Talk within Republican Party circles seems fairly rosy as of late with talk of retaking the Senate on the heels of the Obama Administration’s many blunders. However, these analysts seem to be looking only to the short-term to define success for the GOP as the Oval Office requires far more policy than mere critique. For forward thinking right-wingers, support of both gay marriage and marijuana legalization should become policy, and in doing so, the odds of the Republican Party winning more than just one election increase significantly.
As are with most elements of necessary change, it must be noted that these are hard policies for the party to change. However, with the Republican strategy of ostracising various groups left, right, and centre, large portions of the population are simply turned off in their entirety by the GOP. Most notably, Republican treatment of the issues surrounding gay rights and gay marriage are frankly self-destructive.
By embracing the party’s strong libertarian element, support of gay marriage should come naturally. After all, with the popular notion that it is not the government’s place to be making personal decisions as well as the idea that government ought to be as inconsequential as possible in American’s lives, it becomes clear that a shift on gay marriage has support.
Furthermore, it is unlikely that this will make Republican Party loyalists will abstain from voting come election season. Some of the biggest issues (economy, foreign policy, health care) are issues that Republicans either do not need to change their stance on, or democrats are already self-destructive on.
Gay marriage has support amongst some prominent Republican Party politicians as well. Rand Paul, Jon Huntsman, and others are legitimate leadership contenders who, if chosen as candidate, will take the party down this path any ways.
By removing some of the polarizing social stigma attached to the party, Republicans can position themselves to win amongst a new audience, and doing so will bode well for the next election’s outlook as well as future elections.
Consider all of the various groups that lobby specifically for gay rights. Their well-funded support targets GOP candidates and, if the party forthright supported (or at least got out of the way of) gay marriage, that would remove a major thorn in their political sides.
Some argue that these ideas simply betray true Republican Party ideals. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite what some commentators would have you believe, supporting gay marriage does not mean the sacrifice of Christian ideals in any sense. Consider this: if Jesus himself defined loving God as the most important commandment, and atheism is clearly legal, what sense does it make to have gay marriage illegal? Simply put, it unnecessarily targets one group and it has unnecessarily damaged Republican’s chances at winning.
The Republican Party’s support of gay marriage is one incredibly important step, but getting behind marijuana legalization could be just as important. Once again, making strides to embrace freedom and liberty should guide the party to victory.
Specifically with marijuana, the GOP will be able to secure several key demographics while playing to their top qualities. Beating the Democrats to the progressive punch with broad support, the right will be able to target youth and minorities while touting economic, health, defence and crime prevention, and liberty benefits.
Consistently, youth and minorities have polled with higher support for legalization than their older white counterparts. This is to say that if the Republican Party is to extend its reach in some of the most important demographics that it has failed in as of late, marijuana legalization should be supported. Doing this will set Republicans apart in a positive way both politically and socially, and it will do much to dispel conceptions that it is a party of rigid old white men.
Furthermore, creating a new, profitable, and taxable industry will serve the economy well. This bodes well with Republican doctrine in terms of promotion of a free market as well as maximizing positive economic indicators as a top priority. With increased trade, job indicators, and income into the states that support it, it will help the GOP win and keep swing state territory.
In terms of defence and crime prevention, illegal drug trade will take a significant hit from registered dealers opening up their shops. Buyers will want consistent and safe sources for their product. As well, it makes it so that law enforcement can focus on more “hard crimes,” and prisons will be less overcapacity with marijuana users.
And finally, liberty. The Republican party needs to be the party of the staunch defence and expander of American liberties. The party should support both gay marriage and marijuana legalization to do just that. By expanding their influence and becoming the party they always claim to be, the GOP will set itself up to win not just the next election, but many more to come.
Opinion by Brett Byers-Lane