Initial Election Observations

by Stephen H. Miller on November 6, 2012

Some thoughts:

Marriage equality wins! First, the good news, and it’s big: Voters
in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and (apparently, if narrowly) Washington State voted in favor of marriage equality, breaking a long, consistent losing streak in state referendums. That’s huge. (The votes in three of the states legalize or keep marriage for gay couples, while the Minnesota vote defeated an amendment banning same-sex marriage, which is not currently legal there.)

In Maryland, our friend Walter Olson deserves great praise for securing public endorsements from prominent conservatives for saving the Maryland law. His work is a template that others should follow.

Next up, the likely U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages that are recognized by the states. These victories help make the case that the time has come to stop prohibiting legal equality for gay couples (the Justices are not supposed to, but do, consider such things).

Obama’s Pyrrhic victory. I think James Taranto said it best: The Case for Obama: Re-election would ensure he is accountable for the mess he inherits from himself.

Defeat for pro-gay Republicans. The Human Rights Campaign, the once-nonpartisan and still largest LGBT political pac, helped defeat Log Cabin backed Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, one of the leading moderate and gay supportive Republicans, in favor of leftwing icon Elizabeth Warren. The worst fear of progressive LGBT Democrats is a Republican party that isn’t uniformly anti-gay.

Similarly, and sadly, in a closely watched Massachusetts congressional race, openly gay Republican Richard Tisei had a shot at making history—without the backing of HRC, naturally—but lost in a squeaker to an ethically challenged Democrat. And now, late word that Democrat Rep. