Sunday, November 21, 2010

Analysis: Will a supposed return to the culture wars benefit or hinder the GOP?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/20/AR2010112003695.html

By Sandhya Somashekhar
Sunday, November 21, 2010; 12:22 AM

Liberal groups in Wisconsin are bracing for a fight over contraception coverage under Medicaid. Battle lines are being drawn over sex education in North Carolina. And conservatives in several states intend to try to limit the ability of private insurers to cover abortions.

Social issues barely rated in this year's economy-centric midterm elections. More than six in 10 voters who cast ballots on Election Day cited the economic downturn as their top concern, according to exit polls. And this year was the first in more than a decade in which same-sex marriage did not appear on a statewide ballot.

But major GOP gains in state legislatures across the country - where policy on social issues is often set - left cultural conservatives newly empowered. Opponents of same-sex marriage, for instance, now see an opportunity to block or even reverse recent gains by gay rights advocates in Minnesota and New Hampshire.

SEE THE LINK ABOVE FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE.

51 comments:

DannyF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DannyF said...

I believe that a return to the culture wars will benefit the GOP. The changes that will occur when newly empowered cultural conservatives come to power will give the GOP the power to do what they want. As gay rights advocates in New Hampshire and Minnesota were able to make gains in their states, the new representatives will now be able to reverse it to what the GOP feels is truly right.

Hillary said...

A return to the culture wars would only hinder the GOP. Most of the moderates who voted with the repulican side for the mid-term elections voted that way based on issues such as the economy. Most moderates usually have liberal view points when it comes to cultural differences such as abortion and same sex rights. If the republicans focused on cultural differences then this would hurt them in the 2012 elction.

sscheidt said...

I think that focusing on social issues on a state level is a bad idea for the GOP at this point. Exit polls from the midterm elections clearly showed that the pressing issue for most voters was the current state of the economy. Republicans now control more state legislatures than they have since the 1950's, and although social issues are important, the American people are faced with more imminent obstacles as a result of the economic downturn that the country is going through. Because of this, I think that the "culture wars" could hinder the GOP in the end. If the Republicans in the state legislatures focus on cultural conservatism rather than reducing spending and cutting taxes, I think that the overall approval of the GOP will go down.

JBerlyn said...

If Republicans bring back social issues to the spotlight it will hurt their current popularity. If people are expecting the economic situation and the country's unemployment to be fixed, based on the exit polls, that is what the GOP should focus on. The numbers of state legislatures controlled by the GOP is staggeringly high for the first time since 1952 and is the result of their claims to fix the economy. Because those are the issues that the people want changed. If they attempt to focus on social issues, then the next election will have people still looking for economic improvement. An example of this can be found in the Minnesota state Senate. Many believe they would be the next state allowing same-sex marriage, a liberal ideal in a fairly liberal state. If the Minnesota state Senate moves on to social issues, such as same-sex marriage, there is a good chance their approval ratings would drop quickly.

A return to the culture wars throughout the state legislatures would hinder the approval of the currently popular GOP.

twerner said...

Returning to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. With most of the focus being on the economy, the Republican Party has been focusing on trying to fix it with the people’s interests in mind. It is difficult for the GOP to switch over and focus more on of the cultural differences, which the liberals or moderates tend to pay attention to, instead of the economy. If the culture wars return, the GOP will be hurt in future elections.

KRodenbeck said...

Culture wars are not what our country needs right now. Our economy should be addressed first and foremost. As the exit polls indicate, the people are the most concerned about our economy. Since most politicians only care about getting reelected, they should probably listen to the voters.

nklinka said...

Sometimes it is the things that are not done that leave a bigger imprint on the mind of the voting populace. A decision to not impact the social culture throughout the country is a decision that could benefit the GOP as a whole. The fewer the number of wholesale changes done by the GOP, the better the light in which they will be seen in a year and a half when the presidential election nears and the country realizes the type of restraint that was exercised by the GOP. The future for the party is bright if they are smart about when to use the power they have recently gained.

SMiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. Francis said...

