While there is much discussion and concern (rightfully so) over economic issues, it is not disputed that the GOP lost last year’s election, in part, because of social issues. Many on the right have been slamming the GOP for not paying close enough attention to the social issues. Twenty years ago there was a wide gap on the acceptance of marriage equality. Today, more Americans support marriage equality than oppose it. The GOP needs to get out of its bubble and accept that things are changing. I realize change is a four letter word for the Republican Party but, if they plan on remaining a viable party, they’re going to have to adapt. One might even say they need to evolve.
There are no easy answers to this question that face the GOP at the present moment. Republicans have counted on social conservatives to help them win elections in the past; especially in 2004, when referenda or constitutional amendments were on the ballot in 11 different states, including Ohio. At the time, President George W. Bush had been pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment and the general thinking was that these amendments would help drive social conservatives to the polls and that would translate into support for his campaign.
Karl Rove designed an incredible campaign strategy that year, not only for the Presidency, but also for the entire GOP. If you recall, because of the social issues on the ballot in most states in 2004 and the rallying of the Republican base to vote in opposition to such social issues, many great American servants were ousted such as former Senator Tom Daschle.
Opposing the social issues in 2004 worked for the GOP. But, today, the numbers are not the same as they were eight years ago and more people believe in social equality. As a result, if the GOP desires to remain a relevant party, it needs to figure out a way to evolve.