I Recant My Third Partiism… For Now

When Mitt Romney became the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2012 presidential election, I immediately thought, “Rather than vote for a bad candidate, I’m going to vote third-party again.”

I looked up information on the Constitution Party’s candidate Virgil Goode. His ideology and plans were very close to my fusionist leanings. I really like Goode. I was even going to vote for him. Yet, whilst meditating on some metaphysics, I changed my mind. An argument for God’s existence may be modified for determining the best possible candidate.

Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God may be summarized in the following manner:

A: God is a being that than which no greater can be conceived.
B: One can conceive of a greatest being.
C: A being that exists in both the mind and reality is greater than a being that does not exist.
D: Therefore, God exists.

Hunt’s argument for the best possible candidate is as follows:

A: In any election between two or more candidates, the best possible candidate is that than which no greater candidate can be conceived.
B: One can conceive of a candidate with whom one disagrees the least.
C: The least disagreeable candidate who can win is far greater than a candidate who can not win.
D: Therefore, in any election between two or more candidates, a best possible candidate exists.

In both arguments, the C proposition is the key. If God exists only in the mind, then the D proposition does not follow. If one is in agreement with a candidate who can not possibly win an election, the D proposition is non sequitur. The C proposition makes a comparative statement following from the B proposition, proving that actuality or possibility is greater than imagination or impossibility.

Before anyone starts yelling blasphemy, note the differences between the arguments. The Hunt argument is for the best potential candidate, not for a perfect candidate. Neither is it an argument that any candidate is God. All candidates for any election are fallen beings who will display their imperfections and detestable actions before the electorate; yet, of the imperfect candidates that exist, one may conceive of the best candidate as having the least problems and the potential to win.

What if, in a future election, both major political parties nominate candidates with whom one disagrees on all points? After all, the Republican party has played with the idea of ditching its platforms on abortion and other social issues. In a hypothetical future election in which both the Republican and Democrat are the same, the best candidate may indeed be a third-party candidate. At that point, conservatives may flock to third parties, giving their candidates a potential to win. That is not the current state of affairs.

Note also, that this argument has a degree of subjectivity. The B and C propositions will be different for many people. The B proposition for a progressive will be different than for a conservative. In my opinion, Barak Obama does not fit the B or C propositions; thus, he is not my best possible candidate. Virgil Goode fits the B proposition but not the C proposition. He’s least disagreeable, but unelectable. Mitt Romney barely fits the B proposition, but he fits the C proposition quite nicely. Therefore, although he is not my ideal, Romney is my best possible candidate for the 2012 presidential election.


About haroyce

Royce is an aspiring writer of fantasy, history, philosophy, and theology. He earned his BS in History from Cedarville College, and his MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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