I'm sure many of you are still sorting through your feelings and the range of emotions from Tuesday's outcome. For me, I've sat here this morning thinking back to the early stages of the political process like the primary season.
MY ELECTION POST MORTEM
I wondered aloud, Where do I go from here politically? Yes, I'm registered as a Republican, but as I've told family and friends numerous times before, I don't simply vote along party lines and I would definitely vote for a Democrat. The only problem with that is that I don't see a day any time soon when a Democrat will come along whose voting record and principles will be in accordance with my own.
More importantly, I'm a Christian first and while I recognize the need to avoid what is commonly referred to as Dominionism I still must vote according to the Constitution, which I know is based on basic Christian principles to begin with despite what others try to tell us about the myth of "separation of church and state." Thus, I will continue to vote my values, my conscience.
TAKING IT ALL IN
This election cycle was interesting to say the least. It began with my excitement for and support of Mike Huckabee who is an authentic Christian conservative. Looking back, I can certainly identify (to an extent) with other people my age who found themselves euphoric over a candidate except that they found themselves in the Obama camp instead. Still, I never looked at a guy like Huckabee as a clut-like leader (because I know that politician, political party, government will save me; only Jesus Christ can do that). It was refreshing to see someone in the political arena who wasn't ashamed of his "unpopular" beliefs let alone his Christianity. I marveled at his confidence and boldness in Christ with those who attempted to attack his Lord and Savior. More on that later.
After a long process, we were given our choices, and I shared with you the reasons why I was in support of Chuck Baldwin mainly because I believed the Republican Party got it wrong. Now that it's all over, how did the third party candidates fare on Election Day? Well, not as good as their supporters like me had hoped. That's not to say that I expected one of them to win the presidency, but I did expect more support from voters. And so the more things change, the more they stay the same.
A LOOK BACK: HINDSIGHT IS DEFINITELY 20/20
During the presidential campaign, as well as on election night, the major media generally ignored the third-party candidates who threw their hats into the presidential ring. These largely ignored candidates, none of whom attained 1% of the vote, included:
Independent Ralph Nader (667,000 votes; 0.5%)
Libertarian Party's Bob Barr (494,000 votes; 0.4%)
Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin (178,000 votes; 0.1%)
Green Party's Cynthia McKinney (144,000 votes; 0.1%)
Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul got 2.2% of the vote in Montana, despite the fact that he did not run for president in the general election and asked that his name be removed from the ballot. He also got 0.5% of the vote in Louisiana.
So, what to make of these results and where do we go from here? Sadly, it wasn't just the third-party candidates that got ignored or who received the short end of the stick.
Since Election Day there's been a lot of talk about the Republican Party returning to their roots or, about how the American people should attempt to form another viable third party that could truly compete with the Big Two. Cal Thomas also discussed how this is the end of the Religious Right as it's known in politics.
Personally, I just think Republicans need to return to their core principles and they need to remember their base as well. Let's face it, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee - both Republicans - would've been a much better choice to run against Obama than McCain was. Ok, maybe not Ron Paul, but certainly Mike Hukabee.
In the end, they received a raw deal by the media and the party's powers-that-be, since both of these men generated a ton of interest early in the primary season (Huckabee actually maintained it and finished second to John McCain despite the media and a purse that was significantly less than Mitt Romney's or even Rudy Giuliani's millions! What does that tell you?), and yet both were treated as outcasts and radicals.
That got me thinking back to the primary season. Specifically, I went back and revisited the Huckabee campaign and his surge in popularity when all the major conservative talking heads were pushing anyone but him. That's when I recalled the day that changed everything and finally put John McCain on the fast track to the party's nomination. I give you the following video:
Looking back it all became quite clear! Mike Huckabee was the only choice for true conservative voters especially when Mitt Romney dropped out of the running just before this controversial event. He would've made a strong case to the American people by having a plan to take us from the brink of financial ruin with the implementation of the Fair Tax, by having a plan to take us from the brink of foreign crisis by making sure we won the war on terror and defeated our enemies, and by having a plan to take us from the brink of moral collapse by returning traditional family values to our nation's leadership.
What did we get? A minor conspiracy fostered by our own party leaders when it came to Washington State as evidenced by the video clip above. Despite the Huckabee campaign's charges and legal attempts to rectify the situation, the result remained intact - McCain wins Washington State by the slimmest of margins after only 87% of the precincts were counted. Had Huckabee won Washington State that would've given him 3 highly unlikely and unexpected victories in a row, and probably more publicity, more funding, more momentum, and perhaps even clear sailing the rest of the way.
As mentioned, Washington State Party Chairman, Luke Esser, chose to call the race for John McCain after only 87% of the vote was counted with McCain holding a razor thin margin. In fact, the lead was a mere 242 votes with about 1,500 left uncounted. Esser single-handedly ended the hopes of the man from Hope, Arkansas by stealing his momentum and placing McCain on a path to receive the party's nomination.
THE REPUBLICANS HAD THEIR CHANCE (AND THEIR MAN)
On the surface, these claims might seem absurd to a casual observer. However, a closer look at Huckabee's principles, voting record, policy positions and unique ideas for this country clearly show that this man would've been more in line with what the Republican Party's base wanted their candidate to stand for.
Don't believe me? Here's a quick test. We'll isolate and take a look at Mike Huckabee. As a Christian, wouldn't you have preferred that Huckabee go head-to-head with Obama?
Abortion & Death Penalty
The Best of Mike Huckabee
Plus, there's another interesting element to consider in hindsight. Obama won this election in part to the excitement and voter turnout provided by young voters aged primarily 18-29. During the primaries, polling indicated that both Paul and Huckabee had the attention of a large portion of this demographic as well. In addition, anyone who has seen Mike Huckabee on his new Fox TV show knows that the man is an excellent speaker - he personifies everything that is populist, but he speaks clearly and to the heart of an issue with complete confidence and no bull.
For these reasons, wouldn't it have made more sense to trot out on the national stage one of these two individuals as the Republican Party's future instead of McCain? For all the talk about Obama's communication prowess and rock-star status, I firmly believe that a man like Huckabee - especially with his political experience and accomplishments - would've made Obama look like an amateur.
But, I digress. Please don't misunderstand this entry today as "whining" on my part. I'm merely trying to take a survey of the political landscape around me in an effort to create a winning strategy for 2010 and beyond. In the process, I took a stroll down memory lane and was reminded that the Republican Party still has some shining stars left. We just need to give them a voice.
Once again, I fully recognize that no single politician or government body is ever going to save me, and that's not where I place my faith. Furthermore, if the world continues on it's current path we may not be around to debate during another election cycle anyway.
What Happened To The Third-Party Presidential Candidates?
Religious Right, R.I.P.
What We're Praying/Talking About
Our faith in action, or our small contribution in trying to apply what we're taught in Hebrews 5-6 and James 2:17-26 for the benefit of our dear brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ...
Look Up Fellowship Media [LUFM]
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