One of the refrains that leftist newscasters (but I repeat myself) oft repeat is that the Republican Party is in trouble because it embraces its radical right wing kook fringe. The premise is that if the GOP would just get rid of social conservatives and focus only on maintaining fiscal conservatives, the GOP would win elections again.
Given that this advice comes from leftists, conservatives already ought to reject it (since when does the opposition really care about helping their enemy win elections?). However, since there is a libertarian wing that is fiscally conservative while socially liberal, they echo these claims too.
That’s why examining the recent initiatives in California and Maine are so important. In California, the courts ruled that gay marriage should be allowed because there was nothing in the state constitution to deny it. So social conservatives passed a constitutional amendment to outlaw it. Even though Obama carried the state by a wide margin, gay marriage failed.
Ditto in Maine, where the only distinction is that the legislature passed the law instead of the courts ruling it. Still, it was not put to a popular vote, and once it was…gay marriage was defeated. In fact, in every state (31 total) where gay marriage has been put to a vote, it has been defeated.
And more importantly, in the California election, the initiative came at the same time as the presidential election. Which means there were a lot of people casting a vote for Obama and Proposition 8 at the same time. In Maine, homosexual activists were quite vocal in trying to keep the law the legislature had passed, yet they failed too.
Because of libertarians, we know that one can be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. But voting evidence indicates there are also a sizeable number who are fiscally liberal while remaining socially conservative. This is why California and Maine could vote for a liberal president and still vote against gay marriage.
If the GOP wants to win elections, they have to stop nominating “moderate” candidates and return to their socially conservative base. The public consistently votes for socially conservative initiatives even in liberal states. This means liberals must rely on the courts to impose their agenda, because they lack popular support.
Why anyone would consider socially conservative voters to be a weak-point in their party can only be explained by willful blindness.