With the Supreme Court set to hear landmark cases this week on marriage rights, the evidence is overwhelming that the right has lost the larger national debate. "There's no putting this genie back in the bottle," Republican strategist Ana Navarro conceded yesterday. "This is now undeniable. The shift is here. We're not going back."
Some in the GOP are struggling with this more than others.
On "Fox News Sunday" yesterday, Gary Bauer, a long-time leader in the religious right movement, was confronted with some uncomfortable data. Host Chris Wallace noted the shifting national polls, which now show most Americans support marriage equality.
Bauer was unmoved. When Wallace asked, "Do you worry that this only puts the Republican Party further out of touch with the mainstream of American voters?" the conservative activist replied, "No, I'm not worried about it because the polls are skewed."
Conservative activists are certainly free to use whatever talking points they like, but if they don't want to be laughed at, they should probably stop using the word "skewed" when rejecting polls they don't like. The last time the right embraced the concept of "skewed" polls, it didn't turn out well for them.
Besides, if it were one or two polls, ideologues could plausibly argue they're outliers, but are all the polls "skewed"?
Consider the national polls since early February: in the latest Fox News poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (49% to 46%); in the latest CNN poll, a majority supports marriage equality (53% to 44%); in the latest Pew Research Center poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (49% to 44%); in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, a majority supports marriage equality (58% to 36%); in the latest Quinnipiac poll, a plurality supports marriage equality (47% to 43%); in the latest CBS poll, a majority supports marriage equality (54% to 39%).
Just yesterday, the Columbus Dispatch published a statewide poll in Ohio that found 54% of the state wants to overturn a statewide ban marriage equality.
A few hours later, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a moderate Democrat from the increasingly "red" state of Missouri, announced that she too now supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Bauer and his allies can embrace reality or they can stick to their "skewed" line, but either way, they're losing.
Postscript: If you watch the clip above, note that in the same interview, Bauer mentions that marriage was on the ballot in four states in 2012, and his side "lost all four of those votes." But, he added, conservatives "had 45, 46 percent of the vote" in the defeats.
What an amusing argument. Why is Bauer boasting about having the support of a shrinking minority?