GAY RIGHTS AGENDA
CalPundit advocates making gay rights a major campaign issue:
Support of gay rights carries political risks for both parties, but I think there’s only one relevant question: which party will it hurt more? I think it’s pretty obvious that Republicans have more to lose here, and events of the past couple of months have made that even more obvious. Democrats, though cautious, are comfortable with the issue, while Republicans from George Bush down desperately want to avoid it. Shouldn’t that tell us something?
From the standpoint of pure electoral politics, notwithstanding any moral/ethical/philosophical issues, it seems to me that coming out in favor of “gay rights”–which I take to mean support of gay marriage and the like–is a losing issue for either party. While doing this may make perfect sense in certain metropolitan areas, it doesn’t on a national scale. Why? Because elections are decided by 1) energizing your base and 2) attracting the middle.
If the Democratic nominee were to espouse gay marriage, for example, as a major campaign issue, he would energize part of the Democratic base. But he would really energize the Republican base. They’d turn out in droves to make sure the Democrats lost. Further, most non-ideological Americans are either 1) agnostic on the issue, 2) slightly pro-gay rights but not actively for it (or they’d be energetic Democrats, not the middle), or 3)slightly culturally conservative but not enthusiastic on the issue. So, at best, it would be a wash with the middle-of-the-roaders and would energize GOP turnout.
Which would be fine with me, come to think of it. I hereby join Kevin in a call for the Democrats to make this THE CENTRAL ISSUE of their campaign.