Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
Now that the 2012 election has come and gone, it is clear the Republican Party lost in many ways. With these defeats, both in Senate seats and, more importantly, the White House, it is easy to assume the Republican Party is reeling and that it must re-evaluate its core or suffer similar defeats in the future.
This opinion recently was featured in the State News letter to the editor, “Republican Party must change or die.” However, as a Republican, I do not see the values upon which the party stands — the unwavering stance against gay marriage and abortion — as positions many believe will lead to the GOP’s downfall. Rather, in many ways, they are the source of my party’s strength.
Popular media today has turned issues, such as gay marriage and reproductive rights, into a simple question for many people, especially young voters. Indeed, although I consider myself both a devout Christian and a conservative, I cannot, with good conscience, advocate against gay marriage or a woman’s right to choose. However, that is an example of how I differ from my party’s central platform. I am a Republican not because I am socially conservative, but because I don’t believe spending is the way out of a recession, I favor a strong military and I don’t believe the solution to illegal immigration is amnesty and offers of entitlements.
This divergence should not be seen as a solitary exception; many republicans are like me, and unfortunately, many more people are beginning to see us conservatives as a homogenous group.
We are not — we are as diverse as our counterparts on the left. It would be incorrect to assume all Republicans exist simply to “take us back to the 1950s,’”make the rich richer or impose our religion on all Americans, just as it would be wrong to assume all democrats were anti-capitalist hippies. Both parties have those extremes, and both those extremes are the minority.
The reason I see the Republican Party’s defense of traditional values as its strength is because, despite public perception, the majority of America still sides with the GOP. Conversely, the Democratic Party is a gathering of warring tribes; this can be seen when one looks at how each of the Democrats’ four pillars, what Jesse Jackson once called the “Rainbow Coalition,” what Steve Sailer called the party of four races — blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics — vote. These four demographics, five if one includes the youth vote, often contradict each other, showing a clear lack of unity.
On the issue of gay marriage, many see the GOP’s dedication to the traditional family structure as oppressive and intolerant of homosexuals. However, although public opinion favoring or opposing gay marriage is relatively split, the same cannot be said when one looks into the subgroups.
Although dropping, the majority of minorities still oppose gay marriage. This can be seen if one looks at the voting trends when gay marriage goes on the ballot — it usually loses. The letter I mentioned above says that the majority of Americans favor gay marriage, but if one looks at the only measure that matters, election results, it is clear this preference toward gay marriage has yet to appear in the voting booths.
On the issue of immigration and immigration rights, it is easy to accuse the Republican Party of being racist or discriminatory against immigrants. However, registered republicans are not alone in their positions on immigration, amnesty, voting rights and public services. According to the Pew Research Center, when polled, it is clear Asians resent affirmative action because they often are excluded. Youths, another consistently Democratic group, vote like republicans on issues that affect them. In 2010, the 17th Biannual Youth Survey on Politics and Public Service was conducted by the Harvard University Institute of Politics. On the proposition, “Qualified minorities should be given special preferences in colleges and hiring,” 14 percent agreed, 57 percent disagreed.
The subject of abortion is not nearly as simple as good vs. evil, democrat vs. republican. On abortion and immigration issues (such as amnesty), blacks often vote like republicans. Indeed, a Pew Research Center study shows the nation still is very divided on abortion, not just republicans, as the polarized letter mentioned above implies.
During his last two victories, Obama has averaged 94 percent of the black vote, 69 percent of the Hispanic vote and 41 percent of the white vote. If either of Obama’s two opponents had accumulated at least 70 percent of the white vote, they would have won, no matter how minorities voted. Had Mitt Romney kept the votes he received from minorities, he only would have needed to increase his share of the white vote to 67 percent (both of these statistics are assuming Obama would not lose any votes, meaning the new votes would come from voters who abstained).
I do not want this column to be construed to mean one voter group is inherently better; rather, it is my goal to point out the fact that the largest voter demographic should be given the most attention; and that this large group of voters should be addressed by appealing to their values. To put it plainly, the values that the majority of the white demographic share also are the values of the Republican Party.
Therefore, if the Republicans abandoned these values and became less conservative in order to appease another part of the electorate, and thus alienate their base, the GOP would cease to exist.
The GOP needs to return to conservatism, but also in a clarifying fashion. They preach family values, small government and low taxes while mistakenly playing the Democrats’ game: social issues. Rather than wasting time on issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, they should make it clear that they, at a national level, are not going to get involved.
They should make it clear those issues belong to the states; they should live the meaning of conservatism and let people handle their own business — be it gay marriage, marijuana use, abortion, etc. — while the government handles national interests. Democrats pander to minorities and pretend to be the benevolent party, and that has worked well for them.
The Republicans must return to their winning strategy — conservatism and fiscal sensibility — if they ever hope to save this nation.
Jameson Joyce is a guest columnist at The State News and a James Madison sophomore. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.