Meanwhile, too many GOP elites seem intent on blaming for their defeat the very white evangelicals that the Dems are courting. The absurd idea that voters rebelled against the GOP's opposition to gay marriage is making the rounds (Craig Shirley's latest column is just one example). But aside from the war, the big obvious political reality on the ground is this: Dems' efforts to pass minimum wage increases and oppose the privatization of Social Security are very popular. This is the real elephant in the room that no conservative is allowed to notice. I do not say this with pleasure: I speak as a Reagan conservative who has both opposed increasing the minimum wage and supported personalizing Social Security. But if you can't notice political realities, you aren't in a very good position to figure out new strategies for victory of the principles you hold dear.
The Reagan coalition is dying, in the way great governing coalitions do: not through its failures, but through its successes. Think of the issues that held us together in the 1980s and 1990s: slash income taxes, spur economic growth, monetary reform, welfare reform, crime, communism and the decline of the family. Hardly any of these issues has the same political weight today because Reaganism's ideas transformed the U.S. economy, killed off communism, cut crime, stabilized inflation, and transformed welfare into workfare. Indeed, the irony is that the pro-family conservatives are the only part of the Reagan coalition whose problems are worse after 30 years of political effort. U.S. culture is coarser, families are weaker, schools now teach not only condoms, but gay marriage, porn is everywhere, abortion on demand is still the law, and almost 40 percent of our children are now born out of wedlock.
What is the next great governing coalition? Somewhere, the next Reagan is thinking hard.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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