I have said many times that I am a single-issue voter. I do not believe that being right on any single issue qualifies a candidate for office.
I have said many times that I am a single-issue voter. I do not believe that being right on any single issue qualifies a candidate for office. But I do believe that being wrong on certain issues can disqualify a candidate. My thinking on this was shaped nearly 20 years ago by an article I read from John Piper. I recommend that you read the whole thing, but here is the heart of it. Piper writes:
No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was. Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud (say under $50 million) would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no black people could hold office—on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office. Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanor—that single issue would end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for office.
It’s the same with marriage. No one quality makes a good wife or husband, but some qualities would make a person unacceptable. For example, back when I was thinking about getting married, not liking cats would not have disqualified a woman as my wife, but not liking people would. Drinking coffee would not, but drinking whiskey would. Kissing dogs wouldn’t, but kissing the mailman would. And so on. Being a single-issue fiancé does not mean that only one issue matters. It means that some issues may matter enough to break off the relationship.
So it is with politics. You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It’s simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him—except that child-killing is more serious than those.
Over the years, I have found Piper’s argument so compelling that it has guided my thinking on the issue ever since. If a candidate supports abortion rights, then he is disqualified from my vote as long as there are other alternatives in the field. It may be that there are no alternatives or that the alternatives have other disqualifying characteristics (like racism, fraud, or bribery). For me, support for abortion-on-demand is one of those deal-killers.
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