I read an article that typifies for me the battle that the GOP finds itself in. You can find it from the link at the title of this post. The lines are drawn, and the party future is on the line. The party is going to have to decide if it is the party that is Democrat-Lite or Strongly Conservative.
In the article I read, McCain's former top campaign strategist Steve Schmidt laid out the argument for giving up our traditional values in search of voters. The values he wants us to drop are those that are based on the Bible, including our opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, as well as strong border enforcement, which is not a Biblical issue. He worries that younger voters will not give up their liberal social views, even as they age and become more fiscally conservative. Mr. Schmidt sees the Latino vote swinging away from the GOP as we do not adopt positions that appeal to them as a voter block, which he doesn't detail in the article I read. His fear is that the party will be left with a shrinking voter pool, even if they keep the "indispensable" social conservatives.
I understand his argument, I think, yet it misses a large point or two.
First, in Mr. Schmidt's view, there is no point in keeping socially conservative positions as a party, if you don't win power. This misses the point that if you give up your socially conservative positions, there is no need for social conservatives to stay with the party. By dropping opposition to gay marriage, dropping opposition to abortion, and allowing illegal immigration, those who are motivated by those issues will feel disenfranchised, and will not support the party. Those people would have no reason to vote with the Republicans, because the issues they hold as having high importance would have no hope that their party would enact laws to support their views, which is the whole point of supporting a party. The social conservatives are not interested in keeping a party in power, they are interested in getting their views to become policy in the USA! If the Democrats supported their views, guess what? They would support the Democrats! Abortion is taking a life, and life is precious to those who are Pro-Life. Homosexuality is wrong to social conservatives, and if they can find a party that will tolerate (now there's a lost art these days!) homosexuality without promoting or accepting it, they can put their support behind that party. Truth be told, most social conservatives don't hate or even dislike immigrants, it's the breaking of the law that they don't like. Illegal immigration is breaking the law, pure and simple, and social Conservatives don't approve of law-breakers whether the law-breaker is Latino, European, Asian, Arabic, African, or even American. When we allow people to flout the law, the fabric of society begins to unravel, and Social Conservatives don't want that for our country. Not to mention the possibility that the next major terrorist attack could come across our borders illegally.
A word about "Tolerance". Tolerance is allowing a view or position on an issue to exist or persist without approving of it, in a moral sense. To "Tolerate" something is most accurately applied to social issues such as homosexuality. American tolerates things pretty well, or at least, we used to. Christians say homosexuality is wrong, but tolerate homosexuals, because we recognize their right to hold their views and live their lives according to them, as long as they don't force them upon society. What tolerance does not include is approval of the behavior being tolerated. When homosexuals want to participate in marriage, they have the same right to marry a member of the opposite sex that society affords to all Americans. There is not the moral equivalence of marriage in so-called Gay-marriage. This points to a more basic underlying theme about America, that it is founded by God-fearing people, and it's laws and morals are based on the Judeo-Christian heritage. Homosexuals try to win approval of society, and call it "hate" when their behavior is not accepted in the same way as heterosexuals behavior is. Hate is a pretty strong word, and it does not need to be demeaned by being used in place of disapproval. The Christian position, based on the Bible, is to hate the sin while loving the sinner. That is a practical description of tolerance. Most Christians don't "hate" homosexuals. They may feel sorry for them. They may dislike their chosen lifestyle. They may not want to have their children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle, or have them taught by homosexuals, but that is not "hate". If a Christian "hates" homosexuals, they need to get right with the Lord. Jesus didn't hate homosexuals, he didn't hate the woman at the well, who was living a sexually sinful life. He hated sin, and told sinners to go and sin no more. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery (BTW, where was the man?), but rather told her to go and sin no more. That should be the message of any loving person or group, including the GOP. Go and sin no more.
Alternatively, if the GOP does give up its socially conservative positions, to which I would add the Second Amendment Rights, First amendment rights of free speech, and the right to "pursue happiness" which encapsulates the goals of Capitalism, then there will be little difference between the parties. I suppose my biases are showing through, but I don't see how the GOP could win, much less prosper without those key socially conservative positions. A third party would arise, with the social conservatives in it, and the GOP party power would be split. Democrats would love that scenario, as they would have two or three more presidential cycle victories before either the GOP or some third party could mount any serious challenge for power. In that time, the Progressives and Liberals would so firmly plant the change of our country that it might not be able to recover.
In summary, the battle for the soul of the GOP (Great Opportunity Party) must be won by social Conservatives. We cannot afford to let the Democrats win, either by outright holding power into the indefinite future, nor by changing the GOP into a Democrat-lite party, which isn't significantly different from the Democrat party. The GOP needs to stand up for Conservative principles, social, fiscal, national security, border and immigration enforcement, free speech rights, right to own and bear arms, and to pursue happiness. If they can do that, unashamedly, they will attract scores of new voters, including legal Latino immigrants, African Americans, workers, Veterans, young voters who will be concerned about their financial futures, and of course, the base of the party. You will even attract thinking Homosexuals, because they will recognize that the best interests of the country and tolerance of their lifestyles are the best things for them personally. Otherwise, the GOP and the country are going to continue to go down in power and into irrelevance. God help us all!