A colleague of mine at Breitbart News said recently in response to some social conservative tactic that disappointed him, “This is why you [social conservatives] are losing.”
He really believes that. He believes we are losing.
Like many conservatives, my colleague cares about the social conservative issues, but cares more deeply about the other two legs of the conservative stool: economics and national security. And he is under the illusion those issues are doing better than ours, that those who work on those issues are somehow better and smarter and more savvy than the religious right.
I contend first that the success of conservative economics and national security are due largely to the reliable foot soldiers of the Christian right. But more than that, working against greater odds than any other part of the coalition, social conservatives have been the most successful part of the conservative coalition. This seems counterintuitive given that abortion is the law of the land still and gay marriage may be imposed any day now. But it is true nonetheless.
Economic conservatives are happy to note that taxes are lower today than they were before Reagan, but they also have to contend with the fact that the US government is bigger now and growing bigger every day. And regulation? Is there any area of our private lives the federal government does not see a role for itself?
While it is arguable that the most successful part of the conservative triad is national security this was due almost completely to the Cold War and after our win there even that issue faded. The U.S. may still have the most powerful economy and most powerful military in the world. But it is also clear that most Americans are happy to allow our world dominance to wither. Even in the age of ISIS it has been a long time since that issue drove a national election.
What about the social issues?
We begin with Roe v. Wade. It is a solid rock. While social conservatives have been pretty wily in going around it, the only way to ultimate victory is right through it. This means moving the people, the US Senate, the president who appoints justices to the Supreme Court and ultimately the Court itself.
Recall, that on the day it was handed down, the issue was declared closed and settled by the New York Times and by virtually all elites.
Within society, within all the power centers of our time, within the Republican Party, and even within the conservative movement, elites left, right and center have opposed pro-lifers.
Some would say the scenario that greeted pro-lifers that day in January 1973 was utterly impossible. Pro-lifers started out so deep in the hole hardly anyone thought they could dig out.
The Supreme Court has upheld a ban on an abortion procedure.
Courts have upheld state restrictions that have made it more difficult to get abortions and for abortionists to practice their grisly trade. We are on the cusp of 20-week abortion bans around the country.
Most Americans now believe that most abortions should be illegal and the ground has been well prepared by pro-lifers so it will not surprise even pro-aborts when the Supreme Court overturns Roe. In fact, even some of their scholars openly admit Roe was badly decided.
With marriage, it is much the same story. The gays began fulminating for faux marriage and they lost. They lost and lost and lost. They lost more than 30 statewide races. They only won three. So, what did they do? Like abortion advocates who knew they could not win in a democratic venue, they went to the courts. When you read this, it may well be they were successful there and the U.S. has become only the second nation to have faux marriage imposed by a court.
To be sure, polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support faux marriage. But that was always so. Polls always showed us losing. That is even more evident now after people have seen what happens to people and their livelihoods if they are ever outed by the gay fascists. Even so with the exception of three elections, we won them all, even in liberal states like California and even during Democratic primaries when it was expected faux marriage supporters would have an advantage.
Economic conservatives cannot say they are opposed by elites everywhere. Even some Democrats call for lower taxes and less regulation. Even so, their project has largely failed as government continues to increase in size and intrusiveness.
Neither can national security conservatives say they are opposed by elites. Indeed major action by our military is usually greeted with elite support even among Democrats. Look at them applauding the Obama drone strikes indiscriminately killing civilians. Even so, Americans of all stripes are willing to let our leadership role die.
Next time you are at a cocktail party in New York, DC or L.A. announce yourself as an economic conservative or for a strong national defense and you might get a debate but probably not. Announce your opposition to both abortion and gay marriage and you’ll be in for a fight and maybe a bloody nose.
What is the lesson? Against impossible odds, against all the elites of our time, against all the powers of the earth, most Americans are still with us on life and family issues. I don’t know that economic or national security conservatives can say that. In fact, those folks can learn a thing or two from us.
And for those who think we will fold our tents and flee if the Supreme Court goes crazy on marriage, you have no idea who we are.