As I recently noted in a blog response, it has appeared to me that in the recent past, just about all of my Republican friends and acquaintances (from Evangelicals to agnostics) have consistently voiced their desire for a smaller, less-intrusive U.S. Federal government, first, regardless of where they have stood on other "social issues." Arguably, Mr. Romney didn't offer enough of that. Some have suggested the red herring reason for the Romney loss as related to "Christian vs. Mormon" and they can continue to do so, 'til the proverbial cows come home. Others have criticized the involvement of third party candidates. However, the real problem seemed more that U.S. voters only had a choice this election between Big-Government and Bigger-Government... and of course, which group of rich contributors and supporters would ultimately receive the associated perks. Additionally, I doubt that "disgruntled" or "misguided" Ron Paul or Green Party supporters made a significant difference in the overall outcome of the presidential election. In fact, based on research conducted a few weeks before Election Day, a Reason-Rupe Poll suggested that support for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, pulled equally from Democrats and Republicans.
In any case, I would argue that if anyone hurt America during the recent elections, it did not include Evangelicals who stayed home for religious reasons or those who voted third party for the sake of conscience. Rather, it included the people who went to the polls, held their noses, and voted for either Romney OR Obama, when they considered that neither of them actually best represented the overall values needed in and for the United States. Some folks actually reported having voted this way because others had sold them on the idea that a vote for anyone other than the Democrat or the Republican amounted to a wasted vote. Guess what? Voting for "the lesser of two evils" wasted votes, in that so doing sent the errant message that over 100-million people believed that the collective values suggested by Obama and Romney represent what voting Americans consider as the most important values. Additionally, I would further argue that any type of election-to-election thinking that results in voting for candidates with whom people fundamentally disagree has centrally contributed to our elected officials settling for short term compromises, rather than striving for long term collaborations. Regardless of the electoral college results, if Obama, Boehner, and Reid saw that 6% of the votes for Romney and Obama had otherwise gone to Johnson (the possible percentage also noted in the Reason-Rupe Poll), it would have sent a message. However, if they saw that either Obama or Romney had won with only a plurality, with third parties having won 15% to 30% of the electorate votes (the likely range of people who had major disagreements with the values presented by BOTH major parties), they would have had to sit up and take notice. Bottom line: I have never before supported or voted for a third party candidate in a national election, but starting now that trend will forever change, unless and until the Republicans (or Democrats) start substantially reducing the size and scope of the U.S. Federal government.