John McCain has emerged as the front-runner of the GOP race for the presidency and by all accounts has gained the momentum to take the nomination. Conservatives are not happy and even pundits such as Hannity, who have vowed to not endorse a candidate, have come out in open opposition to McCain and endorsed Mitt Romney. Their opposition is not without valid concerns; most notably McCain’s willingness to compromise conservative positions and unwillingness to champion the conservative cause. The goal of conservatism is not to find a middle ground with liberals; No, it is to fight for our positions. McCain is not a conservative he is a compromiser. And, being a compromiser is worse than being a liberal, in the eyes of many conservatives. If McCain is elected he will be more able to compromise conservative principles than Hillary or Obama and better able to get liberal leaning republicans to vote liberally. While Hillary will have to overcome conservative and party opposition, McCain will be able to act as the conservative working with the liberals to get things done.
McCain’s supporters have taken the view that he has the best chance of winning in the general election. This assumption, however, relies entirely on the anti-democrat vote. McCain will find that this assumption is invalid because there are two types of conservative voter styles. First, there are the “vote for the most conservative candidate” types; and second, there are the “vote against the most liberal candidate” types. I wish I know how many conservative are the “vote against” vs. “vote for” types, but my guess is that there are far more like myself that are the ‘vote for’ types. I recently met a social conservative who switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat so he could vote against Hillary in the closed Florida Primary. This decision was driven by fear and not conviction. He will now change his affiliation back to Republican to vote against Hillary again in November even though his has missed the chance to add his voice with other conservatives to nominate the strongest conservative GOP candidate. In large numbers this strategy, what I believe is a strategy driven by fear, will be detrimental for the GOP because all conservative votes are needed in the party to ensure that the strongest conservative gains the nomination. Undeniably McCain can rely on the ‘vote against the most liberal candidate’ conservatives in November. McCain will rally their fears of what the world will look like given Hillary or Obama becoming president.
But what of the ‘vote for the most conservative candidate’ voters, such as myself? The ‘vote against’ voters are happy with even a candidate that is only slightly less liberal than another, while a ‘vote for’ voter is only satisfied with someone who represents their cause and will not compromise our positions as our so-called representative. We are not driven by fear but conviction in our principles which we do not want to see compromised by someone claiming to be one of our own. ‘Vote for’ types are no more happy with the less liberal candidate than the more liberal one. I say, the lesser of two evils is still evil and the lesser of two liberals is still liberal. I am not interested in voting against the more liberal if the alternative is also a liberal
At the end of the day those who vote for McCain have voted against conservatism by voting for a compromiser. I refuse to vote for a compromiser such as McCain, regardless what the liberal alternative is. Frankly, those who embrace the “vote for” mentality will not be motivated to support someone we do not support nor to vote for someone that does not represent our positions. I will be one of many conservatives that will stay at home and prays for the country on election day given the choice of “the lesser of two evil” because a prayer may help while a vote for either cannot.