Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D., Public Policy Director, Personhood Alliance
Recently, a woman passed away and left a brilliant obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch that has since gone viral. It stated: "Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God."
Many God-fearing decent Americans feel exactly like Ms. Noland.
"Americans’ Distaste For Both Trump And Clinton Is Record-Breaking," reported Nate Silver's data wonky fivethirtyeight.com blog. In fact, in the last generation, the only presidential candidate that has been more disliked than either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump was the KKK leader David Duke during his presidential campaign of 1980. Yes, that is the same David Duke whose endorsement Trump initially refused to repudiate.
Strictly from a pro-life perspective, the choice between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is not as clear as some might wish. Hillary is of course a total no-no, but Trump, with no positive record for us to be re-assured about and an unpredictability and trustworthiness factor causing alarm bells to constantly ring, is not seen as an impressive better of two evils.
Hillary has openly stated as recently as last month, that "the unborn person has no constitutional rights." Zero, nada, zilch. On the other hand, Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that the nation's largest exterminator of preborn children, Planned Parenthood, does "very good work." And he still has not undone the serious flaws of that claim. No acceptable clarifications. No acknowledgment of all the other evil and criminal activity that PP is very well known for. No acknowledgment of its founder’s damning, racist, eugenics pre-occupation.
Given this worst of all possible political worlds, what are pro-lifers to do?
There are probably no better nose-holders in the political universe than pro-lifers, and surely we will be sold the lesser-of-two-evils Faustian bargain yet again and told to vote for Donald Trump in exchange for a seat at the table.
At least Trump tries to convince Americans about being pro-life, right? But I foresee that many will refuse to hold their nose, eyes, ears, and mouth this time around. Many also did that with Romney and McCain and we got Barack Obama twice. Still, the likelihood is that the number of no-shows will be much larger for Trump who seems to have an extra-special knack for nauseating social and religious conservatives.
Neither McCain, nor Romney have lived a life of moral debauchery on the level of the Howard Stern Show. McCain was a war hero turned wishy washy politician and proved to be a far worse false “ally” than we could have imagined since his loss to Obama; Mitt Romney, a committed Mormon family man who had a liberal track record on social issues and became so arrogantly overconfident before the last election that he felt he could publicly weaken his pro-life, pro-family emphasis without losing significant votes.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has unapologetically engaged in much immoral behavior, while simultaneously rejecting the most Christian idea that he should ask for God's forgiveness. As the Daily Beast describes him, Donald Trump has "profited off strip clubs, cheated on his wife, and appeared on the cover of the nation’s pre-eminent porn magazine."
But more to the point, on the issue of the right to life, he publicly stated his personal belief in "choice" to the extreme of supporting partial birth abortion. He supported, until very recently, politicians who have made their careers trampling upon the right to life and family, and even after his claimed conversion to the pro-life side, he has stated a desire to change the GOP platform to expand the acceptance of abortion.
On the critical issue of the Supreme Court, the crucial question is how strongly will Donald Trump fight for the slate of candidates that was released last month? On this point, no honest observer knows. Will the self proclaimed master of the art of the deal be willing to compromise on these judges? The pressure from Democrats will be intense. To withstand what will surely be a tidal wave of opposition, Trump's fundamental positions on the right to life and on marriage must be built on the solid rock of deeply held convictions, if not, as surely as the bible tells us, these nominations will collapse with a mighty crash.
On the issue of the federal persecution of Christian marriage, Trump has basically shown no real inclination to fight against Obergefell or Obama's transgender crusades.
Trump's stance on marriage proves that he is not just unreliable on the right to life, he is basically untrustworthy on every critical moral issue. In all, Donald Trump has shown no personal history to give those of us who hold a Christian worldview genuine hope in his presidency.
So if the two mainstream candidates are unacceptable, might now be the time to start a third party?
Apparently nobody who is anybody inside the beltway wants to do it. Bill Kristol of the neoconservative wing of the GOP and Mitt Romney of the big business wing have both tried and failed to gain any traction. Absent the third party option, authors such as National Review's John Fund are even making the case for putting none of the above on the ballot.
But before practicing Christians resign themselves to choosing "none of the above" why don't we make sure that third party options are actually tried by and for Christian conservatives?
