Changes in Republican Party's platform could win larger voter pool

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

In a political discussion with a friend of mine recently, I heard this quote: “I’d honestly rather have issues like gay marriage and abortion addressed than the budget and deficit fixed.”

I was taken aback upon hearing this as, in my opinion, social issues are clearly secondary to the current economic crisis that could drastically affect our nation’s future.

While it would be nice to have these social issues addressed in the coming election, they should clearly take a back seat to the deficit and budget issues.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard people say things like the above quote; it seems to reflect a viewpoint that I’m hearing more frequently among moderates. One common viewpoint I seem to hear is, “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative.” Another similar viewpoint I’ve heard is, “I’m definitely socially liberal, but I don’t really know enough about economics to have an opinion.”

More and more, people are starting to favor policies that are not held by just one party. Moderates in particular are seeing the need to decide which set of issues, economic or social, they deem most important and sacrifice other issues that come second.

I see the upcoming 2012 election as a great opportunity for the Republican Party to reposition itself and cast away its old stigma of antiquated and prejudiced social policies and truly become the party of limited government.

According to Gallup polls, Americans are increasingly in favor of the legalization of homosexual marriages and also abortion rights, especially in cases of rape. The Republican Party is consistently opposed to gay marriage and abortion, and mixed in its support of abortions in cases of rape.

As a libertarian, I side with the Republican party the majority of the time, but I can’t help but question these policies.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument condemning gay marriage as a detriment to society, and I’ve struggled morally with abortion. However, I’m pro-choice for the same reason that I side with Republicans on most issues: I believe in limited government. Even the arguably most conservative Republican wing, the Tea Party, is in favor of strictly downsizing the power, size, and scope of the federal government.

Why this political group wants the government to step in and tell people “no” on issues such as abortion and gay marriage is inherently contradictory. If the party truly believed in limited government, it wouldn’t support policies that expand the reach of government into the private issues of everyday Americans. This antiquated social conservatism is what earns the GOP so much criticism from its liberal opponents.

If the Republican candidates, especially presidential candidates, drop their largely unpopular social stances that drive away young people and moderates, they can garner the support of a much broader voter base.

In this way, Republicans can get a workable majority in both houses of Congress and can pass popular proposals, such as Herman Cain and Rick Perry’s innovative tax reform plans. This would also put the party in the position to effectively repeal and replace the arcane Obamacare and maybe, just maybe, actually pass a budget.

Right now, the first priority for many Americans is to fix the budget. This is a comprehensive issue that will doubtlessly require a bipartisan, populist solution.
In my opinion, the party most willing and able to immediately fix the budget issue is the Republican Party. If they can leave antiquated and unpopular stances on social issues behind, they have the potential to be a truly populist movement that acts on what the public actually wants.

By being consistent in their loyalty to the founding fathers’ vision of a truly limited government, they can find popular solutions to the budget, the deficit, and the national debt.