A return to the culture wars would definitely hinder the support of the GOP. My advice to them would be to STICK TO THE FISCAL ISSUES! The reason why the GOP has taken so many seats is because they won the debates on fiscal issues with the overwhelming majority of Americans. I am fairly certain that as long as they keep their economic philosophies as their foremost concern, America will once again select the GOP in 2012.

Rjohnson-evers said...

I believe that a return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. Many moderate voters voted for the GOP in the most recent election because of their fiscal policy. The voter's priority was ending the economic downturn. If the GOP focuses on culture wars, they risk alienating the voters that elected them into office.

Mwirch said...

I believe that a return to the culture wars would currently hurt the republicans. Issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage are issues that the GOP stannds against. With these same issues believed to be hot topics in the next year, it will make the republican party look even more culturely "old fashioned" then they did before.

cziolkowski said...

I believe that the debate over culture wars will hurt the GOP. I feel that during elections our country was most concerned with our economy, so over all the country felt GOP's would fix that problem better than democrates. That is what our contry wanted and if we start to give our attentions to the culture wars people may not always be happy with the results. I still think we should first deal with our economy before dealing with culture problems.

Zyork said...

A return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. The Republicans got elected because people think they will do a better job at helping the economy, not because they want to make gay marriage illegal. If the Republicans do focus on social issues, they might have a hard time getting re-elected in the next election because a lot of the more moderate people that voted for Republicans might not like the Republican view on the social issues

mpavelko said...

The culture wars will benefit the Republicans as of this moment in time. Gay marriage is bad in my opinion. A lot of people are against morals such as this and therefore it will benefit the studly GOP. IT would be easy to increase support for the GOP by advocating positions on cultural topics because these are the types of topics that influence the people directly. Therefore the people directly will get involved and support the wonderful GOP. THAT IS ALL.

PAnderson said...

A return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. They just won the midterm elections because of their stance on the current American economy, and need to focus on that. A big reason for the GOP landslide win was because of the support of the moderates, who the support the GOP on fiscal issues, but not on social issues. The GOP should start to focus on social issues if they win the White House in 2012.

MKonicke said...

I believe that a return to the culture wars will not benefit the GOP. The main focus is on the economy, and if they don't continue to try to fix that, the liberals/moderates may think that they aren't taking it as seriously as they should.

KSASS said...

In such delicate economic circumstances, a fullfledged race to the "culture wars" will hinder the GOP. Because the hearts and minds of the people of the United States are not thinking about the "culture wars" in their daily life, a GOP return will not be good in what ever manner they choose to act upon first. Elected officials should listen to their constituents real problems and issues before attempting some drastic changes to issues that nobody but the GOP and interest groups are debating over. Legislature that has only come from interest groups, experts, and radical politicians will not have good consequences without the voice of the people. The GOP needs to focus on why they have overtaken the House--because the people wanted change from the Democrats not doing what they wanted for the economy--and start to tackle on the issues closest to home... Isn't that what the GOP stands for? Government closer to the people is good? Republicans can move Washington closer to the people if they would only just listen more.

ckruesel said...

I think that a supposed return to the culture wars will not benefit the GOP. One of the main reasons the Republican candidates were elected was because the American people believed that they would stop the government from spending money recklessly. If the Republicans focus their power on other problems it will anger the people and in the next elections the power will once again shift to the Democrats.

RPawlow said...

With the majority of the population's questions deriving from the lagging economy, a return to the culture wars could only hurt the GOP. These social issues will only detract attention and effort from the United State's most popular and prominent. In the long run, attempts at social changes could greatly affect the GOP's chances in 2012.

nspoerk said...

There is a time and a place for the GOP to push for conservative legislation on social matters. With their recent return to power in many state legislatures and governorships and in Congress on the platform of lower spending and more a more "responsible" budget, I believe that time is not for at least the next two years.

Currently, the Republicans face a situation similar to that of the Democrats in the last Congressional session and I believe the temptations will be the same. The Democrats used their newfound, huge majorities to push controversial legislation that, following the criticized spending by the Bush administration in Iraq, did not help to significantly solve the problems our country faced at election time in 2008. In light of an exponentially larger debt figure, Republicans could push themselves out of office if they ignore the issue that helped them in.

