The GOP is in a bind when it comes to its constituents on the far right. The president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, said that religious conservatives ought to stop donating money to the Republican Party until it straightens out its agenda on social issues.
Too bad the FRC’s stance on social issues is the one that will send Republicans crashing and burning faster than you can say Hillary Clinton 2016.
“Until the RNC and the other national Republican organizations grow a backbone and start defending core principles, don’t send them a dime of your hard-earned money,” Perkins wrote in the email.
“Instead of trying to appease millennials, Republicans should try educating them on why marriage matters. There’s an entire group of ‘Countercultural Warriors’ full of compelling young leaders who are all going to the mat to protect marriage.”
Perkins suggested that instead, the religiously conservative should donate their money to groups like the Council’s FRC Action site, “dedicated to preserving and advancing the interests of family, faith, and freedom in the political arena.”
Irony can be found in the fact that Perkins wants to see the GOP reaffirm its stance against gay marriage to please the socially conservative while alienating the advocates and social liberals that make up Generation Y. It’s a form of alienation Republicans can’t afford to risk if they want to see a chance for success in the 2016 elections, if 2012's results were any indication of needed change. Despite the youth vote supporting Obama less, the president was still able to cinch their ballots by 60%. On the religious side of the matter, the Christian right was said to have more than 40% of the electorate and be staunchly Republican.
After Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012, critics were quick to blame him for not being conservative enough during the election to appeal to the GOP’s conservative base. This rhetoric between appealing to millennials and appealing to bases is one that has been beaten to the core several times but at what cost? Republicans recognize that they are in a phase of transitioning that needs to see change reflecting the attitudes of movements such as the prominent LGBT rights one. Republican politicians have been coming out in support of gay marriage recently. They’ve also come out in bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform.
On the former, however, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), described the GOP’s evolving stance on gay marriage as “suicidal.” Backlash from organizations such as the Family Research Council outline why. However, millennials are starting to outnumber even seniors who are traditionally known to have higher voter turn out rates. They are also the largest generation in history at 95 million strong. While it is in Republican tradition to keep conservative, social change has the power to both elevate and hurt the party.
But, as aptly summarized by a Reuters article, the GOP (and its constituents) has nothing else left to lose at this turbulent point — except the White House. They will either decide to maintain or burn bridges with the likes of the FRC and other groups.