Mitt Romney: Lesser Of Two Evils?

Since the Republican Presidential primaries I have heard many conservatives threatening to withhold their vote from Mitt Romney in the November election, either because he is not conservative enough or simply because he is not Ron Paul.  Such sentiments are typically based upon principle alone, or else sending some sort of message to the “establishment.”  I fear that this sentiment is, as the wise man once said, allowing the perfect to become the enemy of the good.

Doug Wilson is among those not voting for President this November.  His reasons appear to be entirely theological.  I gather this has something to do with Wilson’s Theonomy, but I don’t fully understand his arguments, so I won’t attempt to respond here.  One thing that stood out to me, though, was a comment Wilson made in a previous post that he would pray that Obama loses the election (for many reasons, which can all be found here).  Then one commenter by the name of Eric Stampher echoed this sentiment, saying,

What’s wrong with a litmus test?

Abortion = dealbreaker #1, yes?

Where does Romney stand?
If he promises to protect abortion in any way, I’m out. I’ll write somebody else in.

Should God allow Romney in, I’ll thank Him at least He took Obama out so presumably fewer babies get whacked.

Now, if this doesn’t cause you some confusion, I’ll be surprised.  On the one hand this fellow will not vote for Romney, but on the other he will thank God if Romney wins?  I can see no sense in this.  Yet, while every Romney “protestor” I have spoken to may not share Wilson’s theological conviction, or Eric’s concern for abortion, the logic of abstaining from the vote is the same.  My response has been, and remains, simple:  The only end that conservative voter abstinence will achieve is a second Obama term.

Short of a massive meteor strike in the Western hemisphere, the untimely death of one of the candidates, or (and we can only hope) the Congress suddenly deciding to return our national sovereignty to the Queen before November, one of these two men will in fact be President come 2013.  It is as certain as anything can be in this life.  There is no third outcome.  A small minority writing in Ron Paul’s name at the voting booth will not make him an actual possibility.  That said, which of the two viable candidates is more likely to benefit from such a third party write-in?  That would be President Obama.  A write-in vote is a de facto vote for The current President if ever there was one.  This is simply the reality of the current election.

What I like about Eric’s comment is that it crystallizes this line of reasoning by focusing on the single issue of abortion.  Eric’s goal, it seems, is to ensure the safety of the greatest possible number of unborn human lives.  By his own admission, he believes President Obama’s reelection would result in a greater number of unborn deaths (due to the President’s aggressive pro-choice policies, the HHS contraceptive mandate, etc).  Thus the outcome that Eric presumably wants in this election is a Romney win.  Yet he will not act to make it happen because Romney might not be as stridently pro-life as Eric believes is ideal.  If that does not capture what it means for the perfect to be the enemy of the good, nothing can.

There is another side to this, of course.  I sympathize with those who are fed up with the current system, but the time to show Romney and those like him that Republicans are no longer willing to settle for the big-spending, moderate status quo was the primary season.  In 2010, the Tea Party movement and the conservative base in general showed the status quo that its days of representing conservatism were numbered by ousting the moderate and incumbant Republican candidates in the primaries.  Obviously that kind of strong, principled, grassroots conservatism can and does work, and the Ron Paul people (and others like them) should not give up, take their toys, and go home.  They must keep at it, fighting the good fight where and when it counts.  Giving the country back to President Obama for four more years, however, is simply the least effective and most damaging way to “stick it to the establishment.”  One further thought on this:  abstaining in protest from a system that you disagree with, whether for purely political or religious reasons, doesn’t make sense when the system is built precisely to give you the power to change it.

As for the title of this post, I have heard it said that a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.  This may be true, but in light of what has been said I make two observations.  First, would you pray for God to bring about evil?  Would you thank God when evil occurs?  If not, why would you pray against President’s Obama’s reelection, and be thankful if Romney defeats him?  Second, I believe Eric once again helps to put this into perspective.  Is it truly evil for the HHS mandate to be repealed and for Catholic and other institutions to remain free to act with their consciences on contraceptive matters?  Clearly not, and yet Romney has vowed to repeal it.  Thus a vote for Romney is not simply a “vote for evil.”

This is not a political argument against President Obama or for Mitt Romney.  Rather, it is merely an appeal to those who believe strongly that President Obama must go, but are unhappy with the Republican nominee.  Do not let that unattainable perfect become the enemy of the good.

Published by

David Nilsen

David graduated from Biola University in 2008, with a B.A. in Philosophy. He studied Historical Theology for three years at Westminster Seminary in California (his essays on Theology, Church History and Eastern Orthodoxy can be found here). David has been blogging about Philosophy, Politics and Culture since 2004. He has contributed to The White Horse Inn and The Gospel Coalition. You can also follow him on Twitter.

  • desparado

    The democrats aren’t running a member of a heathen cult that supported Abortion and SSM right up to the point he didn’t, which took over a decade.
    The Democrats aren’t trying to abolish Medicare which by the way is not an entitlement we paid for it. It would cost the Government nothing to run it , but they took OUR Medicare money and spent it! Now it hurts to pay us back tough they can take a pay cut to help pay it back. The day that the rich keep taking food out of the working mans mouth and buy 100 million dollar IRA is coming to a stop! If a man hates or mistrusts the USA so much he keeps his money off shore he doesn’t deserve to be president!

