\”Linda McMahon lost the election for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate not because she reached out to social conservatives but because her outreach was poorly executed and, on same-sex \’marriage,\’ she betrayed it altogether,\’\’ writes Wolfgang on his personal Facebook page.
The full message after the jump:
McMahon had laid out a careful strategy in two elections of a soft social conservatism, mostly supportive of abortion but siding with conservatives on parental notification, partial-birth abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, the definition of marriage and the First Amendment right to religious liberty.
This strategy only works if the candidate advocates for those positions. Not just independent parties like National Right to Life Committee or Peter Wolfgang, the candidate herself must defend her positions. Linda never did.
Instead, she emphasized her pro-abortion position ad infinitum but never ran a single ad challenging her opponent on such common sense issues as parental notification. The result was confusion among social conservative voters.
Confusion turned to a sense of betrayal when Linda reversed her pro-traditional marriage position one month before the election and said she now supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.
Linda’s flip-flop on marriage was an electorally fatal error, tanking in a single instant her four year long, $100 million investment in a U.S. Senate seat. It provoked one of the biggest negative reactions I have ever seen from social conservative voters in my five years as President of Family Institute of Connecticut Action, voters who called me day and night to say she had lost their votes.
Media and politicians who are unfamiliar with social conservatism in Connecticut tend to think it is a phenomenon that begins and ends with one issue: abortion. But the single biggest culture war conflict in Connecticut over the last decade was not about the right to life. It was about the definition of marriage.
The coalition that fought to maintain the traditional definition of marriage in Connecticut is bigger and more diverse than the pro-life movement in Connecticut and it includes people on both sides of the life issue. That is why—at a time when pro-abortion victories seemed irreversible at our state Capitol—Family Institute of Connecticut defeated same-sex “marriage” at the legislature every year for a decade. Marriage was only re-defined in our state via judicial fiat.
This is the history Linda did not know when she reversed her position on same-sex “marriage.” Her flip-flop won few converts to her candidacy but cost her thousands of votes—the thousands of state voters who had prayed, marched, rallied, signed petitions and lobbied their legislators this past decade to protect the traditional definition of marriage in Connecticut.
I hope Linda’s fate will be a lesson to the national GOP. The Republican Party could have won another, much needed, seat in the U.S. Senate if only its candidate in Connecticut had not flip-flopped on same-sex “marriage.”
If this is true even in liberal Connecticut, it is truer of the nation as a whole. If the national Republican Party ever abandons its historic role as the pro-traditional marriage party, it will consign itself to the status of the Connecticut Republican Party: a permanent minority.