who voted for Donald Trump lambasted as cowards or compromisers by people in the conservative intelligentsia who see themselves as our betters. But are they cowards or compromisers? Every election is a choice between two sides. Millions of people voted for Trump despite his character flaws and questions about his commitment to conservative principles simply because he was not Hillary Clinton. This year, tens of millions of people will vote for Joe Biden because he is not Trump.

People have always voted against candidates, even if that means voting for a candidate they do not like very much. This is not an abandonment of principle. It is an endorsement of principle. If you believe that a candidate is going to be very destructive to causes you hold dear, you may vote for his opponent simply to stop that candidate's agenda. Elections are always a choice, and that choice is never between pure good and pure bad. Sometimes the choice is a lot more complicated than we want to admit.

We do not have to agree with a choice to vote purely against someone to understand that choice, and to believe that people made that choice in good faith - especially if it is someone we know. It would make our lives and relationships better if that was our basic orientation.

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