Why Conservatives are Losing the Culture Wars - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Why Conservatives are Losing the Culture Wars

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(The following editorial was written by guest writer, Donny Simcha Guttman)

Values are foundational to humanity no matter the context. The importance of good values is unchanging, irrespective of people’s level of conformity to them. Pandering to ulterior motives is unethical and fundamentally fraudulent. In the political arena, the values of a political movement, whether morally bad or good, are supposed to be a magnet of the movement. Pretending that those values are either non-existent or are morally wrong, panders to dishonesty.

The modern political conservative movement is manifested on regional, and national levels in a medium called the ‘Republican Party’. The Republican Party has generally been represented on the political scales as supporting traditional, conservative values. Liberalism, manifested in the medium called the ‘Democrat Party,’ is the opposing political force advocating for a more open interpretation of tradition. A political party’s job is to advocate for values and issues that are systematic to its existence. The way to perform such a task requires a party’s politicians, influencers, media, and voters to create a culture on those values and issues. People are influenced by the media,  actors, educators, politicians, religious leaders, societal “norms”, etc. If people are anyways going to be influenced by something or someone, it would make sense for a political party, which admits its agenda and motives openly, to influence the public with its values and beliefs.

The Democrat Party in recent decades has been successful on this front. Supporting issues like abortion non-stop with never-ending limits has now created not only a “pro-choice” culture but also a “pro-abortion” culture. Getting abortion now is not viewed solely as a personal decision, it is viewed also as a societal good! Republicans in response to Democrats, have simply responded in rhetoric, by talking about the “evils” of abortion, while leaving out the positives of choosing life, and family. The complacent attitude of Republicans doesn’t only extend to simply reacting; Republicans now also give in to Democrat rhetoric on abortion. Many “moderate Republicans” recently have refused to talk about abortion as they believe it is too out-of-step with voters to talk about the positives of life and family, or at least the negatives of abortion.

Similarly, on the other cultural issue of same-gender marriage and the like, Republicans in recent years have ceded ground on the issue, because of a lack of effort to not only counter Democrats but to refuse to create a positive culture based on conservative values and beliefs. Instead, the recent rhetoric from Republican politicians, leaders, and influencers is, “Happy #PrideMonth! @GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs,” as stated by the head of the Republican National Committee. Former President Donald Trump tweeted on the campaign trail in 2016, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” Trump also recognized “Pride” Month during his presidency for LGBT people’s “outstanding contributions.” Last year, around 50 Republicans voted for the “Respect for Marriage” Act, legalizing same-gender marriage on a federal level.

In 1996, only 27% of Americans supported same-gender marriage, now 71% support same-gender marriage. Republicans’ surrender to Democrats on culture is an embarrassment, which has become an issue electorally now. In response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade last year, due to the lack of a positive culture from Republicans, the electoral response to Republicans in the 2022 midterms and beyond was nasty. Democrats won Michigan on the issue of abortion by double digits, they almost kept the House of Representatives because of abortion and they won an important seat on the state supreme court in the purple battleground of Wisconsin, on abortion, etc. According to polling, half of voters who voted last year said that abortion was a “major impact” on their voting. Further, 64% of those that voted for Democrat house candidates said a major reason was because of abortion.

Republicans for too long have ceded ground on important issues out of “small, limited government” principles. That type of foolish thinking is causing tsunami-like damage to cultural norms in society, where big government is in addition blotting out the dissenters. The time of Republicans and conservatives sitting out and reacting passively must end! If not, we might as well raise the white flag to surrender.

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