Should we vote for the lesser of two evils?

Number 577 • October 27, 2020


The thought is not original with me and is probably not a new thought for you, but let’s look at it again. Those who consider themselves to be Christians, and even some who consider themselves on safe moral ground, say they cannot vote simply on the basis of which candidate is less evil or immoral than the other. The argument runs something like this: a vote for anyone who is immoral or wicked in any point is the same as voting in favor of the evil itself. You can use any of the current hot-button issues as examples: abortion and other forms of murder, same sex relationships including marriage, decriminalizing drug-related problems, defunding and disbanding police, malfeasance of elected political officials, absolute separation of church state (keeping religion and religious persons put of politics and the courts, etc), socialistic or communistic approach to medicine, education, private ownership of property and money — there are many, many, too many such examples. So, voting for a candidate who is pro-choice as to abortion is supposedly equivalent to voting in favor of abortion, which is equivalent to approving murder of innocent humans. The same for all the other examples?

It all comes down to the idea that a vote for the person is a vote for anything and everything that person believes, advocates, and practices. A vote for a political party is a vote for the whole platform and all policies of that party. A vote for a person or a party that allows or advocates control of the people with violence and intimidation by threats of increased violence and lawlessness is a vote to accept and approve such tactics. I have at other times expressed my wish that we could have “line item” voting for laws, statutes, regulations, and stipulated principles rather than for persons with all the baggage that each brings with him or her or them. But since we are denied that option we must decide how to vote and whether or not to vote for individuals whose names, and something of their affiliations, appear on the ballot. I will present some thoughts that may be helpful in making a decision.


If you should vote only for a person with whom you can agree completely on everything, it is unlikely you will ever get to vote at all. Anyway, we seldom look for someone we can agree with but rather for someone who will agree with us. Excuse me, but I doubt you would agree with Jesus or with God on everything and it is virtually certain the Lord would not agree with you and your desires or preferences on every moral, spiritual attitude or action and service issue. Want to try to prove me wrong on this?

If you are seeking a perfect candidate, one with no history of past mistakes, no valid and verifiable charges of current mistakes, one who is unselfish, altruistic and guaranteed never to do anything that is not in the best interests of all constituents you are doomed to failure – there is no such person on this earth. There was one, once – his name is Jesus – perfect in every particular, in perfect agreement with God, intent on seeking, saving, and serving all mankind and against whom no charge of sin or mistake could be made to stick. But even He did not please or satisfy everyone. There was none like him before, there is none like him now, there will never be another, perfect in every way but unable to satisfy all others. If you can only vote for perfect candidates you will never have anyone to vote for.

But here’s something else to consider. Suppose only perfect persons were allowed to vote. Would you be allowed to vote, ever, for anybody? How perfect are you? Of course you may think, and may claim, you are perfect and without flaw. But would anybody agree with you? Would a perfect candidate want or allow you to vote for him or her? And if you were the candidate who would vote for you? Notice please: I’m not even asking here – and you wouldn’t want to be asked – what you think the judgment of God or of His Christ would be if He were asked to evaluate you as you are now.


Keep in mind the items you would vote for – what you want to be approved and accepted, and what you do not want to happen. Then decide which candidate or candidates are most likely to do what should be done and which are least likely to do that – also which are most likely to approve and implement what you oppose. Then vote accordingly. Do not vote for a person or a party currently on the wrong side of what you believe is best for you and for the country. Do not vote for a wrong-minded person and hope he or she can be persuaded later to get on the right track. That almost never happens. What happens typically is that the candidate promises to do certain things – all assumed or asserted to be good, right, best for all – if elected. But once elected promises are forgotten and failure to keep them is blamed on others. If the elected candidate reneges on promises or does not honestly and sincerely try to keep them, do what you can to make sure he or she is recalled and removed from office and is not re-elected. By all means, vote. In our society under our present government the will of the people is supposed to be determinative. Express your will. In a fair and honest election every vote counts and the majority determines the outcome.


Let’s repeat and insist: in a fair and honest election every vote is of equal value and importance and is counted. Votes not cast cannot be counted. Invalid votes should be discounted, and will be in an honest election. Who counts the votes? Impartial judges and duly appointed counters. In our current system you must be properly registered and must properly identify yourself in order to receive a ballot. But your name is not on the ballot itself so nobody can know how and for whom or for what you vote. Nobody knows your vote unless you tell. Some like to conduct an “exit poll” in which all voters are asked to say for whom their vote was cast. If and when I am asked by an exit poller I simply say, “None of your business and I’m not telling.” I think that’s the answer everybody should give. These polls depend upon honesty of the voter and his or her willingness to reveal their vote. Such polls are no more accurate and dependable than telephone surveys, online, or mail in surveys and ballots. A sampling of respondents’ answers cannot be complete, may not be honest, and can easily be manipulated. Machine counting is dispassionate but can be manipulated – “rigged” to produce a desired outcome.

There is one other who knows your vote and counts it. He may have power to manipulate your vote but He will not do so. Nothing is hidden or kept secret from Him. He knows if and when you are honest, if and when you are not honest. He hears all your words, sees all your actions, and knows your thoughts and intentions (Hebrews 4:12). Of course we are talking about God. You will eventually have to account to Him for all your words, actions, choices, and votes. You should make sure that you choose, vote, and act correctly, righteously. Who and what you are for or against matters to God. Whether what and whom you vote for is the effective “winner” in the voting is irrelevant. The good and right do not always win the election. What you vote for may not win. What you vote against may not lose. But God’s concern is that your heart and will be right in everything. Our individual or collective votes do not influence God’s choice and decision. Apostle Paul’s example can help us here. He says God is true and will prevail as right even if every person in the world votes against him (Romans 3:4). He urged that everyone be submissive to prevailing powers and rulers, as God wishes (Romans 13:1-6). He himself appealed to ungodly Rome and its Caesar for judgment in his own case to protect him from corrupt and ungodly judges in his own country of the Jews (Acts 25:7-12). Without claiming righteousness or perfection for any of them Paul argued that he had done nothing against the Jews or their law and nothing at all against Caesar and Rome (Acts 25:8). In everything we say or do let us cast our vote in favor of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, in keeping with what we know to be His will. Let us not deny Him in anything (Matthew 10:32-33).
#geraldcowan #voting