On other issues, third parties have certainly worked. While recent third party candidates such as Ralph Nader and Ross Perot have been blamed for taking votes away from the most electable major candidates who purported to be representative of a particular set of values, a closer examination from the point of view of the supporters of the third party gives us a different reading.
Ralph Nader's 2.8 million votes under the Green Party ticket in the 2000 election certainly hurt Al Gore's chances to become president, but from the point of view of the socialist environmentalists he was instrumental in bringing about Obama's ideologically driven presidency. A few years earlier, during the 1992 election, Ross Perot's 19% of the popular vote crushed George Bush Sr.'s chances of reelection, but again, from the perspective of Ross Perot's supporters, the 1992 campaign made possible Newt Gingrich's contract with America and the return of the House of Representatives to the GOP.
The reason that people like Ralph Nader and Ross Perot launched their third party campaigns was that the established parties compromised on the values represented by Nader and Perot, and from that perspective those bruising third party races were very successful.
If, however, we wish to look at a successful third party that was formed to answer a religiously-based moral issue, we could do no better than start with the GOP's own history.
Most Republicans recognize the GOP as the party of Lincoln. But they don't know who Alvan Bovay was and they are ignorant of the significance of the little town of Ripon, Wisconsin in the downfall of the most evil institution of slavery.
In 1850, at age 32, Alvan E. Bovay moved from New York state to Ripon, Wisconsin, then a new frontier town with only 13 houses. He began to practice law, became engaged in land development and became a respected member of his small town.
Bovay would often join other townsfolk and passersby at the town post office or the town store to discuss the main issues of the day, none of which was more important than the institution of slavery and its spread into the new territories. Bovay was opposed to slavery and belonged to the Whig party. The citizens of Ripon were Whigs, Free Soilers, and even some Democrats, but all of them opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which permitted the expansion of slavery into the western territories.
Then thirty-six years old, Bovay called a meeting to be held on the evening of February 28, 1854, at the Congregational church. The members, who mostly remain unknown to this day, decided that if the Nebraska bill would pass, they would "throw old party organizations to the winds and organize a new party on the sole issue of slavery."
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Shortly thereafter, the House passed the controversial bill by a vote of 113-100, with the Whigs divided and the Democrats mostly unified in support. Good to his word, Bovay and the citizens of Ripon organized a meeting the evening of March 20 in a one room school house where the new party was officially formed by Bovay and 16 others.
"We went into the little meeting held in a school house Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out of it Republicans and we were the first Republicans in the Union," he would say.
There are two critically important lessons to be learned from this fascinating historical event. The first is that the nation's most successful third party was formed in opposition to what it saw as the established party's compromise with a moral evil. Secondly, this new party was started by grassroots elements far from the centers of power.
The issue at the time was the nationalization of slavery. The issue today is the federally mandated marginalization of practicing Christians and of a Christian worldview. During the 1850s, a growing number of people felt dissatisfied with the Whig and Democrat Party's willingness to compromise on the God given right to liberty. Today, practicing Christians are disgusted by both parties’ complacency towards the court-ordered decrees of abortion on demand, normalization of sodomy, and the constant suppression of religious liberty.
When the GOP nominates Donald Trump, I and many others will most decidedly and joyously follow the example of our Republican grandfathers and "throw old party organizations to the winds and organize a new party" actually willing to put up a political fight to defend our Christian worldview.
Some, even those friendly to our causes, may argue that this is an exercise doomed to failure. Third parties are a losing bet in the American two party system. But they don't have to be! Success for this Christian third party should not be measured in winning the presidency or even in getting candidates elected, but instead in providing a peaceful democratic avenue for thousands of people whose passion in turn can change the existing parties, create new political realignments where the old were stale and ineffective, and perhaps even change the secularist zeitgeist of our culture.
To many, forming a new party may seem like an exercise in futility. But there is something truly American and transformative in the optimism that allows a small group of citizens to exercise their franchise fully, free of cynicism or fear, for the greater glory of God, country, and our posterity.
Whether Trump's ascendency is the death of the moral majority or just of the GOP depends upon practicing Christians. I for one, say RIP GOP, and enthusiastically welcome a new Christian party. I am confident that Christianity when it is courageously proclaimed is as transformative and infectious as it has ever been. In the words of G.K. Chesterton "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."