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The Tolerance of Conflicting Convictions

Political campaigning and elections are an experience unlike anything else. This week, perhaps more than any other in the 12 years that I’ve been working in politics, exemplified how fascinating of a business and governing structure it is that we have.


On Monday, the first Democrat to file for local election entered the county commission district 4 race. He would drop out of the race just 48 hours later on Wednesday, though even in that brief window, there was another exit from the same race.


Republican candidate Phil Nichols, who had hired Concurrent’s parent company Winsler Consulting, also withdrew from the race on Tuesday.


These announcements were just two additional moves in a long string of political jockeying that has come to define a 2022 election cycle that had been otherwise quiet through most of the early goings of campaign season. Though almost all of 2021 remained free of politicking, 2022 has been a nonstop disarray of candidates entering or exiting races, changing races or looming large over races they haven’t entered like the case of Scott Adams and the county commission district 4 election.


It’s not always about who is involved in elections but rather what the races represent. Also on Tuesday, several primaries occurred around the nation but perhaps none as highly anticipated as the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia.


Incumbent Governor Brian Kemp faced former U.S. Senator David Perdue who former President Donald Trump had personally recruited after accusing Kemp of mishandling the 2020 election. Many forecasts showed Kemp winning the night comfortably, but failing to take 50% of the vote needed to prevent a runoff.


The results demonstrated how wrong even the experts can be. Kemp took over 73% of the vote in a convincing statement by Georgian Republicans that claims of widespread election fraud are largely fabrications. And I agree with them.


My belief that the 2020 election was not stolen is one of the examples of why I don’t brand the Concurrent as a conservative publication. The previous three columns have discussed how identity drives political beliefs rather than ideology and this may be one of the clearest examples of that.


In principle, a true conservative is someone who seeks to preserve the Union and would have an undying belief in the integrity of the American electoral system. However, to take the position that the election was not stolen is more than enough to have your commitment to conservatism questioned by many who claim to follow the ideology.


Word choice is important here.


Notice that I am not saying that I have convincing evidence that the election was fair and that everyone who believes in fraud is wrong. “My belief that the 2020 election was not stolen” is inconclusive and open-ended, allowing for the possibility that I could be wrong.


Though I’m not a big blame-the-media proponent, certainly the Hunter Biden laptop story first published by the New York Post and the great lengths that media companies, especially social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, went to in order to suppress potentially negative stories about the Biden family constitutes at the very least as severe journalistic malpractice if not borderline fraud.


Covid protocols that lacked some voter protections such as the increased use of ballot drop boxes warrants thorough evaluation. Even my statement of what the landslide Kemp victory in Georgia means for Republican sentiment needs some context because the secretary of state who was also the focus of fraud allegations won as well but by a much less convincing margin of just over 50%.


Questions over the 2020 election integrity have already been asked of our county commission candidates, even though their responses are entirely independent of their ability to be an effective county commissioner. It did become an issue where there is considerable disagreement among the candidates, which is a rarity in a Republican primary election making it noteworthy when coupled with the result of the Georgia primary elections on Tuesday.


The last column talked about the courage of delayed conviction, and this one is appropriately themed as the toleration of conflicting convictions. It is not in my power to prove one side, including my own, convincingly right, but I can work harder to reason my thoughts with consistent conservative principles while being open-minded to what others believe.


If there’s one thing I’ve learned about elections in the dozen years of doing this, it’s that no one can know it all and to be wary of the ones who pretend they do.


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