James Kushiner of Touchstone magazine has some apt reflections on the idea of single-issue voting:
‘But the labeling of some voters—all, it seems, on the “right” and usually pro-life—as “single-issue” voters, as if they are narrow-minded and unthinking participants in our national life, seems quite narrow-minded itself. . .
‘When it comes to exercising their right to vote, they, like their critics, cast one whole undivided and single vote for each candidate based on what they think is most important. All principled voting ends up being single-issue. We just don’t agree on which principles come before others concerns. Our critics have their own.’
I couldn’t agree more with Kushiner’s assessment. Except perhaps for amoral anarchists, every decent person is a single-issue voter. There are certain issues that decisively determine whether or not to cast one’s vote a certain way.
If a candidate wanted to revive slavery in the United States, on that single-issue alone decent people would reject his candidacy. If a candidate wanted to legalize wife-beating, on that single-issue alone decent people would reject his candidacyâ€”no matter how good his views on other matters might be.
On a moment’s reflection, it is clear that single-issue voting is really not that controversial. What people disagree about is what issues should have such a priority. Pro-lifer’s have typically argued that the value of innocent human life is so great that one might cast a vote based on that single issue.
Now that the high political season has come to a close, this would be a good time for citizens to ponder this question. “Is the abortion issue a transcendent issue for me? Is protecting innocent human life important enough to determine my vote?”
I hope that in the next election cycle more people will be answering those questions in the affirmative.