The Question of “Purity”

As a person who’s voted for many candidates outside of the Democratic and Republican parties (I loathe the term “third party” because it marginalizes the many other political parties that exist) in races at local, state and national levels, I’ve been accused many times of being a “purist.” The thing is, I simply look at where candidates stand on the issues and vote for the one who’s beliefs I think are closest to what I believe in, and what I think is best for the city/county/state/country. I’ve never held out for a person that I agreed with 100%. Or even 10%.

I’ve met some people that are one issue voters. I have an aunt who won’t vote for any pro-life candidate. It doesn’t matter where they stand on any other issue. That’s her deal breaker. In 2016, I was told over and over that I “had to vote for Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump” I was also told her stances on issues were irrelevant because “the only thing that matters is stopping Trump.” I’ve also known people that voted for candidates because they liked them on a personal level.

I’m a lifelong Socialist, but due to things like my religious beliefs and my upbringing, I swing right on several issues. As a Roman Catholic, I believe in the sanctity of human life. Yet, I still voted for Green party candidate Dr. Jill Stein for president twice despite her support of unfettered access to abortion. In fact, she had the most pro-abortion stance of any candidate in the 2016 Presidential election (by contrast, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said that she “could compromise” on abortion.)

While I don’t believe in abortion, it’s also not a make or break issue for me, like single-payer healthcare and reforming the criminal justice system, which were cornerstones of both of Dr. Stein’s campaigns.

I am passionate about protecting the second amendment and even belong to the Socialist Rifle Association, so Dr. Stein’s position on guns in 2016 did give me pause. Her 2012 stance was much more reasonable. Still, I voted for her because overall, I felt she was the best candidate.

I’m a resident of Florida, where the 2018 race for Governor is too close to predict. Democrat Andrew Gillum, who ran on a leftist platform, but immediately backtracked on it as soon as he got the nomination and Republican Ron DeSantis, a vocal Trump supporter who supports things like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

(I didn’t vote in the primary because Florida is a closed primary state and I don’t belong to any political party.)

I was for Gillum until he stopped supporting Medicaid for all and started criticizing Socialist countries. When I look at where he and DeSantis stand on issues that are important to me, there’s very little difference. In fact, because Gillum is an anti-gun extremist, DeSantis is slightly better. DeSantis also supporters term limits.

Right now, I’m leaning towards Bruce Stanley, who isn’t affiliated with any party, but whose platform includes Medicaid for all Floridians, a Green New Deal and even a state bank. Also, he has an amazing haircut. Not an important issue, but hair that great deserves some love. Though I’m sure, if I vote him for, I’ll get accused of being a “purist.”

So, how do you choose who to vote for? Are you a single-issue voter? A personality voter? Overall on issues? Spite? Less evilism?