Many Republicans were elected in because the American public lost faith in the Democrats. Now, the Republicans need to show that that faith can be put confidently in their agenda by putting measures in place that can reduce the debt and solve the economic crisis. And I don't mean a stimulus package that, oh we think could possibly give us more jobs so that we have more people to tax out of their minds to pay off the extra trillions of dollars we're spending. No, that wasn't too popular the first time. What the Republicans need to do is to focus on lower spending and a balanced budget so that, come 2012, their presidential candidate can campaign on the platform of fiscal responsibility. After the election ends and there are no prominent debates to call attention to the controversy, they can enter the "culture wars." By that point, the Republicans should have American confidence back and can puch conservative measures without risking another sweeping loss of power.

Overall, I would say that an immediate push into the "culture wars," as mused by the article, could be detrimental for the GOP.

MAnderson said...

I don't think it will benefit the GOP because when they talk about limiting access to contraceptives and sex education, they are appealing to a group of voters that may not be enough to get the GOP the support they need.

EOetting hr.2 said...

A return to the culture wars would hinder the GOP at this point. Republicans were able to gain control based on their stance of fiscal issues. Americans at his point in time want the GOP to focus on the economy not on gay marriage or abortion. In order to be re-elected in the next issue the GOP will definitely want to focus on reduction on spending and tax cuts, rather than social issues.

Blake Kraussel hr. 2 said...

I believe that a return to the culture wars will bennefit the GOP. To be honest I think that cultural wars for the GOP would be a hinderence. How could a cultural war be a positive? The thought of that is kind of crazy. Moderates who did end up voting for the Republican party did so based on economic issues, not social issues. The economy is a bigger deal right now. I do not think the GOP is worried about social issues.

J.Sardina said...

A return to culture wars will ultimately hinder the GOP's popularity among voters. As stated in the article, the main concern of voters in the midterm election was surrounding the current state of the economy, which many blame on the current Democratic administration. When the people feel faulted by one party, they turn to the other. Just because the GOP gained approval in the midterm election, does not mean their stand on culture issues will be as easily accepted. As seen with the election of President Obama, a younger demographic of voters has been more active - a younger group of voters that often favors a liberal stance on cultural issues. Ultimately, inciting the culture wars will hinder the approval of the GOP.

rrantala said...

I believe a return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP because they have just gained more power in Congress and instead of focusing on issues that are not as popular (gay rights or abortion) they should focus on major issues such as the economy which affects everyone. The GOP should wait to handle these issues and focus on the more popular issues dealing with the economy and things that affect everyone.

eboecker said...

Focusing on social issues will only hinder the GOP. More than 60 percent of Americans that voted on election day want to see the economy fixed more than any other issue present. If the GOP resumes its culture wars in America, it will be neglecting the problem most citizens want fixed. This in turn would likely have a negative effect on the GOP when elections take place two years from now.

KMatusinec said...

I see a supposed return to the culture wars as being a mistake for the GOP. Right now, the economy is the issue that the majority of the country (six out of ten voters) feels is the most important issue. Sure, issues like same-sex marriage and abortion occupy the minds of people gay rights and in pro-life/ pro-choice groups, but it should be the goal of the majority to focus on what affects the majority of citizens. Our country cannot progress without fixing something as fundamental as the economy.

nklinka said...

I shall play some devil's advocate. Just about everybody feels that culture wars will harm the GOP, but in reality what harm can they do? While any decision may isolate some voters, the very same decision may sway other voters in support of the GOP. Also nowhere in the question does it say that the GOP would return to culture wars in isolation. There are many supporters of culture wars, and thus if in combination with other major issues such as the economy, culture wars can help in the advancement of the GOP.

Ecotton said...

Hour 2

The cultural war will hinder the Republican party because people are focused on the economic issues and not so much the social agenda. To stop social policy enacted by liberals the GOP will need independent support. In my opinion the GOP only gained power because the country is upset on how democrats are doing concerning the economic recovery: not because they are upset on social issues. As a whole I believe the nation will still lean slightly to the left on social issues, at least until the economy recovers.

GLeGros said...

