Our panel of experts reports on the first national elections of the Tea Party era.
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Values were near the forefront of voters’ minds: in a survey commissioned by Concerned Women for America and conducted by respected pollster Kellyanne Conway of persons who voted on November 2, three-quarters cited the economy as their primary concern. But 62 percent (63 percent women) cited “the decline of morality and values” as reasons for their votes.
Voters strongly rejected ObamaCare. A key component of ObamaCare — as Family Research Council has been pointing out for a year — is forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortion-on-demand. Americans — even millions who count themselves pro-choice — strongly oppose federal funding of abortion. Opposition runs as high as 71 percent.
FRCAction PAC is an allied organization that targeted 20 members of the House — including many who had voted pro-life until the critical moment when ObamaCare passed without a pro-life amendment. Of the 20 we targeted, 19 were voted out.
We saw an astonishing 680 seats in the state legislatures change hands. Most of those elected are conservative not only on fiscal issues, but also on social issues. In Maine, liberal lawmakers who created same-sex marriage in May 2009, only to be vetoed by voter initiative in November of that year, were voted out of office, handing the Maine house to Republicans for the first time since the 1970s, and the Maine senate for the first time since the 1990s.
Look at Iowa. Iowa is rightly regarded as a bellwether state, the “first in the nation” for selecting presidential candidates. Iowans trooped to the polls to wade through 72 judges up for a retention vote just to oust the three Supreme Court justices on the ballot who had arrogantly overturned the Hawkeye State’s policy that marriage is between one man and one woman. This had never happened before in Iowa.
We have now seen true marriage affirmed by voters in 32 states. Marriage wins in conservative states. Marriage wins in liberal states. Marriage wins among Hispanics and black voters. If you talk about “outreach,” marriage is clearly the place to take a stand.
Liberals call the social issues “wedge” issues. That’s because they think middle- and lower-middle-income voters ought to be voting their “class interest.” That’s a fine Marxist way of thinking. In fact, social issues are “bridge” issues. They appeal to working families.
Ronald Reagan was elected 30 years ago by successfully combining economic freedom with strong defense and traditional family values. He built a winning coalition. Last November 2, that coalition showed every sign of coming back together. That’s a truly “big tent,” not a three-ring circus.
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.