Walter Olson looks at the appeal of “social conservatives” to blacks and Hispanics and has some advice: dream on.

How’s that anti-gay agenda working out? Not so well. Olson points out that, despite a concerted effort to appeal to all those church-going minorities who are supposed to despise gays and social liberalism, they garner no votes.

We’ve now been hearing the Social Conservative Minority Realignment Thesis for at least twenty if not thirty years. It became popular around the 1980s, the era in which organized religious conservatives began throwing around major weight in the GOP. And after two decades or more we’re entitled to ask: does it work? For years, conservative politicos have been frantically clearing the runways and waving at every dot on the horizon. Shouldn’t the realignment planes have started landing by now?

In other words, the black precincts in [Prince George’s County, MD]  with the strongest inclination toward social conservatism, as measured by their sentiments on gay marriage, gave Republican candidates a vote percentage more often associated with Libertarian candidates and rounding errors.

Olson prescribes a sensible approach for future campaigns, but one that I think will never work:

Suppose the party were to drop its odd view of minority voters as motivated mostly by (and in favor of) social conservatism. It might instead choose to appeal to them on the same grounds as other citizens; that is, by emphasizing questions of fiscal soundness, better grasp of national defense and the needs of small business, and other historic themes from the long-past Nixon-Eisenhower era when Republicans used to do better with the minority vote. Alternatively (or in addition), it might resolve to listen to what minorities actually say about why they view the parties the way they do, perhaps with a special ear to the voices of younger voters who might be more open to rethinking old political habits.

The reason that won’t work is that black, illiterate, uneducated 37-year-old grandmothers know full well that they’re not going anywhere, ever, if they have to rely on their skills and value as an employee. What appeal does the fiscal soundness of the nation as a whole or a strong national defense have to a woman living in a shitty apartment with two more generations of just-as-illiterate descendants (latest survey shows 92% of all  “graduates” of Buffalo’s public schools can’t read, period) who need new Nikes? Only a beneficent government, one strong enough to wrest from others and give to them, is going to make a material difference in their lives, and they know it. Illiterate and uneducated, yes; stupid, no.

But writing off the black vote, inevitable as it is, and focusing on other voters won’t accomplish anything either. I saw a poll earlier this week showing that a majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans want no increase in taxes and no cuts in Medicare, Social Security or any other entitlement programs. In other words, what regressives have been attempting to do since they first elected FDR is within sight: the majority of Americans expect and demand that someone else provide for them. Hell, some people have grown so helpless that they cheer when the government promises to press the mute button on their TV so they can be spared the effort.

Three hundred years to build this nation, seventy years to tear it down. I give it another thirty before that destruction is complete, not necessarily because I think we’ll last that long but because one hundred is a nice round number to remember – future historians will appreciate our effort to make it easier for them.


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7 responses to “Walter Olson looks at the appeal of “social conservatives” to blacks and Hispanics and has some advice: dream on.

  1. Balzac

    The black urban poor will never vote Republican. We have to face that reality. These are Rush’s low-information voters, who think about government for an hour every four years, if at all. They swim in the liberal press sea. Did you see that in the Michigan labor protests, a union thug smashed a Fox reporter and it was unreported in the mainstream media. Can you imagine the coverage that would occur if a Tea Party demonstrator punched out Anderson Cooper’s film crew? The coverage would be continuous and ominous. Instead, the liberals/unions are freed of responsibility for the effects of their actions.

    Conservatives’ positions are based in reality. We have to recognize two factors as Peter Berkowitz observes:
    One, a big government safety net is here to stay. Yes Jefferson’s libertarianism will set us free, but Federal spending and regulating will remain omnipresent. Two, the sexual revolution is real, and gay rights/abortion will not recede.
    Conservatives actually do have the scientific, rigorous ideas which work. The libs who moan that capitalism doesn’t work are simply idealogues who deny an obvious social reality. The low-information libs who claim that the Federal debt can grow forever without harm are ignoring overwhelming experience and common sense.
    The conservative foundation is that capitalism and the family actually work. From this foundation, we must propose solutions to the mess the libs have made of our economy and our society.

  2. nyc2gwich Transplant

    I want to be a republican but the hate women, hate gays, hate minority agenda is too much to swallow.

    Drop the pseudo moral high ground bullshit and maybe you republicans can get more votes. Keeping focussing on religion and the earth only being 6000 years old and you’ll do more to sink this country than any lib ever could.

    There a lot of me type of people out there … 1%’ers who could push the vote back to the republicans but the hate has got to go. Better Obama than voting for the KKK.

  3. Inagua

    Chris – Excellent post, but I suspect you are wrong on timing, as it will probably take at least 50 years to reduce America to dysfunction. Look how long it took Detroit to self-destruct on liberal policies, and Detroit can’t print money like the Feds.

    Balzac – You are correct that free market capitalism and the family are the most efficacious basis for a stable and productive society, but that is not possible when a majority of citizens oppose free market capitalism and 40% of children are born out of wedlock. There will always be many successful, capitalistic, family orientated people in America, but they will never again be a voting majority or a major political force.

    nyc2gwich Transplant – Your type of mindless blather is an excellent example of what passes for thought in the minds of too many voters in America today.

    • nyc2gwich Transplant

      I think mindless blather is your party spouting religious, homophobic and mysoginistic nonsense.

      A) Demographics are against you.

      B) History is littered with formerly relevant political parties that exhausted their uesefulness and were discarded into the dust bin of time.

      C) There will be a fiscal fix and it won’t come tied to socially conservative garbage.

      • Inagua

        A) Demographics are against you.


        B) History is littered with formerly relevant political parties that exhausted their uesefulness and were discarded into the dust bin of time.

        Not in America. Our political system is winner take all, without proportional representation, so there have always been, and will always be only two major parties. The names and issues may change, but there has always been an opposition to the party Mr. Jefferson founded, whether it is called Federalist, Whig, or Republican.

        C) There will be a fiscal fix and it won’t come tied to socially conservative garbage.

        There may well be a fiscal band-aid, but there will be no fiscal fix for probably several generations. We are on a near-irreversible course to a larger federal government funded with previously unimagined amounts of borrowed money. The statists have won.

      • “there will be a fiscal fix….” we’re watching the results of your policies of the past 70 years come to their inevitable, entirely predictable conclusion and you offer denial and magic beans as a means of escaping what you’ve brought down around our heads, Gay marriage isn’t going to do it, taxpayer=provided birth control pills for graduate students will solve nothing and confiscating the wealth of the hated 1% won’t either. So come up with a proposal or shut up, would you?

        • nyc2gwich Transplant

          Raise the retirement age to 67, means test for social security, get rid of carried interest, bring on comprehensive tort reform, reign in the insurance companies …

          People want this … Many so called Libs want this … What we don’t want is a bunch of hypocritical right wing men dictating their version of Christian morality to get this …You want to fix this country then get off of your social and moral soap box and fix the economy. Put forth a candidate who doesn’t say 47% of the country doesn’t matter. Put forth candidates who don’t spout on about legitimate rape.

          If the Republican Party had an economic and not religious platform it would win every time. But if the republicans insist on preaching and prostletizing then they are doomed to irrelevance.