Social conservatives and evangelicals are feeling a little left out of the Grand Old Party lately. The RNC’s great Republican autopsy did not mention the words “Christian” or “church” in its nearly 100 pages. Meanwhile, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus praised Senator Rob Portman for reversing his position and deciding to support marriage equality, saying, “I think Sen. Portman made some pretty big inroads last week…I think it’s about being decent.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says the strategy translates to “throwing the party’s social conservatives overboard.” The founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition Ralph Reed says the softening language on marriage will turn the “big tent” into a “pup tent very fast.”
The apparent lack of deference from some Republicans is a marked shift. Jill Lepore wrote a 2011 article in the New Yorker about how the conservative movement took up the anti-abortion banner in the late seventies as a way to energize the evangelical community and split them away from Democrats. Essentially, the Right co-opted social conservatives for political expediency. Now they are showing signs of dropping them for the very same reason.
Alex Wagner spoke Thursday with President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin and the NOW panel about the shifting cultural attitudes towards marriage equality and what that means for the Republican Party.