For years religious conservatives have been victims of cynical manipulation by the GOP establishment. The GOP wanted their votes but did nothing to protect their values. Recall the sham opposition to gay marriage that the aides to George W. Bush faked to win religious support in 2000 and 2004. It turned out later that many of those figures supported gay marriage. Ken Mehlman, the head of Bush’s 2004 reelection effort, ended up lobbying for passage of gay marriage in New York state. John McCain’s aides, such as Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, now appear on MSNBC to hawk socially liberal causes. A group of consultants attached to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to support a constitutional right to gay marriage.
In light of this history, religious conservatives have every right to be suspicious of GOP leaders. Religious conservatives had hoped that Kristi Noem would buck the trend of abdications in the culture war. But she hasn’t. If she won’t even fight on the comparatively easy issue of opposing transgenderism in female sports, how can she be trusted on the more difficult issues that lie ahead?
Is transgenderism just one more front in the culture war that will fall not in spite of Republicans but because of them? The culture war is already one-sided enough without Republicans surrendering on this issue too.