Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rod Dreher on why Even Social Conservatives May Find a Home in the Democratic Party

Rod Dreher, an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News, and author of "Crunchy Cons", has a very interesting post on his blog about how social conservatives may ultimately find a home in the Democratic Party even if the Democratic Party does not change its position on gay rights. He is responding to a reader's comments about how young voters are moving toward the Democratic Party, and how social conservatives can no longer depend on the Republican Party :


To the reader's broader "every man for himself" point for social conservatives, what he seems to be getting at is that true social conservatives can't rely on the GOP alone to look out for their interests. If the defining issues for social cons are abortion and homosexual rights, then he's wrong. There's no sign that the Dems are going to reflect social con positions on those issues -- and on the matter of gay rights, it will only be a matter of time, and not much time, before the GOP changes its view to be more tolerant of homosexuality in public policy. There is no question but that homosexuality isn't that big a deal to the young, and the GOP is going to change with the times.

But if social conservatives think more comprehensively about the threats to family and stability, it's by no means clear that the Republicans are our natural allies. Last week my wife and I met with our financial adviser to go over some investment strategies. We are like most young families, struggling to pay bills and to plan for college and retirement, and we finally sought the help of a professional. We were discussing various tax and investment strategies, and it started to become clear to me that the overall situation for middle-class Americans like us was more dire than we'd imagined. Our advisor smiled sadly, and said (I paraphrase): "Now you're seeing why the middle class has lost so much ground under the Republicans. They've managed to take care of the most well off, but the middle class is far less secure now than it was a generation ago. All this visible prosperity is built on debt, and it can't last."

"So what's going to happen when the bills come due?" I asked. He smiled weakly.

What I'm getting at is that we social conservatives lament the social instability resulting from the abandonment of traditional religious and social values, but we fail to appreciate the role that the structure of our economy, especially in a globalized era, plays in causing instability. It could be that at least on the local level, Democrats will become friendly to socially conservative policies -- meaning policies that shore up and sustain the family and communities -- than Republicans for whom economic development is the holy grail. I do believe that we will see, and see soon, a time when Democrats become competitive for the social and religious conservative vote. Probably not at the national level, at least not yet, but certainly at the state and local level. The GOP is our natural home, but increasingly, we who seek stable families and communities will, as the reader suggests, have to find ways to be in both parties.


Read it all.

Rod Dreher is truly a social conservative, and not a Republican Party loyalist. The point he makes about economic stability being important to social conservatives is a very important one, and suggests that smart Democratic candidates can indeed win the votes of social conservative voters (like Evangelicals).

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