Stanek weekend question: Why are social conservatives losing the gay debate but winning the pro-life debate?
Conservative politico Matt Lewis wrote at Politics Daily on December 10:
Social conservative groups… don’t have the juice they used to. Nobody on the right wants to admit this publicly, but they’ve lost clout in recent years….
The immediate push-back from conservatives is not simply to concede the diminished stature of social conservatism, but to explain it away, arguing that issues are cyclical – that times have simply changed the focus to a different set of issues (in this case, the economy and security)….
Dismissing the decline of social conservatism by saying the times have changed also lets social conservative leaders off the hook. The truth is that, for a variety of reasons, most social conservative organizations are simply not as efficient or effective as their counterparts.
Think of it this way: If you are a Republican politician who votes for a tax increase, you’re probably toast. People are afraid of fiscally conservative groups like the Club for Growth. Those groups put real money into primaries.
Is anybody afraid of social conservatives these days? I don’t think so….
These days, social conservative groups have few carrots and even fewer sticks.
Of course, it could be that the issue isn’t that social conservatives are losing across the board, but rather that they simply lost on one of their core concerns – the gay issue.
As Reagan biographer Craig Shirley told me:
Social issues will never go away, however, and according to polling, the pro-life position has made dramatic gains in the last several years….
As I’ve noted before, conservatives ranging from Ann Coulter to Tucker Carlson to Grover Norquist have affiliated themselves to one degree or another with gay groups, and have faced little in the way of punishment for their moves.
As Shirley stated, the pro-life issue appears to be alive and well, and in fact, while young people appear to be more open to gay marriage, they also tend to be more pro-life. This is politically significant when you consider that the modern GOP didn’t realize electoral success until after pro-lifers were incorporated into the coalition.
The weekend questions again: Are social conservatives losing the gay debate but winning the pro-life debate? If so, why? And does this really matter to pro-lifers?