There are two rooms. Room 1 and Room 2. Both of these rooms have heating and air, but only Room 1 has a thermostat to control the settings. Person A is in Room 1, and Person B is in Room 2. These rooms are not connected, the two people cannot directly communicate. Person A does physically control the thermostat, but there are guidelines they follow in order to regulate use of the thermostat. Those regulations are set by Person C, who is the currently elected Room Manager. Person D is running against Person C in the next election.
Person B is often cold, and would like for the thermostat to be, on average, 1 degree warmer. Person D is running on a platform that included increasing the temperature policies to allow for a 1 degree warmer setting. But Room Manager does more than regular temperature policy. They also set the meal menu. Person D’s platform also includes making the menu healthier by replacing the Thursday night Hot Pockets with a chef prepared mini calzone. Person B really liked the Hot Pockets on Thursdays, and so in the election vote for Person C, whose platform keeps the menu the same, but also shifts the temperature policy 1 degree colder.
Person B complains that it’s too cold, but keeps voting for Person C, who likes it cold. Person B complains that if only Person D would remove the menu change from their platform, then they would vote for Person D. They keep voting for Person C, and their room continues to be cold.
When I hear people say that they are “conservative NOT Republican” trying to distance themselves from some awful policy the Republican party is pushing, I always ask them, “So, since you disagree with them, you’re not going to vote for them?” But they will vote for the Republican, because the Republican is the conservative choice. They’ll lament that they would vote Democrat if the Democrats would just nominate a conservative, but they are missing the point.
If you keep voting for a party even when you disagree with them, they have no incentive to change. They are getting your vote. In order for your vote to affect policy, your vote has to be in play. You have to be willing to vote against your party and FOR a party you disagree with even more, or else your party has no reason to listen to you.
There are conservatives, Republicans, out there who hate Trump, but as long as they keep checking the box for the names with the Rs next to them, the party doesn’t care.
And this isn’t just a jab at Republicans and conservatives. Do you want to know how you get a more progressive candidate for the Democrat party? You vote for them. You won’t get a more progressive candidate by saying you want one, then voting for the establishment candidate. They don’t listen to talk. They listen to votes.
And this also holds true for really awful candidates. When your party puts out a candidate who is complete trash, you HAVE to vote against them. If you cave and vote for the party anyway, they’ll just give you more terrible candidates. Why would they put effort into finding better or even just reasonable candidates if you are willing to vote for the trash ones that are a dime a dozen?