Randy Balko grew up in a "particularly conservative" part of Indiana, but he's a senior editor for Reason magazine, so dismiss his observation as a libertarian rant if you want to. But he makes a lot of sense to me:
The truth is, unless you vote for a third-party candidate (which really isn't a bad idea), you don't have much of a choice this November. You can either endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-left ideology, or you can endorse the idea of a massive, invasive, ever-encroaching federal government that's used to promote center-right ideology.
Sadly, if the GOP does lose, it's likely to be interpreted not as a repudiation of the GOP's excesses, but as an endorsement of the Democrats'. When the only two parties who have a chance at winning both have a track record of expanding the size and scope of government, every election is likely to be interpreted as a win for big government — only the brand changes.
Voting yourself more freedom simply isn't an option, at least if you want your vote to be taken seriously (and I'm not denigrating any third parties here; I'm just reflecting reality).
Which brings me back to why the Republicans need to get throttled. A humiliated, decimated GOP that rejuvenates and rebuilds around the principles of limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism is really the only chance for voters to possibly get a real choice in federal elections down the road.
Neither major party is really dedicated to the principles of liberty and limited government. A third party will never gain enough of a foothold to make a difference -- even if it does, it's just as likely to be populist as libertarian. The only hope is for a major party to get back to its ideals, which means our hopes, pitiful as they might be, are tied to the Republicans coming to their senses. A huge humiliation in a couple of weeks won't guarantee the party will take stock and regroup, but it's our best shot.