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A Rational Advocate
"The most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason"
VOTING ON PRINCIPLE
In general elections should a person vote for a candidate
or his party affiliation? There are various reasonable arguments that
can be proposed to justify voting in either manner. Perhaps it would
be well to look at the motivation for voting in general.
One would think the motivation would be to vote for someone who would act
in a manner, if elected, to advance those principles that would most closely
relate to those that the voter himself held. These principles providing
the basis on which the functioning of the government would result in providing
the benefits desired by the voter.
It then would stand that principles should be the primary consideration
in voting for a candidate. Of course, there are candidates who carry
a party label but whose position appears to deviate from the tenets of the
principles promoted by the party. It is in these unfortunate situations
that the voter must weigh whether the candidate will ever be able to be
effective in promoting their principles except for the fact he is affiliated
with the party that comes closest to representing their principles.
It thus should be obvious that a candidate diminishes the promotion of specific
principles if the party to which he is affiliated do not support those principles.
As an example, the Republican Party supports the principle of decentralizing
the power of government. That is reducing it at the federal level
by moving it to the local level. Whereas the Democratic Party believes
in maintaining and increasing power at the federal level. Depending
on where a voter stands on this principle should be important criteria in
determining his vote. To vote for a candidate whose party did not
support the principle desired would act to not provide the results that
the voter would like to see occur. Despite this simple rationale we
find people voting for the candidate rather than the principle usually because
insufficient attention is given to the principle that will provide the end
I have often heard voters say, “I vote for the candidate I feel can do
the best job”. This really doesn’t make much sense when it comes to
legislative and executive offices. To enable legislation that advances
the tenets of a principle requires the votes of a majority who support that
principle. Thus, it would be more rational to change their statement
to “ I vote for those candidates supported by the political party that comes
closest to promoting those principles in which I believe”.
Unfortunately many voters have not thought deeply enough to establish these
principles. Instead they vote for candidates who promise to provide
them with benefits whose costs they believe will not be borne by them.
If everyone votes in this manner we can never expect to have the type of
government that represents the basic principles that I believe the greater
majority of voters would truly like to see reflected in its operation.
I would suggest that voters would be best served by establishing the principles
that their beliefs embody and then voting for the candidate whose political
party comes closest to representing those principles. Placed in order
of consideration this should be primary followed by the merits of the candidate
as secondary. Voting on principle is essential to the realization
of a truly effective representative government