Social Issues Can Save McCain

For John McCain, the bad news is that he is slightly behind Barack Obama in the polls.  The good news is that he can still pull out a victory if he starts talking about something he has ignored thus far: the social issues. 

Presumably, McCain has not brought up the social issues because he thinks other issues -- the economy, energy, health care -- take precedence with independent voters.  But, while these issues are certainly important to voters, the social issues have decided the last two elections.

George W. Bush's position on the social issues, especially homosexual marriage and abortion, is the main reason he has been president for the last eight years. In the 2004 election, church attendance was the strongest predictor of which candidate people voted for, and moral values played an important role in the outcome of that election.  The last two elections were exceptionally close not because the country is divided over the economy or foreign policy, but because the country is split into two cultural halves. Simply put, the last two elections came down to this: independent voters sided with Bush on the social issues.

Thus, contrary to popular belief, independent voters do take into account candidates' views on social issues.  Independent voters have moderate views on social issues, and they prefer a candidate who has moderate views. But they are also willing to vote for a candidate with conservative views.  Two-term presidents, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, both social conservatives, could not have won without independent voters - and Reagan even won landslide elections with their help.   

While independent voters prefer moderate social views and tolerate conservative views, they will not accept radically liberal positions on social issues.  Although independents may not be religious zealots, they view radically liberal social agendas as an assault on American culture, something they want to preserve as much as conservatives do. 

Obama is a radical on social issues, especially abortion, and therein lies McCain's opportunity.  In these final days, McCain needs to repeatedly talk about Obama's voting record regarding abortion, which includes support of partial-birth abortion and denying medical care to a baby who survived an abortion.   

In fact, Obama's radical position on abortion could be the deciding factor in a close election - if McCain is willing to raise the issue.  Many Americans already question Obama's character due to his associations, and would likely be turned off by his tacit approval of infanticide - even if they agree with him on other issues.  

Moreover, McCain should stress that American culture is at stake, since the next president will likely appoint at least one judge to the Supreme Court.  Unlike the financial markets, which will recover, Americans will be stuck with Supreme Court judges for much longer than four years.  Based on his voting record, McCain would possibly nominate conservative judges, but more likely he would nominate moderate judges.  Obama, who had the most liberal voting record in the Senate, would certainly nominate radically liberal judges.  If there were ever a candidate who would use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test, it is Obama.

McCain must bring up the judicial appointments and social issues because the media, who have been campaigning for Obama, rarely question the candidates about these issues.  Knowing that Obama is vulnerable on these issues, the only time the media asked a question about abortion, or any of the other social issues, was in the last debate.  The media knows that Obama's social views are not popular among independent voters.

While it is understandable that the liberal mainstream media would run from the social issues, it is less clear why McCain would run from them, too. Perhaps it is because he does not strongly believe in social conservatism. But even if he is not inherently conservative, he had better become conservative if he wants to win. He may not be able to fix the financial markets right now, but he can explain to the American people that Obama's radically liberal social views are a threat to the country's culture and foundation. 

On the other hand, maybe he thinks that showing bipartisanship is the path to victory. After all, his self-proclaimed greatest virtue seems to be his bipartisanship. But, just as the liberals who scoff at his friendly gestures aren't impressed, neither are the American people. They are looking for a strong leader who represents their values. 

McCain has only a few days to convince them he is the person they are seeking. For the good of his country, he had better do it.

Zach Krajacic is a freelance writer in Buffalo, NY. He has written commentary for The Buffalo News and American Thinker.  
For John McCain, the bad news is that he is slightly behind Barack Obama in the polls.  The good news is that he can still pull out a victory if he starts talking about something he has ignored thus far: the social issues. 

Presumably, McCain has not brought up the social issues because he thinks other issues -- the economy, energy, health care -- take precedence with independent voters.  But, while these issues are certainly important to voters, the social issues have decided the last two elections.

George W. Bush's position on the social issues, especially homosexual marriage and abortion, is the main reason he has been president for the last eight years. In the 2004 election, church attendance was the strongest predictor of which candidate people voted for, and moral values played an important role in the outcome of that election.  The last two elections were exceptionally close not because the country is divided over the economy or foreign policy, but because the country is split into two cultural halves. Simply put, the last two elections came down to this: independent voters sided with Bush on the social issues.

Thus, contrary to popular belief, independent voters do take into account candidates' views on social issues.  Independent voters have moderate views on social issues, and they prefer a candidate who has moderate views. But they are also willing to vote for a candidate with conservative views.  Two-term presidents, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, both social conservatives, could not have won without independent voters - and Reagan even won landslide elections with their help.   

While independent voters prefer moderate social views and tolerate conservative views, they will not accept radically liberal positions on social issues.  Although independents may not be religious zealots, they view radically liberal social agendas as an assault on American culture, something they want to preserve as much as conservatives do. 

Obama is a radical on social issues, especially abortion, and therein lies McCain's opportunity.  In these final days, McCain needs to repeatedly talk about Obama's voting record regarding abortion, which includes support of partial-birth abortion and denying medical care to a baby who survived an abortion.   

In fact, Obama's radical position on abortion could be the deciding factor in a close election - if McCain is willing to raise the issue.  Many Americans already question Obama's character due to his associations, and would likely be turned off by his tacit approval of infanticide - even if they agree with him on other issues.  

Moreover, McCain should stress that American culture is at stake, since the next president will likely appoint at least one judge to the Supreme Court.  Unlike the financial markets, which will recover, Americans will be stuck with Supreme Court judges for much longer than four years.  Based on his voting record, McCain would possibly nominate conservative judges, but more likely he would nominate moderate judges.  Obama, who had the most liberal voting record in the Senate, would certainly nominate radically liberal judges.  If there were ever a candidate who would use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test, it is Obama.

McCain must bring up the judicial appointments and social issues because the media, who have been campaigning for Obama, rarely question the candidates about these issues.  Knowing that Obama is vulnerable on these issues, the only time the media asked a question about abortion, or any of the other social issues, was in the last debate.  The media knows that Obama's social views are not popular among independent voters.

While it is understandable that the liberal mainstream media would run from the social issues, it is less clear why McCain would run from them, too. Perhaps it is because he does not strongly believe in social conservatism. But even if he is not inherently conservative, he had better become conservative if he wants to win. He may not be able to fix the financial markets right now, but he can explain to the American people that Obama's radically liberal social views are a threat to the country's culture and foundation. 

On the other hand, maybe he thinks that showing bipartisanship is the path to victory. After all, his self-proclaimed greatest virtue seems to be his bipartisanship. But, just as the liberals who scoff at his friendly gestures aren't impressed, neither are the American people. They are looking for a strong leader who represents their values. 

McCain has only a few days to convince them he is the person they are seeking. For the good of his country, he had better do it.

Zach Krajacic is a freelance writer in Buffalo, NY. He has written commentary for The Buffalo News and American Thinker.