Five reasons why CPAC should embrace GOProud

According to post-election analyses, President Obama won the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) vote by about three to one, and LGBT voters constituted about 5 percent of the electorate. If you’re a conservative who thinks that’s not a chunk of the vote worth fighting for, consider that nationally Romney and Obama split the straight vote 49–49. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are all top-ten states in terms of total gay population, and New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico are all in the top ten in terms of the percentage of gay residents. These are all fabled “battleground” states that Mitt Romney failed to carry in 2012, and that Republicans will have to woo if the conservative movement is to have a national political vehicle. All the intra-conservative talk about reaching out to Latino voters via immigration reform has been subject to wet-blanket reminders that Latinos tend to be liberal voters for all sorts of other reasons, not least because they fall into other demographic buckets that tend to break liberal. The data on gay Americans are scattershot, but there is some indication that something similar is going on here: that is, self-identified homosexuals tend to be younger, less white, and less educated than self-identified heterosexuals. One could look at this as reason for conservatives to despair of winning their votes, or as an opportunity to kill a number of demographic challenges with one stone. One reason to be hopeful about the latter is that, while it’s difficult to be secretly Latino, it’s fairly common to be secretly gay. (Living in New York City, I know both conservatives who are closeted gays and gays who are closeted conservatives — indeed, would anyone be surprised if Romney carried the closet vote?) Bringing GOProud into the conservative fold is the sort of symbolic action that could contribute to breaking up this two-way shame. It’s also the type of action that could have real spillover effects with the political middle, broadly speaking, as polls continue to show that the center of the country is becoming more gay-friendly.

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