In my opinion, it is in the best interest of the GOP to minimize the focus on social issues, and thus not return to the culture wars (at least not at this time). If th GOP wants to create a positive image, they need to focus on what the majority of the people believe is most important at this time, such as economic issues relating to monetary spending of our government. If the GOP does decide to return to these "culture wars", i strongly believe that it will significantly hinder, and possibly preclude them from keeping majority in the legislature in the 2012 election.

moconnor said...

I think that a return to the culture wars would hinder the GOP. The Republicans got the majority of the nations votes this midterm election because the American people were unsatisfied with the way the Democrats were handling the economy. When six out of ten voters claim that the economic downturn is their top concern, it should be unarguable that the economy should be the first subject adressed by the GOP. I believe that social issues are important to discuss and that the Republicans should debate them eventually. However, right now the GOP needs to keep America on their side and address the topics that America wants to hear.

JVarsos said...

The major opinion of everyone here is that a return to the culture wars would hinder the GOP. I find no reason to disagree. The GOP was elected upon a fiscal basis and if they revert to cultural issues, the GOP would further enrage a large population of people who are pushing for liberal legislation. Cultural issues are leaning, basically collapsed on the left at the moment and the GOP should wait until the sizzle of today's cultural wars burns out to pursue any conservative social laws. Otherwise, it could mean another reversal in the 2012 if the GOP does not cure our economic stagnation.l

DSundholm said...

I think that if the GOP focuses on social issues more than economic issues they will lose some popularity because most people right now are concerned more about the economy then about social issues. Although it still is important to go over social issue, such as DADT, it should be a secondary focus so that the people who are more concerned about such things can be included as well as everyone else that is worried about the economic problems.

bradysims said...

I believe that the return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. Now with majority of power in the hands of the republicans in the legislature, we need to focus on the economical issues rather than the social issues. The country is trusting the republican party to make a difference with our economy and get it back to where we need it. gay rights and abortion are just a few of the social issues that are being talked about, but these are issues that are never going to end or get totally resolved. We need to focus on our economy before barrack ruins it even more;). The GOP should focus on the bigger issue (strengthen economy) now, and not focus entirely on the social issues quite yet.

dboyce said...

I think this could go either way for the GOP. Many people have forgotten just how important social issues are. This could either hinder or benefit the GOP. Many people voted for the republicans for fiscal reasons which is probably why they won the midterm elections and took control of the house,so it would be a smart idea for them to make sure they do something about the economy, but there are also many people who always vote republican for social issues and those people want to see something done about it now that the republicans are in control of the house. There are people such as pro-life voters who have been waiting for republicans to take control for that very reason. Either way, the republicans will do something about both fiscal and social issues. One can only wait and see if focusing on social issues harms or benefits the GOP.

AHanna said...

A return to the culture wars would hinder the GOP. That doesn't mean they shouldn't pursue legislation relating to social issues at all though. Rather, now just isn't the time. The wave that many newly-elected Republicans rode in on in 2010 was created by the economic situation in our country. If the GOP focuses on the economy and job creation as they promised then their popularity will increase (as long as legislation is effective). By sticking to this agenda, Republicans could have another huge year in the 2012 elections. If this happens, then that will be the time for cultural issues to be looked at. I myself am against things such as abortion and gay marriage, so I'd strongly support such legislation against it. However, the economy needs to improve first before the GOP tackles these issues.

msenk said...

At the moment the GOP is very popular. I believe that this is due to their claims pre-election to fix the economy or bring change to America. Since the GOP is very popular now it would only hurt them if they did not stand to what they said before elections.

nwalters said...

As most other people have stated, if republicans focus on social issues it will most likely hurt their popularity. I think that the GOP should focus on the economy that is the most important issue that almost every american wants to be improved. But if the GOP focuses on gay rights or abortions their popularity will be hurt and may help the democrats in the 2012 elections.

DWayer said...

