A Specific Voting Question

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this, so I’ll try here. Apologies in advance if I’m in the wrong category.

Here’s my specific voting question, which pertains to this year’s U.S. Presidential Election.

I live in a state that is going to vote for Romney very heavily. I don’t think a Republican has lost in our state, in the Presidential Election, since Lyndon Johnson was elected. My home state is very heavily Republican. The Democratic Party is, for all practical purposes, dead here.

I would not vote for President Obama as I find his stance on homosexual “marriages” and on abortion are such that I cannot do so in good conscience. I accept that is the case. I’d be much less bothered by his stances on many other things, but I cannot possibly get around those.

However, I do not want to vote for Romney. This state has a very high percentage of Mormons and as I a result I am very familiar with that religion. It’s polytheistic, contains obvious errors in its basic faith text, highly aggressive, and with its young members, it behaves in a pattern which is very cult like (those who would feel that too harsh should look into how Mormon Missionaries are governed in conduct). Frankly, while there should not be a religious litmus test in public life, a voter is entitled to take into condition a person’s basic beliefs, and Mormonism scares me.

In this election, it seems to be the case that many Catholic voters are faced with a choice between a person who claims to be a self confessed Christian whose principals are not in enlightenment with our, with a VP who is a Catholic but is publicly at odds with our values, and a non Christian whose faith would be downright scary to most knowledgeable Christians with a VP candidate who is also a Catholic. Most sincere Catholics, therefore, feel they have to vote for Romney.

In my state, the state is going for Romney no matter what.

Therefore, am I free to abstain from voting in the Presidential election or, if there’s a suitable 3d party, to vote for that party in protest? I really am not morally comfortable with voting for a Mormon President, as bigoted as that no doubt seems and maybe is, if I can avoid it.

Why would you abstain from voting when men and women have died so you can have the right to vote? Vote on the issues and disregard the religion of both candidates. JFK was a beloved President in this country and was the first and only Catholic elected President.\

IMO, voting for a 3rd candidate is a wasted vote because they have zero chance of winning.

I agree. Hold your nose and vote for the least objectionable candidate, after considering their POV on the issues, whether that be one of the two major party candidates or a third party candidate.

It does not matter from a moral standpoint if you end up voting for a sure loser (in your state).

Many people have died to give you the right to vote.

There is voting info on this site on how to vote as a Catholic…it can be of help.

My first choice would not have been Romney, either, but considering the alternative, there is little choice. Every vote against Obama will show the world that we recognize that we need a true American leader, not a big government caretaker. We need someone who recognizes the value of each human life, and allows that life to exist with dignity.

I disagree. Voting for a 3rd party candidate that has no chance of winning this election does raise awareness and generate support for that candidate/party in future elections. Despite what you hear about the gravity of the upcoming election, the chances are very good that there will be elections after this one. And as the OP said, Romney is going to take his state anyway, so you may very well be doing more good by voting for a candidate that is better than Romney. Voting for Romney in that state is actually throwing your vote away, even if you prefer Romney over Obama.

This election is very very important for even “religious freedom”

I assume you are talking about Ryan here, so I’d like to know what values he is at odds with and why.

As far as voting for a 3rd party candidate, that’s was the subject of an analysis four years ago:

… Two people [will] have received the nomination of their political parties for the office of President of the United States. One of them will be elected to that office. For which one do you cast your vote?

It’s at this point that I’m usually bombarded with objections that “principles matter most” and “we need to send a message” to the powers-that-be because they chose the wrong person to head the ticket. Add to this the particulars of the 2008 election cycle where now “religion matters” (at least, having the correct religion matters), the number of wives one had (and how they divorced the previous ones) matters, and the protection of the Constitution (as viewed and interpreted by the Constitution’s self-appointed protectors) matters, and we have all the makings of a supposedly practical-philosophical counter-argument. “I won’t vote for that SOB because [fill in the 2008 particulars], and doing so will show the world that principles matter most as I send a message to Washington.”

Exactly what kind of a “statement” is made by abandoning a party that rejected your primary candidate to form a third party effort that is automatically doomed to failure? Reagan lost his bid for the GOP nomination in 1976 with a lot more support than Ron Paul will ever receive. Rather than bolt and undertake a useless electoral exercise, he stayed and transformed the Republican party. Wallace bolted in ’68 and ’72 and helped elect a different party. Anderson in ’80, Perot in ’92, and Nader in 2000 all helped produce a similar outcome. The fact that I liked some of these outcomes is meaningless political analysis. The question isn’t whether a third party will help or hurt the Democrats or Republicans. We know that answer is yes, with the only question “which party” in “which year” for “which one-time historical reason”? The real question is what exactly did a Nader voter do to advance the Nader platform by going 3rd party instead of continuing to fight within the Democrat or Republican parties. And the same question applies to Wallace, Anderson, Perot, and all of the other third party losers throughout American history.

