I cannot in good conscience vote for candidates who present themselves as “the lesser of two evils” for several reasons:
1) By voting for candidates just because they’re in our party, it moves our party away from what it claims to stand for.
2) Just voting against a Democrat encourages Republican candidates to benchmark themselves against their Democratic opponents. Our candidates only have to stand for slightly lower taxes (or even slightly lower taxes increases), smaller growths in spending, and “more sensible” regulation, as opposed to real tax reform, spending cuts and regulation reduction.
3) It gives an opening for wealthy vanity candidates vanity candidates to run, knowing that if they can just get past the primary, they can be a “mainstream” candidate with a floor of 30% of the vote.
The pre-eminent example of this currently is Larry Hogan:
1) He has refused, expressly, to stand for anything. The only strong stand he has made is his refusal to take strong stands. This is more than the normal evasive language from a squishy candidate. It is an express “No” on several issues.
2) Hogan is entirely insincere. After visiting the Beretta manufacturing facility, a facility that is shutting down because of Maryland’s new, absurdist gun law, and promising to fight for Maryland jobs, Hogan promised that he would not work to repeal that law. After the photo op, it didn’t matter.
LIkewise Hogan has blasted Gov. O’Malley’s cronyist economic policy, but Hogan’s economic plan is to put the right people in charge - that is, to swap out O’Malley cronies for Hogan cronies!
Finally, and the height of “saying anything to get elected”, Hogan has blasted Gov. O’Malley’s tax and fee increases over the last five years. It’s been his political raison d’etre. But once again, Hogan has not promised to do what his criticisms would suggest his plan was. Instead, his plan is to “review” Gov. O’Malley’s taxes and fee increases to find out which ones if any to revise or end.
3) Larry Hogan will make the failures of Maryland Democrats bi-partisan, and Republicans will share the blame for the disastrous policies of Maryland Democrats. The only fights Hogan has been willing to take on are from the Right. He has rejected core tenets of the Republican Party. While he has criticized the O’Malley/Brown administration, he has also made clear he has no intention of dismantling it, reversing it, or stopping it. He has promised that it will be nothing more than a gradual slow-down of the policies of Maryland Democrats.
Since he is unwilling to fight on Conservative principles now, (and has in fact rejected several) why would he govern conservatively?
A vote for Larry Hogan is a vote to accept the blame for the failures of Maryland Democrats and O’Malley/Brown. It is not a vote to replace them.
However, this is not a call for purism. Candidates who will actually advance the cause of liberty but who are not completely in sync with that cause should be supported when there is no superior option. The greatest failing of the Liberty movement is the insistence that every candidate support every tenet of the individual challenging them. Just like every vote for a Republican who rejects the Republican platform move the party away from the platform, every vote for a candidate who leans towards liberty is a vote to move the party closer to freedom.