November 13, 2012
JOHN HINDERAKER: Whither The “Social Issues.” I’ll note that in 2010, the Tea Party didn’t talk about them, and did well. In 2012, Romney didn’t talk about them much — but the Dems successfully used them as a wedge issue and the GOP didn’t respond.
UPDATE: Reader Mark Pernel writes:
I think there are two things going on in that example. The first is that the Tea Party is more a fiscal-issues group and were better
positioned to ignore the social stuff. There is definitely a social-conservative wing of the movement, but they are willing to
overlook the culture wars at least to some extent in order to get the fiscal issues fixed.
The second is that 2010 was a mid-term, and without the big hammer of a Presidential campaign it was harder for the Dems to use
social issues as a wedge. Trying to organize a wedge issue across ~470 Congressional races is hard, particularly when you’re already on
the defensive for your vote on a deeply divisive issue like PPACA. Having a single national race that can act as a focal point for the
wedge changes the dynamic, and it was bad news for Romney.
Especially when the press regards itself as Democratic operatives with bylines, as it so clearly did.