I have long believed economic and social forces make 2012 a mildly Republican year. I still believe this to be true and stick with my prediction that Romney will carry the popular vote 51/2 to 47/8 and win in the Electoral College. (A three point margin makes this electoral win all but sure.)
There is, however, decent evidence against my belief. In many polls Romney and Obama are tied and Obama leads in enough state polls to get an electoral majority. I think there are flaws in much of this data, but I could also be wrong.
It is good to consider what will happen if next Tuesday, if I discover I am wrong about the election. Here are ten things I must do or not do:
First, admit I was wrong and consider what was wrong in my reasoning.
The first is easy, the second is harder to do, but more vital.
If the President wins, I will have to accept that my ideas about polling and bias were incorrect. In the future, I am must be more accepting of this data.
Second, I will not pretend “fraud” cost Mr. Romney the race.
Fraud exists in all elections, but there is no adequate evidence that it does not balance out. Racists repress minority votes. Machines in cities discover new votes.
Both parties most overcome the wicked . . . and can if they run the right campaigns.
Third, I will not assume my candidate was flawed, but my ideas popular.
Blaming the candidate is easy. McCain was not a great candidate and he was running in a tough year, but I also had to accept that some 0f the policies of the Bush years that I accepted had been rejected by a majority of the American people.
The republic would not sustain the effort needed to pursue them and there was no sense pretending otherwise.
If Mitt Romney loses, I must examine what ideas I hold that can no longer command an electoral majority. Of course, that does not mean I will change my mind necessarily, but that policies (such as opposition to Obamacare) that I still think correct are no longer electorally feasible.
I have to tailor my political expectations to the political reality.
Fourth, I will not blame one faction of my party.
Mr. Romney picked Mr. Ryan as his running mate. Mr. Romney was a fairly moderate Republican, but Mr. Ryan is very conservative. Most Republican primary voters picked Mr. Romney and we were pleased with Mr. Ryan, but we will have failed.
Where we can change, we must. Where reason and morality forbids changing, we must begin the hard work of educating the general public.
Fifth, I will not quickly blame one event.
It is, I suppose, possible that my candidate lost because of one gaffe, but I doubt it. Failing to win over millions of voters will have been a complex failure and it would be too comforting to blame this failure on an overly simple solution.
Sixth, I will support our President.
If the President is re-elected, then he is (once again) my President. I will pray for him daily (as I have) and support him where I can as a member of the loyal opposition. I will rejoice in the rituals of our Republic and support him when I can.
Seventh, I will be moderate in my reaction.
We survived Warren G. Harding, James Buchanan, and Andy Jackson. We can survive a second term of Mr. Obama. I hope I don’t have to do so, but I will!
Eighth, I not confuse the United States with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Patriotism is a lesser love . . . our love for God must come before our love for our people. If my nation moves from God, as I understand Him, then I must disagree with my nation. Even if the United States were to become a state I could not in good conscience support (something far from happening!), then Christ’s Kingdom would still be triumphant.
I must put the ebb and flow of national life in the context of the universal, triumphant Church of Christ.
Ninth, I will not confuse my political foe with my enemy, but I will love both my political foe and my enemy.
Millions of brothers and sisters in Christ will vote differently than I will vote. They are (for the moment) opposed to me politically, but they are not the “enemy.” My enemy is the Devil and evil . . . and there is enough battle there to consume most of my time!
Of course, the Cause of Christ does have enemies, and they can be found in both parties. If I can love the man or woman who hates Jesus, as He has called me to do, surely I can love the brother or sister in Christ I think wrongheaded about free trade.
Finally, I will not give up my ideals, but continue to press them as I can.
Losing is not enough to cause me to give up, if after searching review the cause still appears just. I will have to reevaluate what is possible (for a time!), what is practical, what is prudent, but elections do not determine right or wrong. If I am convinced an idea is right, then I may have to hold it without hope of seeing it politically prevail in my lifetime.
My work may be endurance and education.
My faith seeks understanding, not political affirmation. I will wish we had won, but know that God is still in His Heaven and that at the deepest level this necessitates all is right with the world.
Whoever wins the presidency, Jesus is still Lord.