As many others have posted, I too believe that a return to the culture wars would not be the most ideal choice for the GOP at the moment. It seems to me that jumping right into this "war" after just coming off of major Republican gains would hinder future legislation that the GOP intends to get passed. A safer route for the Republicans would be to ease their way into this bigger shift by focusing on a more pressing issue, such as the economy, which would allow for their popularity to rise before tackling the social issues at hand. If in fact the Republicans do primarily engage in these social issues at the present time, I believe their image may be lessened and result in a Democrat swing for the 2012 elections.

JHoltman said...

I feel that a return to the culture wars will not benefit the GOP. The majority of moderate voters that voted Republican in November's midterm elections voted based on their concern for the economy. The GOP approval ratings will go down if they focus too much on a cultural movement than fixing the economy, which is why they were elected in the first place.

SMiller said...

I believe that an immediate return to the culture wars will hurt the Republican Party, especially in the short term. By instantaneously shifting focus to such controversial issues as abortion and same-sex marriage, the GOP will be neglecting issues major issues that could push even more public popularity their way. Issues like the economy and the health care bill could add to GOP ratings if handled properly in the short term. However, a focus on highly contentious issues immediately after midterm elections could shift popularity back to the Democrats if the GOP handles them inadequately or inefficiently. Overall, I think the Republican Party would be better off focusing on prime subjects like the economy now (in the air of their recent victory) and the cultural issues later on.

caseymedved said...

The benefits or the step back of the "Grand Old Party" depends on what they do. By taking steps back on areas that people are very passionate of, like gay rights, they can create a back lash of the new power the American people have given them. They will either prove their president should represent the U.S. as the next President or prove that they don't know how to handle all that power. If the Democratic party makes the American people believe that the Republican party is only wasting all of our time and accomplishments in the next election, as the Republicans' proved that Democrats' "voted" for deficit in this election. If the republicanistic party is smart, they'll stick to trying to figure out how to decrease the deficit they promised to decrease. If they decide to begin culture wars, democrats should have Al Gore make another fake power point.

jwaltz said...

A return to the culture wars would hinder the GOP. The republican party has worked too hard focusing on the economy and ways to help the people. For the GOP to switch their mindset on issues that most moderates and liberals focus on, it will hurt the GOP for the future election(s).

jgoebl said...

I believe a return to the culture war would hinder the GOP because many voters voted Repulbican because they felt that the Republicans would be better at changing the economy than the Democrats do.

RPawlow said...

To add, the GOP's focus should not be set on a culture war. The economy, arguably America's most prominent and popular issue, should be addressed immediately. Diverting one's attention on social issues will only hinder GOP popularity, and in terms of the upcoming elections in 2012, potentially maim the number of offices filled by GOP members.

Ahackney said...

I believe a return to the culture wars will hinder the GOP. The article said that 6/10 voters during the 2010 midterms main focus was on the economy. I dont believe it is the right time to bring up social issues for conservatives. Help to try and fix the economy, and figure out healthcare.

CAbbey said...

I think that if the GOP focuses on the social issues right away, it will hinder them on what they need to deal with first. The biggest problem the nation faces is not abortion or health care, but the state of our economic situation, and the massive amount of wasteful and unnecessary spending done by the federal government. The GOP should focus on getting the power back to the states and get the federal government out of our lives, before they begin to bring up such subjects as social issues. Fix the system as a whole first, then attack the smaller less influential problems.

CAbbey said...

I think that if the GOP focuses on the social issues right away, it will hinder them on what they need to deal with first. The biggest problem the nation faces is not abortion or health care, but the state of our economic situation, and the massive amount of wasteful and unnecessary spending done by the federal government. The GOP should focus on getting the power back to the states and get the federal government out of our lives, before they begin to bring up such subjects as social issues. Fix the system as a whole first, then attack the smaller less influential problems.

zhopp said...

By shifting the focus of their campaign from economic issues to social and cultural issues, the Republican party would hurt their popularity in the polls. During recent elections, the dramatic swing in voters towards the Republicans was due to their plans to fix the injured economy. Shifting their focus away from such actions would cause a loss of support from moderate voters

ACzajkowski said...

As previously stated, a return to the culture wars would only hinder the GOP's progress. Many issues, such as gay rights and abortion, the GOP is against. We (me and fellow Republicans) need to focus on our dysfunctional economy ASAP.