I’m wondering how the corporate/libertarian wing of the GOP placate social conservatives this time, and what that means in terms of attracting Independents:
Social issues barely rated in this year’s economy-centric midterm elections. More than six in 10 voters who cast ballots on Election Day cited the economic downturn as their top concern, according to exit polls. But major GOP gains in state legislatures across the country – where policy on social issues is often set – left cultural conservatives newly empowered. Opponents of same-sex marriage, for instance, now see an opportunity to block or even reverse recent gains by gay rights advocates in Minnesota and New Hampshire.
If you believe, as I do, that the Tea Party was packaged and sold by corporate interests to serve a very narrow agenda that consists of low tax rates for wealthy people and no regulation, they’re going to have a real problem with the base if they don’t focus on social issues.
“Americans voted overwhelmingly for both social and fiscal conservatives, and it would be unwise to throw social policies to the wayside and snub the voters who sent a strong message to the new Congress that they want both pro-life and fiscally conservative policies. In our post-election poll, when asked to name the biggest issue facing future generations, 62 percent of voters said it is the moral decline of our nation.”
And then there’s this:
Two-thirds of the Republican wins came in districts where the percentage of people classified as rural was greater than average. Democrats saw many of their small-town icons retire or go down in defeat, along with younger members who had been renewing the party’s appeal in the hinterland. The few rural Democrats who remain will face another tough election in 2012. Rural America has long been associated with conservatism. Small towns tend to be older and whiter, and they often have more military veterans. Those are all groups that lean Republican.
NPR missed part of the story. They’re not just older and whiter. Social conservatives came out, and opposing abortion rights and marriage equality are going to be huge for them, as always.
It is absolutely central to the social conservative voter’s self-image that they be fighting to defend something Big and Worthy and Righteous, and tax cuts and the inherent beauty of the corporate form aren’t going to cut it.
They need issues like LIFE or MARRIAGE or FAMILY, or they sit it out. They haven’t miraculously turned into glib, ironic, pot-smoking libertarian-types, despite the Koch propaganda and Grover Norquist’s fantasies. That’s silly. They’re the same voters they always were.
They’re rural, they’re religious, and they’re dead-earnest.
Former President Bush gave the business/libertarian gang tax cuts galore by 2004, along with a war of choice to placate the neoconservatives. He still had to flog virulently anti-gay initiatives at the state level in crucial markets to inspire social conservatives to come out and drag him over the finish line.
Nothing’s changed on that, no matter how many times media coyly ignore the obvious.