North Carolina Voter Guide for 2016

Voting sign

It seems like every election someone asks me to write a voter guide, so I finally decided to put one together this year. Since I and many of my readers live in North Carolina, I’ll be focusing on statewide races at both the federal and state levels. Even if you are choosing to abstain from supporting either major-party presidential candidate, as I am, voting in down-ballot races is a very important way to shape our legal system and seek the best interests of our neighbors. At the state level, races for governor, lieutenant governor, judges, etc. have very real effects on areas like education, law enforcement, and taxes, while, at the federal level, having solid representatives in the Senate and House is one critical way to rein in whichever presidential candidate we end up with.

Since I write on both theology and politics, I ought to take a moment here to make an important distinction. What follows is not intended to be a guide to how a Christian “has to vote.” As Christians, we each have a responsibility to wisely and prayerfully consider biblical principles in combination with practical experience in order to determine how we ought to exercise the little bit of political power which is our vote. Personally, I believe that limited government, rule of law, and free markets are the best way to achieve the good of my neighbor, so I describe myself as politically conservative and I usually end up voting Republican. But I try to make sure my political loyalties are conclusions I reach, not premises from which I start. If you have similar political views, I hope you’ll find this guide useful.

Keep reading…

The Presidential Election Is Not a Binary Choice

Clinton and Trump faces

In honor of Monday night’s presidential debate, about which I shared a few thoughts here, I wanted to consider a common argument for voting for Donald Trump. (It actually works equally well as a case for voting for Hillary Clinton if you’re a liberal, but being on the conservative side of things I personally hear it being used to argue for voting for Trump.) It is the idea of the “binary choice”: If you are not voting for X, that effectively means you are voting for Y. If you are a conservative, not voting for Trump is the same as voting for Hillary. If you are a liberal, not voting for Hillary is the same as voting for Trump.

Since I am politically conservative and agree that Trump would probably be a “less bad” president than Clinton, the binary-choice argument is somewhat compelling. However, ultimately it has a fatal flaw.

Keep reading…

Never Trump. Never Clinton. Never Despair.

Trump and Clintons

You may have noticed I’m not a huge fan of either of the major-party presidential candidates this year. It’s always tempting to shout “Worst ever!” but a strong case could be made that this year’s election really does feature the most toxic combination of options in American history. And you should care about that whether or you are naturally “political,” because the presidency influences the country in a thousand ways, from the policies that are made to the example that is set.

That’s why I created a petition on Saturday in a last-ditch effort to give American voters an option other than Trump v. Clinton. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment, because I really hope you will go sign it and share it with your friends. But first, I want to share why I am not worried about the fate of that petition, nor about the outcome of the presidential election. There is a broader principle here that is helpful when dealing with the setbacks that come with being “in the world, but not of it.”

Keep reading…

The Supreme Court Is Not Enough to Justify Voting for Trump

Donald Trump

As far as I can tell, the unofficial slogan of Trump 2016 is “Trump is awful, but SCOTUS.” When I talk with conservative friends who are debating whether they can bring themselves to vote for him—which is most of them—Supreme Court nominations are invariably among the first things they mention. And it is not an insignificant point. The prospect of Hillary Clinton appointing the replacement for Justice Scalia, and perhaps another justice or two, is appalling. If Clinton wins this election she will be in a position to shift the court significantly leftward for a generation, and that prospect is among the most compelling reasons for an “anybody but Hillary” vote, even if that “anybody” is an immature con man with dictatorial instincts.

Because (a) I think this is a compelling argument and (b) I remain firmly in the #NeverTrump camp, I wanted to explain why I don’t believe Supreme Court nominations are a good enough reason to vote for Donald Trump.

Keep reading…