Many people assume that all pro-lifers are Republicans. Like many assumptions, it’s incorrect. I am of the opinion that the Republican Party has taken the pro-life vote for granted for far too long, and if it keeps up, the GOP could be in big trouble. Here in Illinois, the Republican Party continues to suffer from an identity crisis. Last week, pro-abortion state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka won the nomination in the governor’s race, thanks largely to two pro-life candidates who split the pro-life vote. There is no way Topinka will win the general election. There are simply far too many pro-lifers in Illinois who are fed up with Republican strategists who assume they’ll vote for whomever the party nominates. Come November, a large number of these registered voters will either (a) stay home, or (b) vote for a third-party candidate — probably from the Constitution Party. Allan Carlson of the Howard Center wrote an article in today’s Weekly Standard that highlights the sense of abandonment felt by many “Values Voters” who played such a crucial role in re-electing President Bush and maintaining a Republican majority in both houses of Congress in 2004. The article, “Indentured Families,” is subtitled, “Social Conservatives and the GOP: Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Carlson opens:
In the internal politics of the Republican coalition, some members are consistently more equal than others. In particular, where the interests of the proverbial “Sam’s Club Republicans” collide with the interests of the great banks, the Sam’s Club set might as well pile into the family car and go home.
Later in the article, Carlson speculates that the Democratic party conceivably could, once again, win over social conservatives:
Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, who actually coined the phrase “Reagan Democrats,” argues that “a new, family-centered politics can define and revitalize the Democratic party.” Its message should highlight “family integrity and parental responsibility” and offer a “progressive vision of family support.” Greenberg even theorizes that “Roman Catholics would [again] rally to a Democratic party respectful of family and committed to defending government’s unique role in supporting it.” If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that. However, if a Democratic leader can ever shake that monkey off his–or her–back, and if this occurs in conjunction with an economic downturn, the prospects for another broad political realignment are fairly high. A new economic populism, delivering child-sensitive benefits and skewering predatory banks and bureaucrats, could work politically for a clever Democrat.
Wouldn’t that be interesting to see. Carlson concludes:
Moreover, when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party’s attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon’s infamous candid comment–“The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio”–suggests a common opinion among the dominant “K Street” Republicans toward their coalition allies. Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better–much better–toward social conservatives. They must creatively address pressing new family issues centered on debt burden. And they must learn to say “no” sometimes to Wall Street, lest they squander the revolutionary political legacy of Ronald Reagan.
Ditto, ditto, and ditto. Read the whole thing here.