Trump Needs to Ensure He Doesn't Lose the Social Conservative Vote
As the Milo LGBTQ drama-fest endlessly goes on at Breitbart, supported by many other media outlets, the presidential campaign of Donald Trump must avoid getting caught up in the jet wash of this gong show.
The last thing the vast base of Trump's support – the Silent Majority – wants to see as being in any way seriously influential in the GOP nominee's campaign is the sort of drama that comes with Yiannopoulos and his self-described "Dangerous Faggot Tour." In fact, Milo's behavior in and around college campuses is exactly what we don't need more of in academia. The college system needs to return to serious, reflective, and quiet intellectualism – not drama queens coming from any portion of the political spectrum.
As repulsive as Hillary Clinton's personal life and political positions are, if Trump's campaign gets linked to this LGBTQ drama, he can kiss his chances at the presidency goodbye. Social conservatives will run for the hills, choosing to not vote or even moving over to Clinton. Those Reagan Democrats – who hold the key balance in this cycle – tend to be fairly socially conservative and moderate on fiscal issues, and they detest this type of drama like the plague.
Writing at Breitbart, Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit argues that "gays will come back home to the Republican Party." Home?
Other activists in the GOP claim that "Donald Trump is the most pro-gay Republican nominee ever."
If so, Trump has a major electoral challenge ahead of him. Many conservatives have not forgotten, or forgiven, the LGBTQ mafia's disgraceful treatment of Brendan Eich and are unwilling to allow this type of mob activism into the POTUS chair.
Canada was under a decade-long spell of what VICE finally came out and made public in mid-2013 as the conservative "gay mafia" of Stephen Harper's administration. Social conservatives deserted the party in droves, leaving behind the libertarians and other fiscal conservative/social liberal hybrids, and by the time the next election rolled around in October 2015, the conservative "gay mafia" was decisively tossed out of office in an unprecedented majority win for Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party. Since the election, the Conservative Party of Canada has gone all in for LGBTQ activism, and its polling numbers continue to slide downward.
Only about 2.3% of the American public self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, making it an exceedingly small – but excessively vocal – voting bloc. Some strategists argue that given the potential tight race in November, every vote counts. Certainly, but if you lose more voters off the social conservative end of the spectrum than you gain from the LGTBQs, the strategy is a failure.
And if polling data is any indication, any pro-LGBTQ activism in Trump's campaign will fail miserably, handing the election to Clinton. Just 20% of LGBTQs are conservative versus 46% that are liberal and 33% who are moderate. They overwhelmingly like Barack Obama, having handed him a 61% approval rating and just a 33% disapproval rating as of mid-2014. And their party affiliation is unequivocally hard left: 63% identify as or lean Democrat versus only 21% that identify as or lean Republican.
Breitbart is having difficulty dealing with the polling data anyway. In Mike Flynn's latest article, he claims that, among likely voters, Clinton is up 10.7% over Trump, 45.5% to 34.8%. But the Reuters poll cited from June 17 has 1,133 respondents, of which 554 (48.9%) were Democrats and just 409 (36.1%) were Republicans, for a 12.8% Democrat advantage. Among those surveyed, 52.9% voted for Obama in 2012, with just 32.0% voting for Romney last election.
Thus, since Democrats only outweigh Republicans by about 1% among the general public at present, at least according to the previous two months of Gallup polling data, and because Obama beat Romney by just 3.9% in 2012, the Reuters poll has a liberal bias ranging anywhere from 11.8% up to 17.0%.
Translation: Trump is undoubtedly in the lead once that "yuge" liberal bias is corrected for.
So while I agree with Flynn's thesis that Trump's post-Orlando comments on being pro-guns and renewing his call for a Muslim immigration ban have helped him in the polls, the effect appears to be much more dramatic than Flynn's use of the flawed Reuters data suggests. Rather than reducing the size of a large Clinton lead, in the post-Orlando period, the corrected Reuters data indicates that Trump may have actually jumped out to a large lead.
However, the social conservative problem remains. For all the claims by moderates and progressives that the social conservatives are in large-scale retreat, they clearly remain the majority of the GOP base. Mess with them at your electoral peril. Long-term polling data shows this as clear as day.
In May 2004, a CBS News poll asked Republicans, "Is it possible that you would ever vote for a candidate who does not share your views on the issue of gay marriage, or is the subject so important to you that you could not vote for a candidate who disagrees with you?" The GOP base was evenly split on the issue, with almost half of respondents saying they could not vote for a candidate who disagrees on this important issue, despite whatever else the voter and Republican candidate had in common on fiscal and other social issues.
In February 2010, a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll showed that more Republicans (46%) oppose than support (44%) gays and lesbians being able to serve openly in the military.
In February 2013, a Quinnipiac University poll asked Republicans, "Do you think the Boy Scouts of America should continue its ban on openly gay members or end its ban on openly gay members?" Only 33% supported an end to the ban, with a majority (51%) supporting its continuation.
During April of 2015, CNN/ORC surveyed Republicans on their views about the following issue: "If a business provides wedding services, such as catering or flowers, should that business be allowed to refuse those services to same-sex couples for religious reasons, or should they be required to provide those services to same-sex couples as it would to all other customers?" A full two thirds of Republicans said the business should be able to refuse service.
A Quinnipiac University poll the same month found similar results. When asked whether a business should be able "to refuse service to gays and lesbians ... if the business says homosexuality violates its owners' religious beliefs," 56% said yes, and only 37% said no.
From May 2016, a CNN/ORC poll revealed that nearly 40% of Republicans oppose "laws that guarantee equal protection for transgender people in jobs, housing and public accommodations," and the party's base is split evenly on the question of whether or not to "require transgender individuals to use facilities that correspond to their gender at birth rather than their gender identity."
Just a few weeks ago, Quinnipiac University released another poll indicating that an overwhelming majority (82%) of Republicans do not think "public schools should be required to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with the gender they identify with." Only 12% thought schools should be required to provide these accommodations.
While support for same-sex marriage may have increased slightly among Republicans during the past decade, it is still at only 33%. Among conservatives, just 30% support same-sex marriage, and this level of support has not changed since 2011.
The danger in any political campaign is that by attempting to court a small and controversial segment of the voting population, you experience a net loss in support by angering the traditional base. If the views of the Republican base are any indication, social conservatives are still in command. Any campaign approach that does not retain their vote will undoubtedly fail.