Many conservatives (Christian or otherwise), me included, are disappointed that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for President. They lament that a more principled conservative (such as Michele Bachmann, or, to a lesser degree, Rick Santorum) was not selected. Perhaps they stand for the libertarian principles of Ron Paul. Whatever the case, many will be tempted to not vote at all or to cast a protest vote. This is a deep mistake, based on faulty ideas about politics and the meaning of a political vote. In this short essay, I will labor to convince fellow conservatives, whether Christians or not, to support and vote for Mitt Romney for President. I have waited to endorse Romney until all the other competitors have been eliminated. I do not expect to convert political liberals to this cause, which would require much more argumentation. (For starters, see Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's Leftism and William F. Buckley's Up From Liberalism.)

First, many demur from voting for Romney because of his less-than-stellar conservative bona fides. I share their concern. RomneyCare influenced ObamaCare, however much Romney now opposes ObamaCare. He has not always been pro-life, but now seems to be. One could go on. But we should remember that politics is not the church. It is the art of the possible. Often we must choose the lesser of two evils, which is also the evil of two lessers. We reside in a fallen world. Get over it. We should be romantic and optimistic in the primaries (as I supported Michele Bachmann, read her book, Core of Conviction, and contributed to her campaign), and then get realistic when things narrow down. You are not appointing a pastor but voting for a president. A vote is neither a letter of reference, nor an unqualified endorsement, nor an act of worship. A vote is the exercise of the franchise, one part you play in our Republican form of government. It is a right, a responsibility, and a privilege that should not be squandered.

Second, protest votes are pointless. Many say, "If my candidate is not the one, I opt out. I am above all that." This is wrongheaded. Protest votes send no message, except that you have robbed the better of the two candidates of a vote. Like it or not, we are stuck with a two-party system for the long haul. (On this, see Michael Medved's chapter on the failure of third parties in The Ten Big Lies about America.)  If you are a conservative, you vote for the more conservative candidate who can win, as William F. Buckley said. Writing in Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul does no good whatsoever—except to aid the Obama campaign.