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Opinion / Veterans' Voices

Maximizing and Leveraging the Military Veteran Vote in 2020 and Beyond

military veteran

(Author’s Note: this article suggests a strategy to mold military veterans into “force multipliers” to support candidates for high political office who strongly protect and defend the United States Constitution and the American republic.  It is believed that the great majority of the nation’s 21 million veterans will continue to honor their life-long oath to protect and defend the constitution—a very important way of accomplishing this is to vote for candidates who genuinely cherish and treasure the constitution and America’s unique constitutional republic.  If successful, the suggested strategy could serve as an effective countermeasure against the projected millions of votes by members of the millennial generation for “democratic” socialist/far-left political candidates.)   

In the broadest sense, the 2020 national political races are shaping up to be a choice about the form of government the United States will have.  The basic choice is between (1) candidates (conservatives) who want to protect/maintain America’s constitution and constitutional republic and (2) candidates (far-left liberals) who believe that the constitution largely is outdated, and that America needs to embrace socialism or social-leaning policies and laws.

Examples of ideas/goals espoused by far-left liberals who feel the constitution is outdated include: (1) eliminating the Electoral College; (2) maintaining open borders to the United States; (3) providing illegal aliens with free education, free medical care, and other tax payer-provided benefits; and (4) implementing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialistic “Green New Deal”.

The 2020 election is different from previous national elections in that the true values and beliefs of the political far-left have been exposed such as an outright disdain for the constitution, America’s Founders (a bunch of “old white men”), millions of “deplorable” conservative voters, and much of American history.

Heretofore, the usual and principal strategy to convince military veterans to vote for a candidate is to inform veterans about what the candidate has done and will do for the personal benefit of veterans.  A supporting strategy is to also inform veterans about what the candidate has done and will do for America as a whole.

Experience indicates that many veterans want nothing to do with what they consider to be “politics” —they want nothing to do with the process of elections and consider practically all politicians to be alike, i.e., in the race for themselves, selfish, arrogant, making promises and not keeping them, etc.  President Donald Trump is somewhat of an exception to these beliefs.

With few exceptions, all military veterans took an oath, a life-long oath, to support and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Experience has shown that the great majority of veterans continue to honor this oath, expressing great love and affection for America and its republic.  Many veterans, young and old, continue to search for ways to serve and defend our great nation.

The charters/by-laws of the major veterans’ organizations (American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, etc.) stipulate that no endorsements will be made for any political candidate or political organization.  Thus, a Republican candidate or Democrat candidate usually will not be allowed to give a presentation asking for votes at local, state, or national level veteran functions.  However, a presentation about what America’s form of government might look like in the near future most likely would be allowed, thus giving an opportunity to mention the candidate who truly would protect and defend America’s constitution and republican form of government.            

The 2020 national election represents an ever-intensifying battle of ideas and values, including a battle for the integrity and respect for the constitution which most, if not nearly all veterans, strongly feel must be safeguarded and protected at all costs.  It is believed that today’s political and cultural battleground require a different strategy to gain many additional votes (several millions) from veterans for conservative candidates.

Rather than a candidate (or campaign spokespeople) trying to appeal to veterans by stressing what the candidate can do for veterans and/or stressing how much the candidate loves and cares for America, veterans need to be presented with a short, concise summary of what truly is at stake in the 2020 election, namely—the integrity of the constitution and America’s constitutional republic versus a socialist or socialist-like takeover of the national government.

The overarching approach to veterans for their votes and support needs to be based on their inherent loyalty to the nation and to the protection and defense of the constitution against the desires of the political far left.  For sure, statements can be made about how a candidate has helped and will help veterans with their health care and benefits, etc., but the main emphasis needs to revolve around the real threat to the constitution and republic from the political left.

Veterans are used to having missions to accomplish and thus, their mission for the 2020 election is to do everything they can via the ballet box to protect and defend the constitution.  Due to the urgency and importance of the situation, an appeal also needs to be made for veterans to function as “force multipliers” thereby leveraging and expanding their defense of the constitution by securing additional votes for conservative candidates from non-veteran voters including independents, “moderate” liberals, and hopefully a large number of young millennial voters.  Veterans have a sphere/circle of influence among their families, friends, business associates, etc., where efforts can be made by highly motivated veterans to gain many additional votes for 2020 conservative candidates.

