Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)

For years and years, the American electorate has allowed politicians, the heads of both parties, the liberal and conservative mainstream media, and lawyers to lie to them about only having two choices when they go into the voting booth. But is that really true?

Remember Arlen Specter, the turncoat Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat again who provided the 60th vote for Obamacare? In the last race he actually won, the 2004 Pennsylvania senatorial  election, he won with 53 % of the vote. An under-reported result from this election was that the candidates from the arguably more conservative (albeit much smaller) Libertarian and Constitution parties got more than 5% of the vote.

I know you are probably wondering why I brought this seemingly insignificant fact up. Well, I don’t doubt that a lot of people were pressured by their family, friends, the politicians, and the media to vote for the guy who “stood the best chance” of winning and compromised some of their principles in order to vote for Specter. (I also don’t doubt that one of the reasons he was defeated by the Democrats in the 2010 primary was because he was an opportunist and did not have any actual philosophy about government.) But how do you think the Republicans who voted for Specter in 2004 felt five years later when he changed parties for the sake of getting re-elected? Betrayed probably doesn’t even begin to describe what they felt.

Subsequently, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people who voted for the Libertarian or Constitution candidates felt vindicated in their decision. At least they did not seem afraid to vote on principle, as this seems to be the only tangible reason why someone would risk the outright humiliation of voting for someone certain to lose the election.

I have been convinced for at least a year that there are more similarities between the two parties than there are differences. If one takes the time to see through the rhetoric of the Republicans and Democrats and look at the big picture, they will agree with me.

Take the Republicans; shrinking government is the exception to rather than the rule for them. They voted for the NDAA. They voted for the Patriot Act. They voted to increase the size and scope of Medicare with Medicare Part D. They voted for No Child Left Alone, I mean, Behind. They supported the bailouts and earmarks under President Bush’s regime. They had no problem voting to raise the debt ceiling multiple times when Bush was president, adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. They didn’t repeal Roe v. Wade when they had the presidency and the majority in Congress (and yes, they do have the ability to do so.) They still don’t recognize the detrimental impact that the Federal Reserve has on the dollar. If you consider fighting a war like the two we are fighting now (and the two in Syria and Iran we are about to launch) big government on steroids, as I do, well, you know where Republicans stand on that.

My point is that the Republicans are not to be trusted at all by conservatives. We gave them back Congress, and it turns out that they spent more money than the Congress before them. How much? $150 billion more. It was never their intention to actually cut from the baseline of the budget; instead, they cur projected increases to spending in the years ahead (hence all the talk about cutting so and so over 10 years.)

We conservatives should really think about supporting independents or third-party candidates, complete political outsiders. The two years we spent propping up the Republican Party during the infamous Pelosi-Reid 111th Congress should have been spend building up an existing third party or starting our own political party. We should vote on principle and not on polls. I thought that we in the tea party movement were very principled people. Why vote for someone who doesn’t share your principles? That is the worst and most hypocritical thing that a voter who refers to himself as principled can do.

Elections should be about principles and not about who is supposedly the most popular candidate in a political party. Voting on the issues needs to become popular again in America. It’s much more important for me to tell my unborn children and grandchildren that I voted for who I thought was the best person rather than who the polls and media said was the most electable person.

And don’t let anyone tell you that by voting for a third party candidate that you are handing Obama a victory in 2012. I get this often from my elders at my local tea party’s meetings all the time. This is really a bunch of nonsense if you think about it. If you really wanted Obama to get re-elected, why would you go to all that trouble of voting for an outsider (third partier) when you could have just voted for Obama? This is a lie that has been repeated over and over and over again by the media, party bosses, and Republican AND Democrat politicians for the last several decades if not longer.

To answer the question I ask in the title of my commentary, I would say that it depends on whether you vote based on the standing of a candidate in the polls or the candidate’s philosophy. If you vote by the polls, yes. If you vote by philosophy, not really, unless you are willing to “waste” your vote on a third party candidate.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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