Surely, conservative culture warring makes some political sense: Even Republican policy stalwarts like President Reagan harnessed populist culture wars now and then, and—as conservative-whisperer Erick Erickson noted last week on Twitter—the culture wars probably trump (pun intended!) the policy wars at the ballot box today.
That said, I think Erickson misses a couple very big points here. First, while I certainly don’t expect politicians of any stripe to be Madisonian statesmen 24-7, they do have an obligation to—at least occasionally!—focus on boring things like policy, lest they become nothing more than media personalities doing transactional fanservice instead of actual legislators. Second, and relatedly, that boring stuff often affects—perhaps unbeknown to the TV audience—the very culture wars that these guys say they’re fighting.
Indeed, while Republicans were playing culture war cosplay over the last month, Democrats used the ARP to notch real social policy wins and are already gunning for more. So we’ll take a look at some of the biggest ones today and at what may be coming next, all the while wondering whether the new, Trumpier conservative grassroots will even notice.