Back in 2013, American Principles in Action released an analysis of the 2012 election, “Building A Winning GOP Coalition: The Lessons of 2012.” Our “autopsy” report of the election rejected the “truce strategy” — the GOP establishment’s effort to prevent its candidates from talking about social issues — and instead argued that social issues are winning issues for the GOP.
A few days ago, Rush Limbaugh put forward a very similar theory in the “See, I Told You So” segment of his September 18th show. Rush had this to say:
Isn’t it interesting how the Democrats and the media continue to tell us what we have to do to win, as though they are interested in that. We can’t win unless we support amnesty along with them. We can’t win unless we support gay marriage. We can’t win unless we get wise on gun control. We can’t win unless we understand to shut up about abortion and, quote, unquote, the social issues.
And if you’ll get the sum total of what they’re telling us, we can’t win unless we behave exactly like them. But the whole idea of them telling us what we have to do to win ought to make everybody suspicious to begin with because they don’t want us to win.
Rush is right. Just as our autopsy diagnosed back in 2013, the GOP shouldn’t shy away from social issues because the Left and the media are telling us that they’re losing issues. The fact is, based on a recent CNN poll, voters care more about social issues now than they did back in 2011. The poll showed that 27 percent of voters felt that abortion was an “extremely important issue,” compared to just 20 percent back in 2011.
As we move closer to the 2016 primaries, and especially in the wake of the shocking Planned Parenthood videos, the candidates should take note. The “truce strategy” doesn’t work. Just as we wrote back in 2013, “social issues (especially the life issues) do not hurt GOP candidates… they help them win elections.”
Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles in Action.