With strong shifts in public opinion and in demographics, I have argued for quite some time that the Republican party is in a real bind. The public is moving rapidly away from the anti-gay views of the religious right, but can the GOP move away from those positions without sparking a third party for theocons? Tom McClusky, VP of the Family Research Council, says that’s a real possibility:
Mefferd: If the GOP continues to go in a direction where they will not get on the side of traditional marriage and be willing to fight for it, what do Christians do?
McClusky: I think you will—there are always threats of a third party—I think if something like that were to happen you would see a third party. It would be made up of more than just disgruntled conservative Republicans. On the marriage issue there’s African Americans who normally vote Democratic, there’s Hispanics, and the same on the life issue, and there are a lot of good Democrats like say in the state legislature of New York who fought against same-sex marriage and Maryland who tried to, I think what you see is a lot of people drifting from both parties into a third party or some sort of independent party that is more pro-life and pro-marriage.
Over the next few election cycles, this is only going to become more and more of a problem for Republicans. The religious right is a huge part of their base that they can’t afford to lose, but everyone other than the religious right is moving in the opposite direction when it comes to social issues. They’re going to have to make a choice, do they continue the anti-gay policies and keep that base or do they try to moderate and appeal to everyone else? Something is going to have to give.
The same thing is true on immigration. With Latinos making up a larger and larger portion of the electorate, there’s just no way the GOP will be able to continue advocating harsh anti-immigration policies and still hope to win elections.