It’s time for the Right to re-engage social issues

By Matt Rooney
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If I’ve heard it once, Save Jerseyans, I’ve heard it a 1,000-times:

Republicans can’t win in blue (or even purple territory) running as “social” conservatives.

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It’s not just Republicans who’ve surrendered the so-called “culture wars” to the insurgent Left. The West’s original conservative institution — the Catholic Church (of which I am a member, albeit a disgruntled one) — can’t even muster the institutional strength to excommunicate New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic-in-name-only, for enthusiastically legalizing abortion up until the moment of birth. That’s not a late term abortion, folks; it’s early murder. Infanticide. And they think TRUMP is the Nazi?!? Excuse me?

By the way: polling shows the American public overwhelmingly in opposition to the NY law. Meanwhile, Catholics actually commemorate the feast of Holy Innocents every December 28th recalling the massacre of Jewish children by King Herod. It’s going to feel like a rather hallow gesture next year in light of the current leadership’s latest moral failure.

The Church leadership in America and Europe isn’t just cowardly. That’s true to a degree but an over-simplified judgment all the same. Bishops made the same poor political calculation as Republican politicians to their great detriment: “we can’t win young, educated women in blue states unless we stick 100% to economics and taxes.”  

How’s that working out?

I wrote about this phenomenon last January (2018) after Phil Murphy’s landslide here in New Jersey but before the midterm massacre. My conclusion (which is self-evident from the latest results): Republicans are losing suburban voters who could care less about high taxes. They should care! Democrats are unambiguously worse for the economy. Consider, for example, how the U.S. as a whole just created 300k+ jobs under President Trump in the same month that New Jersey LOST thousands of jobs under Phil Murphy. Our worst-in-America property taxes are the stuff of legend. Now New Jersey is poised to tax rain. RAIN! Yet educated suburbanites in Burlington, Somerset, Morris and Bergen counties are trending hard-left.

Most Leftist voters don’t mind high taxes. They’re willing to PAY for their values.

Which values, you ask? Hard to say. A better question is what motivates the new Left, or what they’re against: kids in cages, affronts to “reproductive rights,” and politically incorrect tweets.

Adjudicating who gets to pee in which bathroom (with which set of anatomy) is a bigger priority for these voters than questions of war, peace and prosperity.

Said another way, the Democrats are their “moral” party. Much the same as Nixon successfully harnessed the sentiments of the “silent majority” in ’68.

So yeah, doubling-down on a economics-only “reasonableness” argument will continue to fall on deaf ears. We know this. The proof is in the pudding.

If the Right ever wants to compete with the Left again in places like New Jersey which are at the tipping point of becoming one-party states like California, Republicans and their natural allies need to immediately abandon debunked “conventional wisdom” and reengage the culture wars with renewed energy. Learn from past mistakes, speak from the heart, and push back HARD against the Left’s vile excesses and overreaches.

Yes, they’re overreaching. Believe it and have confidence in it. I just saw a mainstream poll where roughly 80% of Americans opposed late term abortions akin to what’s happening up north. As a young-ish attorney living in a blue county (Camden), I know plenty of intelligent, moderate, under 40 professional women who don’t like hate Donald Trump, and typically vote for Democrats, but who also aren’t exactly enamored with the Democrats. We can find common ground on the fiscal issues as-is, yet we can’t get them through the door without first crafting and delivering a coherent, compelling argument concerning why we deserve their support on the “other” issues.

They want to know we CARE about people as much as mathematics.

You may find that worldview frustrating, but the problem is also nothing new. Any great leader in the vanguard of a popular movement knows the head and the heart require equal treatment in the public discourse.

The good news? I’ve talked to countless educated younger voters on matters ranging from the NY abortion law to New Jersey’s wacky gender neutral birth certificate law.

Guess what? They think the Left’s positions on these issues are BONKERS and, in the case of the NY law, utterly revolting.

There are other topics, too, like school choice, illegal alien driver’s licenses, free college tuition for illegals, chemical treatments to delay puberty in suspected transgender children, the rights of disabled Americans and the sexualization of school textbooks where Republicans can and should reclaim some ground with these voters in battleground jurisdictions.

But Gretzky was right: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Fire away, GOP, or forever hold your peace in Blue America.

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MATT ROONEY is a practicing New Jersey attorney, regular panelist on Chasing News with Bill Spadea, and the founder and blogger-in-chief of Save Jersey.

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