Former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani thinks he knows why Republicans keep losing elections. The problem, he claims, stems from the “soft underbelly” of the GOP that he thinks everyone else has somehow missed: social issues. Ironically, Giuliani does this while blaming his own avoidance of life and marriage for his own 2008 defeat:
“My opponent started focusing on that I was pro-choice,” said Giuliani. “Donald [Trump] announced he is pro-life, which is easier in the primary. I’m pro-gay rights. At the time gay marriage wasn’t a big issue. I’m now pro-gay marriage. I signed the first partnership bill ever signed by anyone.”
Giuliani is on the ball about the reason his campaign failed, which makes his second point about the need for others to abandon social issues dubious at best. Nonetheless, Giuliani presses on, insisting that Republicans will never be able to compete in cities if they don’t ditch their social conservative beliefs:
“Where it gets to social issues, the party might disagree with me,” said Giuliani, but I think that’s our soft underbelly. And I look at it differently. That’s where we lose the suburbs.”
Memo to all 2016 candidates: economic and national defense issues are important, but when Republicans avoid defending their views on life and marriage, it gives Democrats an open invitation to redefine these issues however they like, and the socially conservative base tends to stay home (just ask Mitt Romney). Ronald Reagan advocated for a “three-legged stool” approach focusing on defense, prosperity, and moral character. Giuliani’s proposal to knock that down to a two legged stool sounds more than a bit wobbly.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action.