A day before GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio reversed his position and came out for marriage equality, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), insisted conservatives are rallying against gay marriage and that “if the Republican Party abandons traditional marriage, there is no Republican Party.” He also predicted that California’s Proposition 8 will be upheld by the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on the case later this month, calling the decision by gay advocates to challenge Prop 8 "the biggest strategic mistake the supporters of same-sex marriage ever have made."Not sure why it would be a strategic mistake. Either equality wins at the Supreme Court, or the Court kicks it back to the states, where equality is making huge gains anyway. Sure, it would mean that Mississippi and Alabama won't be seeing equality anytime soon, but change is inevitable. It's a simple demographic reality.
And speaking of strategic mistakes, there's always this. Back to Brown:
"I think people are excited [about traditional marriage],” Brown said in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Thursday. “[Florida Senator] Marco Rubio just stood up there and said, 'Just because I’m for traditional marriage doesn’t make me a bigot.' And everyone stood up and cheered. The grass roots of conservatism are absolutely united behind traditional marriage. Folks I’m seeing here are absolutely committed.”Actually, it does make him a bigot. But aside from that, I would hope that NOM would find allies at CPAC, since the conference has worked overtime to keep gay people out. It's one of a shrinking number of places were bigotry is still tolerated.
Brown went on to say that the Republican Party would not exist if Republicans supported same-sex marriage. "If the Republican Party abandons traditional marriage there is no Republican Party," he said. "You drive the social conservatives out and throw them to the side of the road, there’s no republican party. They’ll go start a third party."Promise?
As long as the GOP harbors bigotry, they'll remain unable to make significant gains with youth voters. And without significant gains among new voters, conservatives can't replenish attrition suffered by their strongest demographic—which also happens to be the oldest.
So what's worse for the GOP? Be trapped by a rabid base that prevents it from modernizing, thus rendering it unelectable, or split into two fringe halves, also unelectable?
Who cares? We win either way!