Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and other Republicans who could get the Republican nomination in 2016 will be sailing into the wind of popular opinion during the general election when it comes to their opposition to gay rights. A new poll from the Washington Post shows that more Americans are comfortable with the idea of a gay or even atheist person as president than an evangelical Christian or member of the Tea Party.
Yes, you heard that right – and that should send chills down the spine of the Republican Party.
The majority of Americans are not only rooting for marriage equality — they’re also fine with the idea of a gay president, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. In fact, most Americans would rather see a gay candidate for president than an evangelical Christian or a Tea Partier jockeying for the White House.
In the poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies for the news organizations in late April, 61 percent of respondents said they’d be either enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay presidential candidate. For an evangelical candidate, just 52 percent said they’d be enthusiastic. And in a showing of how unpopular the Tea Party is, just 33 percent said they’d react with enthusiasm or at least a degree of comfort to a candidate affiliated with that conservative movement. (Source)
This isn’t just my usual disdain for the Republican Party (a party I used to belong to), this is the opinion of American voters who have accepted the fact that gay rights are part of the 14th Amendment. People are getting tired of the conservative culture wars and they’ve realized that two men or two women getting married and raising children together have no effect on their lives. Gay marriage hasn’t threatened traditional heterosexual marriage, and the polls show that the American public has come to that conclusion.
The problem for Republicans is that they’re so dependent on the far right which refuses to abandon their opposition to gay rights. Ted Cruz and others can’t back away from the years of rhetoric that they’ve invested in trying to convince voters that the greatest threat to American exceptionalism is Adam and Steve getting married and enjoying the same rights as everyone else.
This won’t be too much of an issue for Republican candidates in deep red states throughout the Bible Belt, but on a national level, any candidate that tries to run on a platform that includes opposition to gay rights will find themselves at a serious disadvantage, even with voters that may agree with them on other issues.
Conservatives like to talk a big game about opposing undue government interference in people’s lives and the dangers of big government. Whether it’s guns, taxes or even standardized testing in schools, they’ll be the first to fire up the spin machine and say that liberals want to run people’s lives for them. Yet if you suggest that maybe the government shouldn’t discriminate against gay couples or prosecute people for possessing a bag of marijuana, suddenly they’ll do a 180 and explain how the government has to protect us against the gay agenda and reefer madness.
Going forward, the GOP will have to make a choice. They can continue to beat the tired old drums of the culture wars and pretend gay rights are a danger to us all while they continue to lose the support of younger voters, or they can join the 21st century – but I’m not going to hold my breath on that.
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