One of the most disturbing things about the last election is that Obama managed to win election despite losing millions of votes. That’s because Romney didn’t improve on the vote total of the hapless McCain. This means many more voters just couldn’t be bothered this time. In particular, there was a drop of
the evangelical vote in certain key states. John G. West has written an informative piece in the February 2013 issue of
First Things, The Evangelical Voter, which points out:
“In Ohio, the percentage of white Evangelicals rose from 25 percent of the electorate in 2004 to 31 percent this year. According to CNN, Romney received
only 68 percent of their votes in Ohio, slightly less than McCain’s lackluster campaign received in 2008, and a drop of eight points from the 76 percent
who voted for Bush in 2004. Romney’s loss in support from Evangelicals in Ohio translated into nearly 115,000 votes, more than enough to lose the state.
“According to exit polls in Colorado, Romney received 76 percent of the white Evangelical vote, the same as McCain but a precipitous drop of ten points
from Bush’s 2004 support. This translated into more than 59,000 votes, which again lost him the state.”
This certainly wasn’t for any lack of trying on my part. I repeatedly advocated that
even those who didn’t find Romney conservative enough should still vote for him
, because Obama is a fanatical hater of both the Church and the free market.
I also wrote on the idiocy of the “send a message to the Republicans” crowd, because the
message received was: leftism wins! So not surprisingly, the House Republicans have again appeased Obama, although he refused even to slow the runaway spending. And on moral issues, we even see Newt, whom I advocated for and defended in the GOP Primaries arguing that the Republicans should drop opposition to gay “marriage”. Of course, that would mean kissing good bye to millions more evangelical voters forever, while the GOP would hardly pick up any gays or libertarians.
Republicans have clearly failed to reach out to evangelicals. Yet social conservatism is one of the three stools of conservatism, which helped Reagan win big majorities. Pure libertarianism, or “fiscal conservative
but socially liberal” politics, just can’t stand as a political philosophy—and it clearly doesn’t win many votes.
Indeed, back in 2004, Republican power-broker Karl Christian Rove helped President Bush Jr. win re-election precisely by “playing up Bush’s faith and opposition to gay marriage.” This helped energize many millions more conservative Christian votes, 80% of whom voted for Bush against Kerry. Indeed, another incentive for them to turn out was that 11 states had ballots to defend marriage as one man and one woman, and they passed with 70% support.
But once they had voted, Rove acted as if ignoring their concerns would keep their votes. Not surprisingly, many conservative Christians felt used by the Republican party instead. As West said:
“Many Evangelicals would like candidates who aren’t embarrassed by Evangelical views on social issues. The Republican establishment, including Romney, spent much of the last election running away from issues like abortion. They mistakenly believed that if they never spoke about social issues they would broaden their base of support.”
Evangelicals and Tea Party vs. the GOP Establishment
However, for the last two Presidential elections, we have had candidates and campaigners who seemed almost embarrassed to have Evangelical voters. They
thought they could take them for granted and ignore their main concerns, such as protecting life even in the womb and defending marriage against the GayStapo onslaught.
However, the establishment Republicans are aiming for more of the same.
Karl Rove abandoned what worked for Bush and has instead formed a new PAC to try to promote “electable” moderate Republicans in the primaries . This has been described as a declaration of war against socially conservative and Tea Party candidates—which in many cases are the same thing.
But it was precisely the “electable” moderates McCain and Romney who lost the White House to a far-left fanatic like Obama. And that’s not the only thing
Rove has gotten wrong. He predicted a landslide victory for Romney in the week before the election. And back in 2006,
Rove predicted that the Republicans would win both the House and Senate, but it was a disaster, with the Dems taking both. And this was largely due to conservative disgust with the big-spending policies that Rove strongly advocated. Michelle Malkin points out that Rove was:
“architect behind the disastrous Medicare prescription drug entitlement expansion that created an unfunded liability of $9.4 trillion over the next 75 years, No Child Left Behind federal education expansion, steel tariffs, ag subsidies, the McCain–Feingold campaign finance law and the Bush-Kennedy-McCain illegal alien amnesty attempt.”
This was a tragedy for the country, because the Democrats held the House and Senate long enough to give Obama both the disastrous trillion-dollar Spendulus and Obamacare.
On the other side, it was precisely the Tea Party that was responsible for the great
2010 gains in the House. Yet these are the types that Rove wants to eliminate in primaries. It was also thanks to the Tea Party that the appeaser John Boehner replaced Nancy Pelosi as speaker, but
he tries to marginalize them every chance he gets.
Some final thoughts
The evidence of history is that Republicans win big when they encourage the base—all three legs of conservatism. They lose when they try to be
Democrat-lite: conservatives don’t bother to vote, and liberals keep preferring the real thing over the imitation. The GOP establishment also needs to
reject the Leftmedia term of “extremism” for what most Americans favor: marriage as one man and one woman, reining in federal spending, and at least some
protection of life in the womb. Instead, point out that the Democrats are the extreme ones: now the party of gay “marriage”, taxpayer-funded partial-birth
abortion, and trillions more dollars in national debt.