“Since the loss of the presidential election and some key US Senate seats in November, the Republican Party has been doing a great deal of introspection and constituent evaluation. This process culminated this week with the release of the Republican National Committee’s self-titled “Growth and Opportunity Project.”
One of the points repeated a couple of times in different sections with slightly different wording is this, quoted directly from the report, “On messaging, we must change our tone—especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters. In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.”
I’m no highly-paid or high-powered political consultant, strategist or pollster, but I think the Republican Party is headed for a disaster if they follow this path. This isn’t a surprise to those of who are involved in politics. For several election cycles now, the Republicans have blamed social conservatives and our pesky so-called “social issues” for their losses, often up and down the ticket.
Influential US Senator-from Ohio Rob Portman’s announcement last week added fuel to the fire. Portman says he now supports the legal redefining of marriage because it’s personal for him. His 21-year-old son has come out as a homosexual. Some are saying Portman is just the tip of the spear on this issue, that now that he has publicly announced his 180-degree reversal on marriage so will other prominent Republicans.
I’ve also noticed a growing list of younger ostensibly conservative media types who are adding their names in public to supporting same-sex marriage. This would seem to lend credence to the findings and recommendations in the GOP’s “Growth and Opportunity Project.”
But that’s only if you are only about winning and losing elections. Too often it appears that’s all the major parties are about, in spite of the high-sounding rhetoric we often hear. As Governor Walker has repeatedly said, elections and elected officials should be about the next generation not the next election.
The Republicans would, I think, be well advised to take a long hard look at what they are recommending. Essentially they are saying if their principles get in the way of winning elections, change the principles. After all, does marriage really matter? What really matters is whether or not there’s a capital R after an elected official’s name, right?
The two main social issues are, of course, life and marriage. Abortion became tricky for Republican leadership this last cycle because of some unfortunate missteps and misstatements from a few of their candidates. And unlike the liberals when their candidates do similar things, the Republicans abandoned and disavowed these candidates in a nano second. In the wake of all this, some Republican leaders have indicated they want complete control the primaries in order to ensure candidates they want get on the general election ballot so that they reduce the likelihood of these messy situations on these messy issues. Good-by grassroots politics; hello national control—something that is supposedly anathema for Republicans.
The importance of the life issue notwithstanding, I believe marriage is the main issue the Republicans are struggling with right now. The new platform passed in the fall is very clear on the subject—the Republican Party stands firmly on the belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman. But apparently that was only if they won the election.
The way to bring the youth vote and the women’s vote and the rest of the conservatives who stayed home in 2012 is to educate them, not change your principles. Young people in particular have been so brainwashed on this issue and many others by the public schools that of course they see this as a civil rights issue. They have never been told the other side of the story. They don’t know why marriage between a man and a woman is the foundational societal institution. They have bought the lies that marriage is just about love and some fuzzy notion of commitment, that children don’t need both a mom and a dad. They’ve bought the lies because no one has done much of anything to challenge the lies.
Remaking yourself and abandoning core principles is a dangerous response to losing an election. In my opinion it shows real arrogance and ignorance—both of which are phenomenally dangerous. There is a different path, a path of courage and conviction with a strong determination to educate not capitulate.”