I really, really wish I were joking about the title, but I’ve actually heard several folks seriously suggest this. (Hugh Hewitt show had a co-host/guest suggest “dropping the abortion issue,” for example—thankfully, Hugh pointed out that was…not a great idea.)
In a campaign where social issues were not focused on, where the SoCon vote was assumed, where the entire point would be “It’s the economy, stupid” and our turnout dropped hugely… we should really ditch these social conservatives entirely and try to peel off some Democrat voters. I was one of the folks that was saying at the beginning that we could not just assume we’d get our own base and that all we needed was to go after other groups, though I—like many others—thought that things were obviously bad enough that maybe the base could be taken for granted.
We tried the “shut up about social issues, focus on the financial short-term disaster.” Shock shock, it didn’t work. The “of course” votes didn’t show up, as best we can tell at this early of a time. Of course there was fraud and probably voter suppression, but we knew from the start that we’d have to win so big that they couldn’t cheat.
I know the thinking Libertarians believe that Social Issues hurt us, and if we’d just drop them it would improve—but they ignore that if you let people do all the stupid stuff they immaturely desire, they are going to want to be saved by someone else. (I’m ignoring the sub-group of thinking Libertarians that thinks having children at is a “personal choice” with no serious effect on the future of society, and mostly only something that ‘women want while they leach off men.’ I wish that last part was not a very slight paraphrase.) Of course, thinking Libertarians think social issues hurt because when thinking Libertarians recognize the cause and effect of libertine personal actions in creating demand for a leech-State, they become at least isolationist conservatives, rather than Libertarians. But I’m digressing.
So, we tried assuming that the rah rah Abortion!! stuff on Obama’s side would be enough to 1) get half our base out, and 2) get them to vote for Romney. Clearly, that was wrong.
We focused on the economy. I think we did pretty well on that, considering that Obama and Co could lie their tails off about what we actually said. (It’s a given, sadly.)
That makes me think that we maybe should’ve beat on the military side of things a bit more as well. I have friends who are still active duty who thought I was blowing smoke up their rears when I told them there was never a protest when the Ambassador was killed, when that was known just days after the attack. (Power Line linked an interview in a UK paper that included quotes from the guys who were opening a hospital with the Ambassador; they were on the phone when the attack started, and there was no mention of a protest, which would’ve been a pretty big deal.)
So, we need to actually make our own case, try to win the base before we try to peel folks off, and probably improve our communication networks. I’m going to work even harder on applying this in person—when someone says something incredibly untrue in person, I’m going to politely correct them. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and socially awkward, but that is what the other side’s tactics depend on. At some point, the drunk in the party has to be confronted. We’re there and past.
This is going to be especially hard on religious people. There are a lot of very nice people who…well… voted for Obama because that’s what “nice” people do. It’s never easy to stand up to family, no matter how wrong you know they’re being.