The 2018 mid-term elections are a tricky question for many conservatives who are not on the Trump train. Some insist that it’s necessary to vote Democrat in order to provide an effective check on President Trump and teach Republicans a lesson. Others insist that it would be insanity to punish the Republicans by propping up the Democrats.
I’ve been on the record saying that I no longer consider myself to be a Republican, but certainly am a conservative. I would like to see a viable new political party emerge, but none has. In light of that, what’s the right way to vote?
To me, I think elections for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House need to be looked at separately because the logic for voting is different on each.
In general (with one specific exception), I think there’s a good case to be made for Trump-skeptical conservatives supporting Republican Candidates for United States Senate for the following reasons:
- The Senate has dealt with Trump better than the House. While the House Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election has been a national embarrassment, the Senate investigation has operated as it should: on a bi-partisan basis and in a serious manner. Also, a higher percentage of Senate Republicans than their House counterpart have been willing to call Trump out when wrong. In addition to the reliably principled Ben Sasse (R-NE), the caucus boasts thoughtful Senators such as Tim Scott (R-SC) and James Langford (R-OK) who offer criticism of some of the President’s more destructive tendencies. Mitt Romney (R-UT) will likely be added to this number. While this criticism is sometimes too mild, it does provide a check on President Trump. Beyond criticism, Senate Republicans have held President Trump in check through the appointment power. It’s no accident that the worst appointments Trump has made have been those that don’t require Senate confirmation. The Senate has protected the country and the President by taking its advice and consent powers seriously.
- Senate elections have long-term consequences as Senators serve six-year terms. The Democrats hold the vast majority of seats in 2018, but the vast majority of seats up in 2020 and 2022 are GOP-held seats. The simple mathematical logic is that Democrats should make significant gains in the 2020 and 2022 elections. If Democrats pick up seats in 2018 or don’t lose any, they could easily gain Supermajority status by the 2022 election, which would not be good for the country. As both parties are relatively corrupt, it makes sense to keep them closely matched rather than letting one gain a massive long-term advantage.
- The best thing Trump has done was appointing Federalist Society recommended Constitutional judges to the federal bench. If Democrats were to retake the Senate, that would all come to an end. Due to the dysfunction of our system, the new go-forward is that Judges will be approved as quickly as possible if the Party in the White House controls the Senate. If you believe, as I do, that Trump will eventually lead to a massive victory for the political left, it makes sense to ensure that we have courts with constitutionalist judges. These judges will not deliver conservatives victories they couldn’t get from the ballot box, but they will provide a check on a left-wing movement in this country that has little respect for the Constitution or the Constitutional rights of their opponents. As Trump will be President for the next two years, it makes sense to ensure there’s a Republican Senate to confirm the judges.
The one Republican Senate nominee who deserves to lose and lose decisively is Corey Stewart. Stewart has engaged in racially charged rhetoric and also has ties to White Nationalists and other boosters of racial division. The Real Clear Politics polling average has Stewart down by double digits. He deserves to be defeated as decisively as possible. I would never vote for incumbent Tim Kaine (D-VA) who used to be pro-life but changed his views on abortion to satisfy his naked political ambition. However, in Virginia, there’s another option in pro-life Libertarian Matt Waters and if I lived that state, I was most likely support him instead of Kaine or Stewart, who are both horrible choices.
In my next article, I’ll turn take a look at the U.S. House elections.