Santorum’s surge may prove fatal to GOP

20 02 2012

Even the most mainstream of Republicans should give Ron Paul some credit when he calls a focus on social issues a “losing position” in the upcoming election (via HotAir).

Ed Morrissey, the author of the linked article, disagrees with (or is at least ambivalent towards) Paul’s claims. And it’s quite clear why–in an election that is likely to revolve around economic issues (including, perhaps, $5/gallon-plus gasoline), the Republican primary season is the right time to quibble about social conservatism.

Rick Santorum is become an increasingly obvious choice for social conservatives voting in the remaining state primaries. That’s a bit…scary. The prospect of Candidate Santorum is hard to get excited about as it is, and I don’t reckon he’ll go over too well with independent voters come November.

Still, I’m taking a slightly longer view here–and from where I stand, social conservatism is not the future of the GOP no matter what happens later this year.

Two roads diverged...

Young voters are, by and large, unconcerned with social issues.

This is less a matter of hedonistic young libertines seeking pleasure at the expense of our nation’s moral fabric and more an issue of national priorities. Who has time to worry about gay marriage when you can’t afford to leave your parents’ house because of the job market? Is the debate on contraceptives even worth having when you’ve been stuck with the tab rung up by entitlement-loving Baby Boomers?

And yet every day, we hear about more and more primary voters throwing their weight behind big government “conservative” Rick Santorum, presumably because he is:

1. Not Mitt Romney

2. Willing to take a tough stance on social issues

3. Largely unvetted, for now

Young voters are easy to discount. But young voters grow to be old(er) voters, and a Santorum candidacy would poison likely poison the waters for the GOP for years to come. If Santorum is the candidate, the GOP deserves what it gets–and Paul’s words will once again prove to be prophetic.

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