Social issues becoming more important in politics
Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm in News
A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that a record 51 percent of Americans believe that religious conservatives have too much control over the GOP.
The economy was previously the key divider between Republicans and Democrats, but social issues are starting to gain a stronger hold, according to the poll.
Dr. Patrick Whelan, an assistant professor of pediatrics and National President of Catholic Democrats, said the shift toward social issues began in the 1980s.
âThis shift has been going on for 30 years, starting when presidential candidate Ronald Reaganâs team engineered this strategy to corral religious conservatives,â Whelan said. âThe 1980 abortion votes were indistinguishable between Democrats and Republicans.â
Kaya Masler, president of USC Students for Barack Obama and political director of USC College Democrats, said the problem facing the Republican Party is their fractured views on social issues.
âThe Republicans are looking for a basis of unity; however, social issues do not unite the conservative party the way that they unite liberals,â Masler said. âRepublicans are linked by fiscal policy more so than social issues.â
MacKenzie Gansert, a Republican freshman majoring in English, said politicians focus on social issues because there are normally only two sides to social issues.
âStaying away from education, economics and foreign policy is easier because social issues can be separated into black and white, and therefore a definite side can be chosen, making the candidate appear stronger,â Gansert said.
The Republican Party needs to shift its attention away from religious issues and focus more on the economy and fiscal policy, said Alex Kludjian, a Republican freshman majoring in political science.
âThe Republican Party, through pandering to evangelicals, is not moving the party in the right direction,â Kludjian said. âThe positions of social conservatives tend to be more restrictive. We are supposed to be a party of expanding freedoms.â