Since writing on the election a few days ago, I discovered this article by Kevin DeYoung on
What Am I Doing When I Vote?
It's a good read, getting at the heart of the abstract disagreement between third party-ers and Romney supporters.
Last minute update: I also just saw this article by Joel Beeke - hadn't seen it before posting my thoughts, but we say much the same thing.
A couple thoughts:
Viability is a factor that must be weighed along with alternatives offered. In a state where Romney is a shoe-in or guaranteed to lose, I'd be very likely to vote Constitution party. In that case, my vote does something positive, without damaging the leading candidate's chance of winning. Regardless of the good intention, a third party vote's greatest effect is keeping a vote from the only guy who can beat Obama.
Measuring viability by statistics and polls is a sound policy. Polls can be off, but when it's 50-48-2, it's Quixotic to truly believe the guy getting 2 could win. Even given a miraculous revival begun by God yesterday, the 2% guy isn't winning. God does not exercise His sovereignty in this way. I admit that He HAS in some Biblical stories (2 Kings 6-7 comes to mind). But there He gives a promise of the coming miracle, and we must believe His promise against the perceived odds. We have no such promise and so no obligation to believe and vote third party. Polls today show a virtual tie in Virginia and nationally Romney has a tiny lead. This is one of those "every vote counts" races, as far as we can see ahead.
Since I'm already being controversial, try this thought experiment. Say Obama is one candidate, with his policies as they are, and the other candidate's policies involve China's one-child policy, forced sterilization and abortion for violators, open persecution of Christians, and government takeover of the oil industry. Obama opposes the first 3 of these 4 outright. Would you vote for Obama if there were no third party candidate on the ballot, if it was a 50-50 race in the polls? Can we vote against our beliefs to avoid downright catastrophe? I give this example to show that I understand the slippery slope argument. My third party friends pity me for being such a compromiser. Yes, I know we are being conditioned to tolerate greater and greater evil over time in an eroding culture. That does not force me to vote only for a Christian or constitutional candidate, if there is one. Involvement with co-belligerent allies is often more effective in cultural impact than casting a vote that reflects all my convictions.
This relates to the Hebrew midwives, or to hiding Jews from Nazis, in this way: the above board, "do the right thing in front of everyone" path, is not always the best or most godly option, especially in an unChristian culture. This point is often lost on Christian Reconstructionists, who are focused on what an ideal Christian state and culture should look like, and who may not be thinking practically about how to live and engage in THIS culture. "I must not lie to a Nazi or to Pharaoh, or the Jericho police (Rahab) regardless of the consequences" is analogous to, "I must not vote for a candidate who does not reflect my views regardless of the consequences." It is a stark contrast between doing what you can to save life and advance the good out there, versus making sure that what you yourself do is not wrong, regardless what ends up happening beyond you. Do we vote for a guy who has a chance of moving us toward more abortion restrictions, or against him because he favors some exceptions allowing abortion? An interesting clash of priorities.
This discussion also reflects a disagreement in assessing the adequacy of Romney's policies. One side sees him as little different than Obama, a virtual Pharaoh who needs to let the American people go. The other side sees him as a stark contrast of fiscal sanity to Obama, who will at least tap on our budgetary brakes.
I forgot last time to share this video with you, on the Virginian situation with Virgil Goode likely to tip VA to Obama. 6:30-9:05 is the relevant section.
Finally, my motivation for writing all this comes down to one thing:
Christian Romney voters should not feel guilty about voting for him, even though he is very flawed.
But... Romney is our best viable choice? This should be a wake up call to how our culture is sliding away from its Christian moorings. The church is decreasingly salt and light in our nation - woe upon us!