So far this election cycle has been a tumultuous if not a divisive one for Christians. Not only is there the usual consternation between those who would be labeled Social Justice Warriors and the others who are more traditional, but within the Republican nomination process there have been stark divisions arise between some evangelicals as well.
When the Republican field was broad and names like Huckabee and Carson still remained as choices, Christians could afford to be very nuanced in their decision about who they wanted to be the Party representative. As the field narrowed to essentially two candidates though, a stark contrast emerged. Donald Trump seemed for some to be a patriotic and nationalist candidate who “said it like it is” and “stuck it to the PC crowd”, while Ted Cruz was a straight up Constitutional Traditionalist with the added bonus of displaying his conservative, Christian values in public.
Both candidates had broad appeal but Cruz, who seemed to be the clear choice for Evangelicals, could not produce the votes needed to stop Trump who, oddly enough, picked up several Christian votes and endorsements along the way. Many of the Christians who voted for Cruz though, consider themselves purists for several reasons and vow #neverTrump, meaning they’ll either stay at home or they’ll vote 3rd party.
As the results became more clear though, Trump supporters began their campaign to reel in those puritans by using one major tactic. The gig was up but the puritans vow of Trump-celibacy was a perceived problem for all of us, they suggested. Trump supporters tried to show that if they can’t attract conservative votes in key states, Trump may face an insurmountable challenge in the November election. Their conclusion; Hillary Clinton would be President and the blame would be on the #neverTrumpers, they murmured.
So, the accusation disguised as a real argument is simply stated by the Trump faithful.
“A vote against Trump is a vote for Hillary!” That is your only choice, they declare.
There are some fundamental problems with their logic though. One of those tiny things that they leave out is the Electoral College.
The fact is, the states choose the President, not the majority vote. Your vote does not choose the President. Why? Because we are not a Democracy. The Founders knew that democracies devolve into authoritarian style governments easily so laid the foundations of our Republic based upon the powers of the states.
It was a wise move that many modern Americans don’t understand and even dislike, which is a product of years of Government schools and in our case, Reconstruction.
“Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths… A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” – James Madison4
Your vote is merely one of the determining factors used by the state in which you live to cast its electoral votes for the President. That’s all. Depending on the political leanings of your particular state, your vote may be of little consequence as far as its electoral votes.
For example: in the state where I live, Tennessee, it will likely go 60-70% for Trump in the General Election. That gives me the freedom to not worry about who is going to win and simply vote my conscience without any concern for the rhetoric- “A vote against Trump is a vote for Hillary”. In my case, that statement is not only logically false, it’s false by any sense of the imagination. I can vote Constitution Party and have no effect whatsoever on my states choice of who it will cast its electoral votes.
Furthermore, as a Jeffersonian, I’d like to take the time to point out that all we are doing is merely electing the Executive of the General Government. He is not the king. He is not even Prime Minister. God knows that he is not our savior! He is one part of three equal branches of a General Government in which the powers enumerated to them by the states through their ratification of the Constitution are limited, separate and equal.
Ours is a system of government, compounded of the separate governments of the several States composing the Union, and of one common government of all its members, called the government of the United States. The former preceded the latter, which was created by their agency. Each was framed by written constitutions; those of the several States by the people of each, acting separately, and in their sovereign character; and that of the United States, by the same, acting in the same character, but jointly instead of separately. All were formed on the same model. They all divide the powers of government into legislative, executive, and judicial; and are founded on the great principle of the responsibility of the rulers to the ruled–John Calhoun
As voters in the modern era, it’s easy to forget that the most important duty of the Executive is his role as Commander in Chief. His role is Constitutionally limited throughout. He is not the Chief Economist or Judge of the Nation. He should do little to unilaterally influence change in America although his character should represent what’s great about the Republic and follow the Washington model of handing power back to the people.
An important role he does play is nominating Supreme Court Justices BUT, and that’s a big BUT, he does so only with approval of the Senate! The Executive does not choose who gets to be on the Supreme Court. He merely nominates them. A sturdy Senate should reject any Justice that is not a strict Constructionist or Originalist.
The President and Vice-President are chosen by electors, appointed by their respective States; and, finally, the judges are appointed by the President and the Senate; and, of course, as these are elected by the States, they are appointed through their agency.-John Calhoun
That is why the elections of US Senators and Congressmen are much more important than that of the Executive (President). That’s also why it’s so disheartening to have such limp-wristed Senators as we do. They have essentially sold out the Republic for power and pension. If there were a political revolution, and I believe we are in one, it should begin in the Senate. If Evangelicals want to revolt, they should run real conservatives in place of the wishy washy, scoundrels that populate the Senate who have compromised that branch of the government, muddily merging it into a part of the President’s Cabinet for all intents and purposes. They have become a rubber-stamp of the Executive to the detriment of the people.
This is a result, in my opinion, of the great power grab of Lincoln (a Republican), stealing power from the states and in turn, the people. It’s also evidence to those willing to consider it, that the Grand Ole Party which has shown itself to be of this ilk, is the conservative party by name only. The party of Lincoln has changed little in 150 years and remains a progressive party, only playing the appeasers of true conservatism from time to time, always acquiescing to progressivism in the end.
“… This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition”.-Robert Lewis Dabney
Dr. Dabney’s words would be prophetic if it weren’t that he lived through the fulfillment and his Presbyterian Theology wouldn’t allow that extra-revelatory doctrine to be applied to himself.
As important as all of that is to remember though, that’s not my only concern. I’d like to set those things aside for a moment and look at this idea of voting against Trump is in effect voting for Hillary and asking the Question-Do Christians have a choice when it comes to voting?
Unfortunately, it will have to wait until tomorrow.
4 (Federalist Papers, the McClean Edition, Federalist Paper #10, page 81, 1788)
 Lossing, B. (Ed.). (n.d.). Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History (Vol. 2, p. 23). Medford, MA: Perseus Digital Library.
 Lossing, B. (Ed.). (n.d.). Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History (Vol. 2, p. 32). Medford, MA: Perseus Digital Library.
 Dabney, R. L. (1897). Discussions by Robert Lewis Dabney: Secular. (C. R. Vaughan, Ed.) (Vol. 4, p. 496). Mexico, MO: Crescent Book House.