Suitable, bullet-type literature and short 3 to 5-minute videos specially designed for veterans need to be made available for group presentations and so forth.  Veterans need training and suggestions on how they can appeal to people in their sphere of influence to gain votes for conservative candidates in 2020.  In this regard, a short, concise narrative for veterans to use when talking to people needs to be developed.

On a national basis, veterans need to be approached per the above strategy primarily in states considered to be high risk states for conservative candidates.  If a substantial number of veterans become voter “force multipliers”, this may very well make the difference in some of these states.

Finally, it should be noted that there are approximately 21 million living American military veterans.  Roughly 4 to 5 million of these men and women currently belong to a veteran’s organization of some sort.  Depending on the success of the strategy proposed herein and in order to institutionalize this effort for future elections, consideration should be given to the formation of an entirely new, apolitical veteran’s organization dedicated to the defense and safeguarding of the United States Constitution via the ballot box.  The name of this new veteran’s organization could be “Veterans Alliance for Defending the Constitution” to signify its unique mission and importance. 

Such an organization could attract not only veterans belonging to established veterans organizations but also (and more importantly) a multitude of relatively inactive veterans who want to continue serving their nation and honoring their oath to defend the constitution by actively supporting political candidates who cherish and treasure the United States Constitution.

Paul S. Gardiner is a retired Army officer, Vietnam veteran, and member of the American Legion.  A graduate of the US Army War College, he and his wife of 50 years, Karen, reside in Hoschton, Georgia.

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Jack Thomas

The majority of American veterans are loyal to this country and to the principles of our Constitution. I think the author here has a good idea. Implementing it on a national level will be somewhat problematic and challenging, but it could be done. We need the votes of our military —- both active and retired — from every branch of service to help President Trump and the Republican Party to win in 2020. There is absolutely no doubt that the future of America is hanging in the balance. The socialist far-left will attempt to discredit, destroy, and disallow overseas “military absentee ballots” wherever they can. You can bet on it as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Why? Because the far-left radicals of the Democratic Party know the majority of absentee military ballots generally favor conservative candidates. Back in the 2000 Presidential Election, the Dems reportedly issued a… Read more »

David Robertson

I love and completely support this article and the Idea of uniting Veterans to vote for and support Candidates who will uphold the U.S. Constitution as it was intended. I would hope that all Americans would educate themselves on the importance of our Constitutional Republic with an understanding of the insight the founding fathers had on every government until it’s time. The success of the United States is not by mistake. There is leeway to make changes to better us as a nation but the basic principles should never be circumvented with changes that the U.S. Constitution would not support. Any major changes such as restructuring the electoral college, limiting the 2nd amendment or anything else needs to made by using the amendment process. Veterans could change the balance of politics forever with 21 million strong voting for only candidates who pledge to support the basic principles that this country… Read more »

LTC S

Veterans are people just like you and me. The biggest difference is that we felt a need to serve our country whereas most of our fellow citizens did not. We do feel a need to support each other. We are diverse as any group of Americans. But the point is, we are Americans. Appeal to us as Americans, show us your agenda is good for America and you’ll get our support. I won’ support you because you’re a Republican or a Democrat. And I will not support you as a socialist regardless of your affiliation. I won’t join a group or organization that wants to tell me how to vote. I will support you if I am convinced you are good for America and the American people. That’s my decision, I earned it and I won’t give it up. God Bless America….

Tom Traill

I totally agree with both of these comments posted. My question is, HOW can we, military veterans, let the ‘nation’ know that we support Trump and his visions and values for our country? Since military organizations will not endorse political candidates, what media outlet is established, or can be established, where military veterans/active personnel, can sign up (like a poll does), for all Americans to see the support WE are choosing. HOW do we let the country know WHO we are supporting?