  • LaTonja Simpson

    Is this a Christian Blog? I ask because I just found this page and in reading the above post by David Nilsen it sound more like a secular post. Christians in America, more than anything, hurt God because of their lack of faith and trust in him. From what I am hearing and reading it seems more important to get President Obama out of office (from day one) for not supporting the Christian agenda here on earth, than it is to keep Mitt Romney (who is a Mormon and doesn’t believe in the same God as Christians, but believes that one day he will be a god) from obtaining his goal of becoming President. The Mormon faith is an offense to God and why would Christians support that? I would think that your first duty would be to God (he has the power to save every unborn child and marriage as he ordained it. He doesn’t need the Christians help). What God wants’ is for Christians to lift him up among men, worship him only, and spread the word that he loves us and he will again be returning for his church.

    Long ago those who called themselves Christians got the idea that they could make those they felt were not Christians convert by force and later by laws. Passing a law to keep someone from having an abortion or getting married to someone of the same sex doesn’t help them understand they need Christ. If Christians would do what God and Christ have asked us to do by going out and taking his gospel to the world and being like Christ there would be no need for these laws.

    Why is it that the Evangelical Christian’s only have two platforms (abortion and marriage) when there are so many other Christ like issues that should be taken up (homelessness, hunger, hate, pride, murder, sexual immorality, etc.).

    What does it say about Christians who prefer a non-Christian (The Christian church teaches that the Mormon faith is a cult) over a Christian as the leader of the USA. How do you tell someone who is looking for answers that God is the way when they see you have no faith in that God and have forsaken the God you say you love?
    This election year will be a test for Christians and the whole world will be watching. We have to make sure we pass God’s test.

    A. Christian
    B. Cult

    Knowledge is Power. Learn from your history.

  • Mackman

    Just a couple thoughts on this: You say that “God has the power to save every unborn child and marriage as he ordained it, he doesn’t need Christians’ help.” You seem to use this as a rationale for not focusing so strongly on these issues, because God will work it out anyway in the end.

    However, couldn’t that rationale work equally well with your insistence that we should back Obama? Or the other issues you say Christians should take up? (I agree with you that we should take them up, btw.)

    If we shouldn’t strive to prevent abortions because “God doesn’t need our help,” why should we strive to put a Christian into office, or alleviate poverty, or push back against hate and immorality? Surely God doesn’t “need” our help in those areas either?

  • Harry Lime

    Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

    Evangelicals believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

    Evangelicals believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Evangelicals believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

    Evangelicals believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

    Evangelicals believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

    Evangelicals believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

    Evangelicals believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Four primary characteristics of evangelicalism are:

    ● Conversionism—the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life-long process of following Jesus;

    ● Activism—the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts;

    ● Biblicism—a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority; and

    ● Crucicentrism—a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity.

    Mormons do not believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. Rather, Mormons are certain that the Bible is not the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. Mormonism cannot be reconciled with Evangelicalism. If we are only willing to see what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has put in front of us, the Romney Offshore Mormon Money Machine is selectively eviscerating Christian public figures, with no apparent motive other than showing Christians who wears the pants in this partnership. What else does the Todd Akin thing amount to?

    Akin is the Romney cult’s Azâzêl goat.

  • David Nilsen

    Harry, there is no question that the theological divide between evangelicals and Mormons is massive and cannot possibly be bridged. But no one is calling for a merging of churches. We must vote for a President who will affect public policies and laws, and who will protect cherished rights, especially religious liberty.

    As Mike Huckabee said in his RNC speech, there is only ONE evangelical in this race, President Obama, and he is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc. When voting for a politician, it makes no sense to vote for someone who is against you on almost every important issue simply because you prefer his denomination.

  • Fernando Guizar Rojas

    Doug Wilson is a historical revisionist, a slavery apologist, and blames rape on women being disobedient. I don’t care who he’s voting for.

  • Tom the Baptist

    We should embrace Mormons as our brethren in Christ….they stand against evil in this world and live the gospel. The Savior said, “By their fruits ye shall know them”. You don’t have to agree with every tenant of their religion to embrace them as our brethren. How is it exactly that they are an offense to God? That is an ignorant statement and unsupported biblically.

  • Tom the Baptist

    Your opinion on what Mormons believe is not accurate. We should except Mormons as our brethren in Christ. Every Mormon that I know absolutely regards the bible as inspired. A recent study showed that Evangelicals could not tell the difference between quotes from the Book of Mormon and the bible.

  • David Nilsen

    Tom, regarding the Bible as inspired doesn’t really mean much when you deny the Trinity and the eternal preexistence of the Son, as Mormons do. Also, pointing to a study that shows that Evangelicals are ignorant of their own Bible doesn’t show that Mormonism is the same as Christianity, it merely shows that our “sunday schools” our failing.

  • David Nilsen

    Some atheists and Muslims also stand against evils in this world, such as abortion. That does not mean we should embrace them as brethren in Christ.