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Third party?

This election leaves many of us wishing we had something better

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By my latest calculation, the roughly half-million people who make up WORLD’s readers and listeners each week are likely to divide their votes next month among three different groupings:

Those who hope to elect Donald Trump—Something well over 50 percent. Half will be enthusiastic about their choice, and others will cast their ballots under duress.

Those who favor Joe Biden—If it’s over 25 percent, almost everyone will be surprised. Only a handful will be excited about that choice.

Those who fervently wish they had a third choice—Something approaching 100 percent.

No way could I withhold my vote from Biden and then give a pass to Trump.

To be sure, these are not scientific numbers. They’re based on my observations over the last 68 years—watching what happened in 18 different presidential elections. I’m naturally looking forward to testing the accuracy of my theories in the days after the Nov. 3 election. We’ll never get a chance to compare such projections with actual numbers. Even after the election results are validated, there will be no official record of how WORLD members voted. For those figures, we’d have to turn to some professional pollsters who might bless us with the fruit of their expertise.

That may or may not be worth the bother. We already know—not with mathematical precision, but with general common sense—how our WORLD family lines up. Substantially and significantly more than half of us tend to see ourselves as conservative Republicans, both economically and socially. Substantially and significantly fewer than half of us see ourselves as political moderates.

My guess is that when they go to the polls a few days from now, some conservatives in the WORLD family will vote for Trump, and some moderates will vote for Biden. The pollsters will tell us what their samples on Election Day tell them, but that divide is only part of the story.

We should not leave out the many of us unsatisfied with the shape of that choice. In some situations, we would have been thought of and referred to as third-party folks. But that doesn’t fit this time around. We are much more committed to a few ideals than we are to a person or a movement.

So it didn’t take long, after the Democrats chose Joe Biden as their presidential candidate, for some of us to conclude that it was impossible for us to support him. The reasons stretch from his comprehensive commitment to the pro-abortion movement to his selection of demonstrably leftist Kamala Harris as his running mate.

The debate among us concerning a vote to renew Trump’s lease on the White House was more problematic. We were grateful for his appointment of hundreds of right-thinking personnel (especially to the judiciary and bloated regulatory bureaucracy). Our applause meter leaped as he nudged other nations’ governments to take up their share of leading the world. He seems bold in supporting educational choice. But we were stressed—again and again—at the president’s utter carelessness with facts, his rudeness and crudeness, and his mocking disdain for his opponents and sometimes even for his friends.

Bottom line: No way could I withhold my vote from Biden and then—with virtually the same set of standards—give a pass to Trump. The longer I studied the matter (including WORLD’s thoughtful Oct. 10 Q&As with David French and Wayne Grudem) the more I concluded I couldn’t endorse either for the upcoming election.

And that’s when I began to discover how many folks within this WORLD family were standing pretty much where I was, saddled with the same dilemma. It’s a much bigger group than I thought. But it’s not my intention or practice to try to persuade others to join me in taking this position. I applaud those whose consciences support them in backing specific candidates.

Will I turn in a blank ballot? No way. Will I write in someone like Nikki Haley or Kay James? Maybe. I’ve still got a few days to resolve such important issues.

In the meantime, I’ll remind all WORLD members who are imitators of Jesus to pursue the wisdom of Ephesians 5:8-10: “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Joel Belz

Joel is WORLD’s founder. He contributes regular commentary for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Radio. Joel has served as editor, publisher, and CEO over three decades at WORLD and is the author of Consider These Things. Joel resides with his wife, Carol, near Asheville, N.C.


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