Voting for a third party candidate serves only one practical, immediate purpose, and that is to help elect someone even more antithetical to your beliefs. America does not have a parliamentary system, so pretending that it does to justify a third party vote is just plain silly. Moreover, Presidential elections are about the next four years, not the next fifty. Voting third party in 2008 to influence the vote in 2020, 2032, or 2052 isn’t just silly, it’s downright ignorant. Electing a candidate in 2008 can certainly influence future elections, though the farther out in time the more difficult it is to sustain that influence without repeated additional reinforcement (that is, additional electoral victories of like-minded candidates). Voting for the New Vegetarian party in 2008 with an eye toward shaping policy in 2009, let alone 2020, is the height of personal hubris. Kooks are routinely ignored, not incorporated into policy making; that is, unless that kook is a billionaire or holds a position of already-established influence. Moreover, these kinds of kooks tend to work within the two-party structure, which is why George Soros and Moveon.org are taking over the Democrat political machine instead of building a new one from scratch.

Like it or not, the American political system has evolved to a point today where only two parties have a viable opportunity to win a national election.


If a 3rd party candidate does well enough, he will likely just have a “spoiler effect” on the outcome of the election. Very rarely does that candidate/party garner additional support in future elections. And the last time a 3rd party candidate won a state was in 1968.

%between%In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt made a spirited run for the presidency on the Progressive Party ticket, but he never made any efforts to help Progressive congressional candidates in 1914, and in the 1916 election, he supported the Republicans.

Ross Perot (who, arguably, cost Bush/Quayle the 1992 election by winning 18.9% of the popular vote – but no electoral votes) eventually founded a third party, the Reform Party, to support his 1996 campaign (in which he won only 8% of the popular vote). That said, after Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998, the Reform Party has been torn by infighting and disagreements.

The “person who claims to be a self confessed Christian whose principals are not in enlightenment with ours” refers to Obama.

The “VP who is a Catholic but is publicly at odds with our values” refers to Biden.

The “non Christian whose faith would be downright scary to most knowledgeable Christians” refers to Romney.

The “VP candidate who is also a Catholic” is what refers to Ryan.

Mormons would disagree with you since they call their church the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. According to Wikipedia, “Mormonism is a form of Christian primitivism that shares a common set of beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including use of, and belief in, the Bible, as well as other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.” I will agree they are way out in Christianity’s left field so to speak, but they still consider themselves Christians, so I defer to their beliefs. You can see why your post caused some confusion.

That said, I think your fears about Romney’s Mormonism has about as much foundation as Al Smith’s Catholicism.

I think you have to vote your conciense…non of us have the right to tell you what that is.

I have run into this with what if both parties in an election are NOT pro-life? In this case I do not agree with the “lessor” evil theory. The Church tells us if both parties support intrinsic evil (such as abortion), then we are ok to not vote for either.

I don’t think this is the case. It says we can consider secondary issues.

I think, before you judge a candidate based on his professed religious belief, you should consider what impact that candidate’s religion has on his politics. Romney was “pro-choice” for YEARS. To me, that is such a clear-cut ethical issue where he was publicly against the Mormon position on life that I don’t believe Romney’s Mormonism has any impact on his politics. So I wouldn’t worry about the Mormon thing, if I were you.

No, that referred to Biden. Sorry.

I think this is the widespread view, but the Mormons are a polytheistic religion, not a form of Christianity. Mormons believe in many Gods, not just one and believe that Mormon male believers can go on to be gods themselves. This isn’t just my view, fwiw. Jimmy Akin, in a recent Catholic Answers forum, pretty much defined my concerns, much more articulately, noting that they were a polytheistic religion.

I hope I am as off base as those who feared Smith’s Catholicism were. And, I suppose, I suppose I also hope that if Romney is elected, his presidency would have the same culturally diluting effect on Mormonism that JFK’s had on Catholicism (I don’t think JFK’s presidency did us Catholic’s many favors). But, as noted, I live in the Mormon region where Mormons are very common, and not a novelty. They’re a highly aggressive proselytizing religion with cultural attributes that are very unique. Their handling alone of how their young people on missions is done would give pause to most who aren’t Mormon.

I’m aware that all this sounds, and perhaps is, bigoted. I don’t fear that Romney is going to convert the nation to Mormonism, however, and perhaps that’s the point. That point would, by extension, argue that no religion should be considered, but the moral values that may reflect themselves in legislation should be, and I guess I can’t argue with that at all. That’s a good reason to vote for Romeny.

On 3d parties, one thing I’ve wondered for some time is that if we are not to cast our votes for 3d parties, if we are in an area where every vote will in fact not be critical (and is many areas they are critical) how can any 3d party ever get any recognition? Wouldn’t that effectively forever preserve two parties under all circumstances?

Your concerns are appropriate. I hope the following article helps:



Why automatically assume that a 3rd party should get recognition? As Dr. Jackson pointed out, we are not a parliamentary system; ours has grown into a two party system for better or worse. That doesn’t mean that a new party can’t emerge or an old one can’t cease. Both have happened in the past: e.g., the Republicans replaced the Whigs. Perhaps it depends on which issues attract the most members.

Please don’t bring this stuff in here.

It is bad enough that for the last year the world news forum has been saturated with the American election.


The last year? We’ve been deluged for the last four years, and the day after the next election, the news will start speculating on who will be elected in 2016.

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