From front-runners like Jeb Bush to not-a-chance-in-hell contenders like Rick “Frothy” Santorum or Bobby Jindal, every single potential Republican presidential candidate (with the possible exception of Rand Paul) has made opposition to gay marriage part of their platform. While there’s a divide between the hardcore social conservatives like Huckabee and those who strive to portray themselves as more moderate, the two things they can agree on are the ideas that Christians are being persecuted in America, and that allowing same-sex unions would somehow destroy the sanctity of Donald Trump’s third marriage.
The Republican Party’s refusal to let go of an issue that should be settled by the Supreme Court in June is a Catch 22 situation they’ve painted themselves into by pandering to religious conservatives and disenfranchised Dixiecrats for the last few decades during the “culture wars” that peaked during the 1990s. During this time, Republicans became so dependent on the far right that they’re unable to win most elections without this demographic and/or convincing the left not to turn out. Rather than plot a course back toward the middle, the GOP has steadily marched toward the fringe, as evidenced by the election of candidates like Louie Gohmert, Joni Ernst, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton.
The GOP’s great right migration is the biggest story in American politics of the past 40 years. And it’s not just limited to Congress: GOP presidents have gotten steadily more conservative, too; conservative Republicans increasingly dominate state politics; and the current Republican appointees on the Supreme Court are among the most conservative in the Court’s modern history. The growing extremism of Republicans is the main cause of increasing gridlock in Washington, the driving force behind the rise in scorched-earth tactics on Capitol Hill, an increasing contributor to partisan conflict and policy dysfunction at the state level, and the major cause of increasing public disgust with Washington—which, not coincidentally, feeds directly into the Republicans’ anti-government project. (Source)
While this strategy allows them to control many state legislatures and Congress, no Republican has easily won the White House since 1988 when George H.W. Bush won by an electoral landslide and 54 percent of the vote. A solid majority of Americans now accept the idea that gay people deserve the same rights (including marriage) as everyone else and they’re even cool with the idea of having a gay president.
With these numbers, you’d think that the GOP would at least drop their opposition to gay marriage, instead of allowing candidates like Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio to spout off with their usual antiquated and bigoted statements. Marco Rubio also recently stated on the Christian Broadcasting Network that Christians are in danger of being persecuted and their teachings being considered hate speech for not supporting gay marriage.
“If you think about it, we are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” Rubio told CBN News. “Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.”
“So what’s the next step after that?” he asked.
“After they are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church is hate speech and there’s a real and present danger,” he warned. (Source)
You can argue that very few people even within the GOP take Bobby Jindal or Rick Santorum seriously, but Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are considered to represent the mainstream of the party, and they’re repeating the same tired old talking points from the culture wars. America is continuing to move to the left on issues like gay marriage while Republican candidates double down on their opposition to it. It’s a good strategy if you’re angling for your own talk show at Fox News, but not if you want to be elected President of the United States.
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