So, is gay marriage still the golden Rovian ticket for Republican electoral success?
Nate Silver says maybe not.
And the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza says not all GOP strategists are convinced it’s slam dunk, either. Some still think marriage is a winning Republican issue, but others:
But, there are significant dissenting elements within the Republican professional class when it comes to using gay marriage as an effective wedge issue in campaigns. “The world is changing and I don’t think people, particularly swing voters, care as much either way,” said one high level Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly on the topic.
Another Republican consultant said that the issue is a complicated one for GOP candidates in the context of a political campaign. “It’s sort of a no-win,” said the source. “You often need to be on one side of the issue to win the primary, then you’re in trouble for the general.”
In Iowa, the issue definitely doesn’t help Republicans if it means they end up with U.S. Rep. Steve King as their nominee for governor. For all of Culver’s weaknesses, King is not going to win a statewide election. For starters, Iowans aren’t going to put anyone from kooky, unpopular Congress in charge of state government. Second, he’s far more conservative than most Iowans on a list of issues. Issues people care about.
Maybe gay marriage helps them pick off a few legislative seats, but local issues and personalities still drive those races.
Basically, I’m just not sure 18 months from now this will be the end-all, be-all issue. It’s possible, but I think a lot of Iowans will have moved on.
I know millions of dollars will be spent convincing us that the world is ending because some gay couples get marriage licenses and the civil rights that come with them, but I still have faith that Iowans know absurdity and desperate scare tactics them they see them.
And what about young Iowans? Just a few years ago Republicans were so eager to get them to stay in Iowa that they introduced legislation eliminating income taxes for workers under 30. Now, GOP leaders want to send a message of intolerance that will alienate many young people who see gay rights as no big deal.
How is that smart politics?