Now that the Supreme Court has effectively ended the debate over gay marriage by refusing to listen to the appeals from states over the lower court decisions that said banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, it would appear this is a huge loss for Republicans. In fact, if they play their cards right, the opposite might be true.
While supporters of gay marriage can celebrate the court’s decision, Republicans can thrive if they learn from their past. With the 2016 presidential election just two years away, thanks to the Supreme Court, gay marriage should no longer be an issue. If asked for their position on gay marriage, Republican presidential candidates simply need to reply, “While I personally do not believe in gay marriage, the legal process has played out and the Supreme Court has decided the matter once and for all. We have more pressing matters that face this nation and it will be those matters that my presidency will focus on.”
By respectfully disagreeing with the court’s decision while telling the public the matter is dead, Republicans will be able to begin the process of ending the practice of allowing religiously influenced politics to direct their presidential goals. If they are wise, Republicans would also do the same when it comes to their stances on abortion, euthanasia, or any other issues that are all too often Bible driven.
In doing so, the Republican Party can begin concentrating on convincing millennials they are the party best suited for the future of this significant voting population. Jobs, war, tuition reform, the environment, taxes, health care, and housing are not Bible driven issues and all are more important to the children of baby boomers than who is or is not allowed to get married.
Republicans would also be wise to forget about a litmus test for their future judicial appointments, expecting them to be pro life, pro death penalty, and pro heterosexual. All these do is send a message to young people that Republicans are not an all inclusive party. If they want to gain the vote of women, minorities, or the young, they need to return to focusing on the issues that matter most to the majority rather than those of the overly influential extreme right.
Millennials do not care whether or not a person is gay or straight, Christian or other, white or black, or conservative or liberal. All they want is to trust a political party with their future, a future that today is no better off than it was when they got behind President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
In 2016, Democrats will have to run on their record. They will not be able to blame the war, economy, health care, or social reforms on Republicans. The Republican candidate who can focus on the shortcomings of the past eight years rather than on undoing what the Supreme Court has allowed and what most Americans support, will have a much better chance of winning the White House.
This candidate will be able to paint the Democrats choice, most likely Hillary Clinton, as a representative of failed past policies that only stand in the way of the future progress of this nation. Republicans might actually have a chance at painting themselves as the more level headed and moderate party, something most Americans are hoping to find in one of our two major parties.
So in two years, if Republicans win back the White House, they can thank the Supreme Court once again. Only this time it will not be over their interpretation of dangling chads or voter recounts in Florida but rather because they took a divisive issue that made republicans look out of touch with the rest of the nation and took it off the political table.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.