Thursday, July 21, 2016

Endorsements, Conscience, And Political Campaigns

     There’s been a lot of noise over Senator Ted Cruz’s speech of yesterday at the Republican National Convention. Much of the noise has been to the effect that Cruz “broke his promise to endorse the nominee.” But look what I found!

     I didn’t hear the word “endorse.” I heard the word support, which is not the same. One may support a candidate without granting him an endorsement. An endorsement is a positive affirmation of quality and fitness; in contrast, one may support the least of the evils, as Ann Coulter did in supporting Hillary Clinton over John McCain in 2008.

     Cruz made an impassioned plea for voters to “vote your conscience.” He exhorted them to vote, up and down the ticket, for candidates they can trust to defend freedom and the Constitution. Absolutely nothing in that strikes me as objectionable...because nothing about it is to any slightest degree different from what I would do – what I always do.

     Republican Party unity is at a low ebb. Many Republican diehards are unhappy about that, feeling as they do that the most important thing, the thing to be striven for at all costs, is to elect Republicans. They sense a threat from the Libertarian ticket, which is currently polling at about 10% and could be the deciding factor in November. Other minor parties could also have a disproportionate effect on the outcome, though the likelihood is considerably less.

     But will Republicans raised to federal offices improve on the performances of those there already? Some say yes, once there’s a Republican in the White House. But the matter admits of some doubt.

     Others have attacked Cruz personally as somehow insincere in his exhortations to “vote your conscience” and to vote for pro-freedom, pro-Constitution candidates. Why? Has he been an insincere promoter and defender of those things in the Senate? Doesn’t his record there entitle him to the benefit of the doubt?

     Political campaigns are becoming affairs where those of decent sensibilities refuse to go. No one is tolerant of a difference of opinion any longer. No one is willing to grant the other person’s sincerity or integrity. That can’t be good for the country.

     Worse, not only has the political polarization of America divided Left from Right with an impenetrable wall; it’s clearly invaded the GOP as well, further reducing the possibility of a restoration of Constitutional government. This is not a state of affairs that bodes well for the preservation of any particle of our badly battered freedoms...and it casts a shadow over the candidate best known for his personal aspersions upon his competitors.

     I shall echo Senator Cruz:

Vote your conscience...
if you vote at all.

     UPDATE: Hearken to the esteemed Ace of Spades to much the same effect.