The Texas GOP’s extreme social stances are a losing strategy for two reasons.
1: They are paradoxically liberal. If we fully legislated the Texas GOP platform’s social stances, we would make the government the moral compass, usurping the proper role of the church and individual wisdom. (It’s as if we want to reverse the Protestant Reformation, but that’s an issue for another blog post!)
2: They turn away mainstream conservatives and moderates. This is proven by two polls:
First is a recent Gallup Poll. It finds that conservatives are the largest single voting bloc. But they are neither a majority nor “very conservative”:
Second is a Pew survey, interpreted by Texas Monthly editor Paul Burka to show that the Republican party “hemorrhaging” voters. Indeed, party affiliation is:
- 36% independent
- 35% Democrat
- 23% Republican
If the Republican Party was the mainstream conservative party, it would have more affiliates than Democrats.
But no: the Republican party is hemorrhaging voters because of its extreme social stances. Per the Pew survey: “[independents] more closely parallel the views of Democrats … on the most divisive core beliefs on social values, religion and national security.”
Juxtaposing these surveys, an inescapable conclusion: Extreme conservatism, especially extreme social conservatism, is a losing strategy.
Any winning strategy for Republican domination must not alienate moderates; we can’t win without them.