For the past nine presidential elections – intentionally or unintentionally – I have stuck with one clear principle when I go to the voting booth: I do not vote for candidates but for policies.
From our 39th to our 44th commander in chief, I have not voted for men or, even, for parties – I have voted for issues. And in my life, I have never seen so many crucial issues, with such vast consequences, hanging in the balance as they are in the 2016 Presidential Election.
The issues, to anyone – especially a Christian – who has been following the course of our nation, should be fairly clear by now: the appointment of Supreme Court justices, the defense of religious liberty, the fight to protect the life of the unborn, our friendship with and support of Israel, the need for resolving racial tension, our national security, and the preservation of limited government and a free market.
These are the issues that matter to me this election, and I believe we should filter every voting decision we make through them. Yet the problem with this presidential election is that we have been so transfixed with the candidates that we have lost sight of what’s really on the ballot.
Whether it’s tax returns, email servers, Benghazi, or Tweets, we have spent the better part of this year hopping from one tantalizing headline to another instead of looking at how this election will affect not only our generation, but also generations to come. We have forgotten that this nation is much bigger than one man or woman.
The strong reactions to the presidential candidates are understandable. America has, perhaps in her modern history, never seen such a pair of unconventional people running for office. Yet we must not forget that, from George Washington to Barack Obama, no candidate has ever been perfect or fully acceptable. And at times when the candidates don’t measure to our precise measures and tastes, we must be able to see past the names on the ballot and into the underlying issues that really matter.
I would then suggest that if as Christians we see abstaining from voting as a better option than voting, then we are looking at this election the wrong way. This is not about our endorsing a person by our vote, but about using our vote to endorse the issues we care about. The goal is to elect someone who will represent and stand for us. We don’t vote for personality but for policy.