There are many reasons Conservatives have been reticent to press the culture war. Many of them were acted upon by Mitt Romney only for those conventions to be blown away by Trump winning in 2016. The Republican Party hates running on culture issues instead wanting only to use issues like abortion as shiny objects for show votes. But we must remember, Trump won and Romney and McCain lost. Trump ran on a culture issue: immigration. He won. And in my opinion, Trump made it highly difficult for him to win, not because of the issues he was running on, but because of his personality. So let that be encouragement.
For a Rainbow jihad fatwa will come after you if you aren’t attracted to a man in drag. They will pass legislation to make possessing certain guns illegal. You will be called a racist. They are already passing legislation protecting infanticide. If we do not press these issues, we will lose. If we stay silent, as Erick Erickson so famously said, we will be made to care.
But Wait! The economy is doing great
Republicans will want to focus on the economy and there is nothing wrong with that. To quote The Road to El Dorado, “both is good.” There is no reason we cannot do both. Reasonably speaking, it means we are going to have to sacrifice certain talking points. I nominate the Russian Hoax, as people are already tired of hearing about it, whereas, cultural issues such as Brian Sims dominated Conservative news cycles. People are motivated by cultural issues. Guns, illegal immigration, and abortion are among the top single issue voting groups. In 2012, Republicans ran on jobs, jobs, jobs and lost, lost, lost.
Trump can press the economy in 2020 and use it to get people to reelect him as they would any other incumbent. But reelecting Trump to maintain the economy is not a win so much as it’s not a defeat. Because let’s be honest, if the Republicans pass a balanced budget with a plan to pay off the debt in say twenty years, the economy would contract. We would undoubtedly go into recession and unemployment would rise due to a reduction in public sector jobs. Are we, as Conservatives, willing to bite that bullet? I hope so. If so, the message of austerity contradicts the message of the economy, why should the economy be our main focus? Recessions are temporary and a natural part of the business cycle as our economy evolves. The Great Depression only lasted as long as they did because of the intervention from progressives like Herbert Hoover and FDR. The Republican Party is unwilling to bite this bullet. They aren’t fiscally responsible. Coincidentally, they aren’t willing to defund Planned Parenthood, despite how they donate to candidates who run against them. Let me take that back, it’s not a coincidence. If we look at the Liberty Score of Republicans, you will see that the most socially conservative are also the most fiscally responsible as well. I am hardpressed to find an exception. Socially liberal fiscally conservative doesn’t exist in the real world today. Why? Because being fiscally conservative requires a socially conservative worldview. My evidence for this assertion is Congress.
In order to get these ends, we need to engage in the culture war as a means. Increasing spending does not earn a Republican a primary challenge. But being soft on illegal immigration will. Marco Rubio didn’t win the nomination in 2016. So it’s safe to conclude that illegal immigration is a more energizing issue than national debt. Once again, going back to 2012, Mitt Romney floated self-deportation in the primary but steered clear of illegal immigration in the general. He said he was pro-life, but ran ads to assure people he wouldn’t act on his pro-life stance. But enough using Romney as a punching bag for being a loser. Ron DeSantis in Florida ran on a Trump platform in Florida, without the Trump personality and upset Andrew Gillum in what was supposed to be a blue wave. Kim Reynolds, in swing state Iowa, signed a heartbeat bill into law in May 2018. She went on to pull perhaps the most surprising upset in the 2018 Midterm Elections in what will be a swing state in 2020. Meanwhile obvious RINO Martha McSally couldn’t beat one of the most overtly anti-American candidates in Kyrsten Sinema, in a mild red state.
But let’s look at this from the Left’s perspectives. Indiana and Texas are roughly comparable in terms of the GOP’s advantage. Beto O’Rourke came close while the “moderate” Democrat in Indiana got owned, double digits despite polling ahead, against who in my opinion was a shaky candidate. Back on the right John James ran a solid campaign in Michigan, despite losing, meanwhile the Republican in Wisconsin got trounced. Energy is the name of the game and when Conservatives bring it, we perform better. Conservatives bring that energy by fighting the culture war.
Are minorities more socially conservative then the Democrat Party? Yes. Do these same minorities tend to economic liberals? Yes. So which is the best way to reach minorities, by emphasizing the issues we have in common or by arguing that we need to roll back entitlements. I’ll take the former, because the Democrats are a confederacy, and social conservatism stands a better chance at weakening the confederacy.
Politics Downstream From Culture
The Andrew Breitbart quote is beyond true. Previously I wrote that our society was fiscally irresponsible, therefore why should we be surprised that this same society elects Lindsey Grahams and Mitch McConnells. The ideals of the American Revolution were preached in churches years before 1775. The 2nd Great Awakening preceded the abolition of slavery. Progressive theology preceded progressive policies. Cultural leftism has so far preceded socialist policies. Look at Marianne Williams who was a thought leader for a new age cult long before she was a socialist candidate. So what am I saying? Socially conservative policies will precede fiscally conservative policies.
A Caveat of Trump and State Governments
Now the first objection to this claim is that Trump has implemented some socially conservative policies. Let’s take immigration, for example, where Trump is most willing to make a bad deal with Democrats to resolve the issue. A border wall is not worth amnesty. DACA should not be kept under any circumstances. Furthermore, Trump is far too easily swayed by Ivanka and Jared Kushner who will only lead his governance astray. But if there were a Congress full of Conservatives, we would see far fewer weaknesses in the President. Congress is supposed to be the most powerful branch. If they sent Trump a balanced budget, Trump would undoubtedly sign it.
State governments, by their smaller nature, are often times ran more fiscally responsible and have balanced budget requirements in their constitutions. In fact, many legislatures either meet every other year or session that is a segment within the year. These relics of a more agrarian culture that placed high esteem on limited government are hard to undo. But legislatures like that in Annapolis will do their damage within their session.
Conservatives shouldn’t cater to people who don’t exist, rather they should fight the culture war because there are gains in this war that will lead to a culture more willing to accept austere measures. We can only win the culture war if we fight for it. We can only end abortion if we fight for it. We can only end illegal immigration if we fight for it. Play offense. Make the left defend infanticide and ask the average uninformed American: do they want that person in office? Make them uncomfortable by sending illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, so that they will feel the cost of their own ideology. Make them admit that they believe black Americans are less competent than white Americans. Have them explain the difference between a semiautomatic and fully automatic firearm. Maybe then we can finally eliminate policies such as the outdated and cost burdensome Social Security or end the long failed war on poverty.
If politics flows downstream from culture as American history has long shown, in order for Conservatives to win, we must win the culture war.