You are browsing the archive for 2015 July 01.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Republicans Amid Changing Opinions on Social Issues

July 1, 2015 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

The Supreme Court decision striking down state bans on same-sex marriage has reignited the culture wars and highlighted potential fault lines for Republican presidential contenders.

Social issues pose a difficult conundrum for Republicans. On the one hand, there is little doubt that an overly strident rhetoric costs the GOP support among independents, moderates, and suburbanites who might otherwise be attracted to Republican candidates on economic issues. Rick Santorum promising to use the presidential bully pulpit to preach against contraception or the “legitimate rape” musings of Todd Akin leave an impression that cannot be easily erased. On the other hand, religious conservatives remain an essential component of the Republican coalition. By some estimates as many as 40 percent of GOP primary voters identify themselves as white evangelical Christians. Republican presidential candidates, therefore, must walk a very fine line, satisfying their base without alienating general-election swing voters.

Gay marriage poses a particular problem. Polls show that nearly two-thirds of Americans support gay marriage, including 37 percent of Republicans. Young Americans are even more likely to favor gay marriage — some 78 percent, according to Gallup. Indeed, gay marriage is very nearly a threshold question for many young voters: They will not support a candidate opposed to gay marriage even if they agree with that candidate on other issues. And, according to Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, 60 percent of independent swing voters back marriage equality.

With a few notable exceptions, most of the GOP candidates would prefer to fight the upcoming campaign on economic and foreign-policy issues.”

The Republican presidential candidates are deeply split on the issue. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich expressed pro forma disagreement with the Court’s decision, but quickly indicated that the issue is now settled and it’s time to move on. They pledged to fight for religious freedom (preserving the rights of those who do not wish to participate in gay weddings, for example), but suggested that they will spend their time talking about economic and foreign-policy issues.

In contrast, other candidates, including Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, focused on rallying the faithful, with Huckabee urging massive civil disobedience. While Huckabee’s stance in particular should play well with conservative electorates in Iowa and South Carolina, he risks looking like George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door come the general election.

And, if it was possible to take a harder line …read more

Source: OP-EDS