Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why the GOP must address the Prop 8 ruling to Win in November

Political commentators, as well as the GOP themselves, are saying that the Republican party will not make the Proposition 8 issue a big deal for the coming midterms, and will instead be focusing on "bread and butter" issues such as the economy. Though the ruling, and gay rights in general, are getting reactions from some Republicans, the overall GOP response has been very well muted.

As Politico Reports...
When a federal judge in California last week ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, several political observers braced for a flood of Republican blasts on the issue that could end up resonating in campaigns nationally.
Instead, the anticipated GOP bang over the ban — known as Proposition 8 — amounted to little more than a whimper. There were angry columns and cries of protest from right-wing groups and conservative writers, but the majority of the Republican establishment kept on a bread-and-butter message — and party leaders are encouraging them not to stray.
The logic is simple. “Both sides fear this,” explained a senior Democrat. “(This) election is all about independents who are ambivalent on (certain social issues) right now."

A veteran national Republican strategist agreed, saying, “It raises an issue (Republicans would) rather not have to deal with ... (it’s) hard to walk to the line of opposing same sex-marriage and displaying enough tolerance to keep independents and Democrats comfortable enough to vote for you.”
Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, put it simply: “A modern party does not want a campaign that’s built around a crusade on gay rights. ... it won’t work, for one thing, and for another, it’s so controversial that it would obscure the nonpartisan appeal of the economic issue.”
He added, "I don’t think that moderates and independents get very excited about this.”
In fact, the people who tend to get the most excited on both sides are the party’s bases. Yet this year, in both the Republican and Democratic ranks, the bases are already raring to go.
In my humble opinion, I think that the Republicans are making a very very big mistake here. Much of the Republicans base are part of the Religious Right; a voting base that is very much "one trick pony" Aka - if you are not pro-life or pro-traditional marriage, they will not vote for you. Why is this important? Because, as Politico notes, the party bases are raring to go, yet in an attempt to woo moderates and independents to their side by not making social issues that important - possibly not mentioning them at all - the Republicans face the possibility of alienating a key core of their base - the value voters. 

The Value Voters will most likely see the Republican establishments "silence" on the Proposition 8 ruling in two ways. 

1. A cave to the pressures of the anti-Christian left; or
2. Putting political gain above the pro-traditional marriage principles.

Neither of these options will keep the value voters excited about the election. So Republicans, stop trying to woo the moderates, you first need to keep your base. 

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