Why I Won’t Vote for Either Major Candidate

This year’s presidential race has convinced me that our political process is no longer viable.

I would love to vote for a moderate conservative. By rights, that should be the Republican. However, out of the huge pool of candidates this year, Republican voters picked Trump to be their nominee.

If Republicans think Trump espouses their vision for America, then I cannot vote Republican. My gut tells me Trump’s motivation for running is something other than the desire to serve our nation. I don’t believe he has the knowledge, wisdom, or skill set to lead the country. I doubt his integrity. Nearly every time he speaks, I am offended. I would be embarrassed to have him as my president.

As Trump gained followers, the other Republican candidates dropped out one by one, and later pledged (reluctantly?) to support whoever became the party’s nominee.

Even Ted Cruz took the pledge. After he told the assembled Republican National Convention to vote their consciences. I wonder if Cruz and the other candidates were coerced by the party to endorse Trump.

I’ve been told that if I examine the platforms of the two major parties, the clear choice is the Republican. But I can’t vote for the Republican platform if it is attached to Trump.

People try to convince me that my only other choice is Clinton, but I can’t vote for her, either.

My distrust of Clinton was cemented by her reaction to the revelation that she used her personal email account (housed on her own server) for government business. When the press first confronted her about it, she shrugged it off. Her body language said, it’s no big deal. I was First Lady, a Senator, the Secretary of State. The rules don’t apply to me.

Yet every lowly clerk who’s ever used email knows principle #1: you use your work account for your work emails and your personal account for your personal emails.

Clinton denies she ever received any such training. However, I worked for the Department of the Interior for five years, and I remember my first day at work, when I read, filled out, and signed lots of paperwork, including a memorandum about use of government computers which also outlined the official email policy. Somewhere in the Capitol Human Resources office is a file containing Hillary Clinton’s signature on a similar document. Yet, for months, she denied she’d done anything wrong.

If, during my tenure as a federal employee, I had misused email in the same manner, at very least a disciplinary note would have been filed in my HR folder, and I would have been passed over for promotions until I proved for an extended period of time that I could follow procedure. If it was determined that classified information had fallen into the wrong hands as a result of my actions, I would have been terminated. Yet Clinton still believes she’s fit for the highest position in government. Her admission that she’d made a mistake, and her apology, didn’t come until it was clear the American people were not letting her off the hook.

So I’m not voting for the Democratic candidate, and I’m not voting for the Republican candidate.

The Trump camp says if I don’t vote for him, it’s the same as voting for Hillary. And the Clinton camp says if I don’t vote for her, it’s the same as voting for Donald. Prevailing wisdom declares I’m wasting my vote if I don’t cast it for one of those two.

In 1824, the House of Representatives declared John Quincy Adams the winner of the election; he received 30.5% of the votes. Bill Clinton won with only 42.9% in 1992. Our Electoral College system confuses me; it seems possible to manipulate it. (Yeah, I know, that sounds like a conspiracy theory.)

Here are a couple of articles related to how our system works. Maybe you can understand it better than I do:

· The Twelfth Amendment and the Electoral College

· Presidents who received less than 50% of the popular vote

What if neither Trump nor Clinton received a third of the popular vote? Wouldn’t it at very least force our legislature to explore ways to improve the voting process? I wouldn’t call that a wasted vote — I’d call it sending a message that the two-party system is dead.

The leadership of our country is too important to leave to the less objectionable of two candidates. (This year, I can’t even determine who the less objectionable one is.) We all know lots of people who would make a better president than Clinton or Trump. Why is our race limited to two candidates? We live in the age of the internet — anyone can get their message heard.

The Bible tells us that God establishes our government. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1 NIV).

Being a Christian, every election year I ask myself how God is establishing our authorities through our election process. In the United States, we have free choices, and we suffer the consequences of those choices.

I think we are being tested. Will we elect a president of integrity? God saw to it that we had a broad and diverse field this year. We expressed our desire for someone different, someone who wasn’t a politician, someone who wouldn’t conduct “business as usual.” Think of the wide variety of people we had to choose from: governors, women, a socialist, Senators, a physician, a real estate magnate. And we whittled the field down to Trump and Clinton. Are either of them God’s best intention for us? Are they examples of unimpeachable character? If we elect Donald or Hillary, I believe we’ve failed the test, and we’ll miss God’s blessing on our country.

In an interview with Time magazine conducted more than a year ago, Ben Carson revealed he prayed to know God’s will about him running for president: “I said, Lord you know I don’t want to do this, but if you open the doors I’ll do it.” Think about it — we asked for someone different, and God put Ben Carson into the ring. My first reaction to his candidacy was that he was too soft-spoken to be president — especially if you compare him to the nominees, who have been described with words like strident and loudmouth.

Dr. Carson thinks carefully before he speaks. I like that. Carson also has a quality both Clinton and Trump lack — humility. How refreshing to see a humble candidate, who has a reputation for integrity.

I will be writing in Ben Carson’s name on my ballot this year. Won’t you join me?