Whither Social Conservatism?
Social conservatives ought to support, without reservations, Donald Trump in 2016. His selection of Pence, the man most likely to succeed Trump, is important, and his list of potential Supreme Court nominees is even better. The convention showed just how much Trump loves and trusts his family as well, and that matters.
After November 2016, however, social conservatives need to figure out a better way to promote their values than simply as an appendage of the Republican Party. As Republicans, these social conservatives are being asked, for example, to accept homosexuality as moral. Polls show that many Americans do not believe that proposition.
Social conservatives are quietly asked to mute their concerns with the judicially created laws regarding abortion despite the fact that many of us believe that abortion is murder. Most polls show that a plurality of Americans want stricter laws on abortion, favor laws requiring parental consent for abortions on minors, and oppose late-term abortions entirely. Indeed, the most recent Gallup poll shows that a plurality of Americans – 45% to 43% – feels that abortion is morally wrong.
Purging God for public life is another aspect of judicially mandated secular humanism that most Americans find offensive. Voluntary prayers at high school football games or a moment of silence in school assemblies is hardly imposing Christianity on unwilling students. If social conservatives flee the field of political combat even on government banning these, out of some misplaced sense of Republican loyalty, then we have lost more than we can ever gain.
The reality is that the Republican Party today is filled with nothing but RINOs, recalling that the term means "Republicans in Name Only." What is Trump but a RINO? He seldom mentions the Republican Party, scarcely mentions traditional conservative values, and almost never speaks of God. We can and ought to support Trump, but we must not mistake him as the leader of conservatism in America. Indeed, Trump would be the first to reject that title, especially social conservatism.
Social conservatives ought to consider forming umbrella organizations and political parties independent of the Republican Party. Creation of a system like the New York Conservative Party, which would allow each state to form a Social Conservative Party, whose nominee could be the Republican nominee or another candidate and whose votes as the Social Conservative Party nominee would count toward the election of the Republican nominee, would require any candidate for office, from the White House on down, to have to earn the nomination of social conservatives.
This party might also be able to appeal to voters otherwise turned off by the Republican Party. Many blacks and Hispanics are religious and socially conservative and might vote for the nominee of the Social Conservative Party more easily than the Republican Party. The Social Conservative Party ought also, quite directly, to appeal to religiously serious Jews, from whose faith conservative Christians have drawn their values.
Social conservatives ought to form organizations that can actively support media, entertainment, and education that share their values and can organize boycotts of those corporations that mock or abuse their values. This should include also contacting sponsors and telling them of the negative values in advertising on media that are hateful to social conservative values. This has worked remarkably well with other, much smaller, groups.
More than one third of Americans – 35%, according to Gallup – call themselves "social conservatives." Were these Americans simply to insist that their values be respected, there would be a sea change in popular culture, which depends upon corporate America. No corporation can afford to turn off more than one third of America, especially if these will then buy products and services from corporate rivals.
Finally, not only could social conservatives, if organized outside the two-party system, push Republicans to nominate socially conservative candidates, but social conservatives could push Democrats to nominate socially conservative candidates as well. The idea would be to pull all the institutions of America back to social conservatism.
These is no reason why conservative Americans, the largest ideological group in America, ought to be made to sit in the back of the bus. With votes, with consumer decisions, and with gentle suasion, conservative Americans can have the proper voice in the political, social, and business life of America.