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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 result desired.

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

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