If you are currently planning not to vote for either Trump or Biden, here are 10 reasons why I encourage you to change your mind and vote for President Trump.
1. Not voting for either Biden or Trump has a predictable result and therefore is not a neutral action.
At first it might seem as if voting for neither candidate is a way to do nothing wrong. After all, you aren’t endorsing the shortcomings of either candidate.
But consider the result of your decision. If you ordinarily vote for conservative candidates but decide not to vote for Trump, then Biden will need one less vote to win the election.
Think what would happen if all evangelical Christians followed your example: Biden would win in a gigantic landslide. That is because Trump’s biggest bloc of supporters are evangelical Christians.
Over 80% of white evangelicals apparently voted for Trump last time, while 16% voted for Hillary Clinton and 4% didn’t vote for either one. (I could not find statistics for black and Hispanic evangelicals.) Therefore, evangelicals who decide not to vote affect the outcome in a disproportionate way. They will, on average, withhold five times more votes from the Republican candidate than they withhold from the Democrat candidate.
Therefore, the result of evangelicals not voting for either candidate is not a neutral result. If enough evangelicals vote for neither one, Biden will easily win the election. Do you really prefer that result?
2. It can be wrong to have the ability to stop evil but fail to stop it
A Biden administration would carry with it several policies that I would put in the category of evil policies. Biden and his Democrat allies would push for laws that allow abortion up to the moment of birth and even remove penalties for infanticide (as has happened in Virginia and New York). They have also promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which for decades has prevented federal funding of abortion. Their abortion policies alone are reason enough to oppose them. God is not on their side, because, as the psalmist says, “Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death” (Ps. 94:20-21).
In addition to advancing abortion rights, they would seek to enforce not just tolerance but active moral approval of homosexual and transgender conduct in school curriculums, in business training seminars and hiring practices, in government employment and contracts, and eventually in private Christian nonprofit organizations such as colleges and book publishers. Christians who refuse to comply would increasingly be forced out of their jobs (as has happened already in a number of cases affecting various occupations).
In addition, they would likely seek to banish as “hate speech” any opposition to the LGBT agenda. They would likely seek to force Christians in the creative professions (artists, photographers, florists), in education, and in government, to violate their consciences or face bankruptcy or jail if they refused to endorse same-sex marriage and transgenderism or (in the medical fields) to participate in abortions. And freedom of speech and freedom of the press would increasingly be nullified (in practice) by Internet censorship (as we have seen already with Twitter and Facebook regularly blocking conservative viewpoints).
The only way American citizens can stop such evil at the present time is through the election of Donald Trump for a second term. His administration will push for none of those morally evil policies.
But if Christians decide to withhold their votes from Trump, it appears to me that they are failing to do what they can to stop the evil of a Biden administration.
Someone might answer me at this point, “But isn’t Trump also evil?” I agree that Trump has flaws in his character, but in my judgment his first term in office has shown that the good he will do for the nation far outweighs any harm from his abrasive personality. And he will implement none of the evil policies that would come with a Biden administration.
Proverbs 25:26 is relevant here: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Just how is such a man who “gives way before the wicked” like a “muddied spring”? They’re both useless. If you’re out in the desert and thirsty, and then you see an oasis with a spring of water, you hope to drink from the spring. But when you reach the spring, you find that the water is muddy and undrinkable. It is useless. So it is if a Christian man or woman sees evil coming and does nothing to stop it. Such a person is as useless as “a muddied spring or a polluted fountain.”
From the standpoint of Christian ethics, there are both “sins of omission” and “sins of commission.” In the Book of Common Prayer used by the Church of England, a well-known confession of sin is “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and apart from your grace, there is no health in us. O Lord, have mercy upon us.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” -- though it’s not from the Bible, this familiar aphorism contains wisdom for governments today (British statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was previously connected with the saying, and it echoes themes found in his writings.)
So I ask, are you confident that not voting for either candidate, and thereby having no influence it at all on the outcome of the election, is the right thing to do? I suggest that not voting for either candidate might not be a morally neutral decision. For a Christian, it might be the wrong decision.
3. If you think withholding your vote will “teach the Republican party a lesson,” you fail to understand the process by which Donald Trump became the Republican candidate.
Some conservatives have said, “If Donald Trump loses, that will teach the Republican Party that they shouldn’t nominate a man of such questionable character.”
