Recent victories notwithstanding, it seems fair to say that Republicans could stand to infuse more pathos into their public image. People are still apt to view Democrats as the nice people who stick up for the little guy. Defending children is a great way of showing that we care about “the little guys” that our political system truly overlooks. Best of all, it enables us to be “nice” without playing identity politics. Every demographic group has children.
In thinking through marriage questions, we also need to consider the long game. The GOP has a strong track record of attracting married middle-class voters who are living prudent, sensible, productive lives. Lonely, lost, and insolvent voters tend to favor Democrats. Selling out on marriage at exactly the moment when voters are starting to lose interest in the “marriage equality” crusade could be one of the worst political calculations ever. Republicans would lose support from social conservatives, and with it the moral authority to speak to worsening family-structure problems. That will make it more difficult to bolster the voting base that both they and America need. Meanwhile, even those voters who favor same-sex marriage probably won’t give them much credit for coming around this late in the day.
Instead of scrambling pathetically for eleventh-hour Progressive credentials, let’s settle for being honest, sensible, and circumspect. Allow Americans to see what we on the Right already know: Liberal progressives are crazy. And they’ll keep acting crazy until somebody stops them.