Friday, March 4, 2011

Be a Champion, Not a Finalist

Should the GOP get behind a candidate that has the best chance of winning the Republican nomination, or a candidate that has the best chance of winning the Presidency?

Seems like a simple answer, right? Not for Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who in today’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, claims that Republican presidential hopefuls need to re-prioritize social issues in order to win...the Republican nomination.

This logic undoubtedly holds true when it comes to winning the Republican nomination, but it immediately falls apart once you realize that winning the semi-final match does not make you the champion.

As this site has mentioned numerous times before, whoever captures the independent center wins general elections – especially in a Presidential election. Democrats will vote for the Democrat, and Republicans will vote for the Republican, but luckily for our country, neither party holds a majority of the electorate, leaving Independents with the swing votes. Independents vote for candidates that best reflect their views, regardless of party affiliation, and in 2008, Democrats and President Obama rode the coat-tails of independents to victory, just as the Republicans did in 2010.

Independents care about the economy, they care about the size of government, and they care about unemployment. They will also have a view on abortion, gay marriage, and other “moral” issues, but in 2012, these will be overshadowed by the more pressing issues of the day - the economy and the role and size of government. In fact, independents tend to be more liberal on social issues, so prioritizing conservative views on social issues will only act to repel the ever-important independent votes.

If Republicans see the 2010 elections as a mandate to move further right on social issues, they are just repeating the mistakes made by the Democrats after the 2008 elections. It’s cliché, but relevant in this context - “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” There is still time for Republican’s to realize this and push forward a candidate that appeals to independents as well as the Republican base. If they don’t, they have no one to blame but themselves when President Obama (or a strong independent) wins in 2012.


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