But this viewpoint completely misunderstands the way candidates are nominated in the United States. If you intend to influence any organization that can be called “the Republican party,” then recall how the permanent, entrenched leadership in the Republican Party (the Republican National Committee and elected Republican officeholders) fought tooth and nail to keep Trump from getting the nomination in 2016. Sixteen candidates started out the primary process. But Trump just kept winning with the voters. They had an instinct that the country needed strong, courageous leaders like him, in spite of his shortcomings.
I know of nobody who needs to be “taught” (by losing an election) that Trump is not a perfect candidate. Republican voters are already aware of Trump’s abrasive personality. They already count it as a liability, not an asset.
And if Trump loses in a close election, most conservatives will place the blame not on Trump but on the “none of the above” conservative voters who decided not to vote for either Trump or Biden. The “lesson” most Republicans will learn is that conservatives who don’t vote for either candidate can cost Republicans the election. They won’t blame themselves for supporting Trump, but they may well blame conservatives who a decided not to support the conservative candidate chosen by the primary process.
4. Your vote should not be based on whether you like a candidate or not, but on whether candidate A or candidate B is better for the nation.
A presidential election is not a popularity contest. Your vote should not be based on whether you “like” a candidate’s personality or not. Your vote should be based on what you think to be best for the nation as a whole.
5. If you say, “My conscience won’t let me vote for Trump,” it is possible that what you think is your conscience is really just a personal dislike of Trump
I agree that is important for people to vote according to their consciences. I encourage all Christians to seek God for wisdom in their voting decisions.
But a person’s conscience is an inward sense of moral right and wrong. If you really think your conscience won’t let you vote for President Trump, that I simply ask you to consider whether the subjective feeling that you think is your conscience might just be a dislike of Trump’s personality. Only you can decide that.
6. Your goal in voting should not be to gain approval from your friends.
I realize that sometimes there is pressure from friends or family members to vote a certain way, and there can be much cultural pressure not to vote for Trump. If you are in that situation, remember that we still have a secret ballot in this country, and there is no need to tell anybody how you voted. Your goal in voting should be to choose the candidate who, in your judgment, will do the most good for the country.
7. Defeating Trump will not stop the divisiveness within the country, but it will make life much harder for evangelical Christians and for conservatives in general.
In my opinion, most of the blame for the increase in divisiveness in our country belongs to people on the far left of the political spectrum, committed Democrats who still have not accepted the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s decisive victory in the 2016 election. They call themselves “the Resistance” and they are relentless in their hostility toward President Trump and anyone who supports him. Yes, he fights back instead of rolling over, and sometimes he fights back without much grace, but I do not think that most of the divisiveness should be blamed on him.
The most troubling part of this hostility from the left is that, if they are allowed to gain control of the government, that hostility will be increasingly directed against Christians and all who stand firm for Judeo-Christian moral values.
8. Even if you live in a solidly Republican or solidly Democrat state, your vote still matters.
If you live in a deeply Republican state or a deeply Democrat state, you may at first think that your vote doesn’t matter. But it does matter for at least two reasons: (1) Your vote will be tabulated as part of the popular vote for the whole nation, and it will determine how decisive people consider the outcome to be. If a candidate wins with a large margin in the popular vote, he will have much more political influence on the future than if he wins by a very small margin. (2) Whether your candidate wins or loses, the morning after the election you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have done your part, that you have responsibly discharged the stewardship that God entrusted to you in granting you the ability to vote. And remember that courage is a virtue: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).
9. Voting for Trump is not the same as giving approval to his character.
Casting a vote for Donald Trump means one thing only: you think his leadership of the nation is better than Biden’s leadership would be. In every election, we end up voting for imperfect, flawed candidates who we think to be better than the alternative. Such a vote does not mean that we endorse everything about the candidate’s behavior.
In addition, since voting is by secret ballot, your vote will not signal to anyone else any hint of approval of Trump’s character.
10. This election might be decided by the “none of the above” voters
In the 2000 election, George W. Bush won the presidency by a margin of only 537 votes in the state of Florida. There are over 5,600 voting precincts in Florida. That means that if only one conservative voter in every tenth precinct had stayed home, Bush would’ve lost the election and we would have had President Al Gore leading the nation. This election also could be that close. Your vote matters.
Wayne Grudem is distinguished research professor of theology and Biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona and the author of Christian Ethics and Politics According to the Bible. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not represent the viewpoint of Phoenix Seminary.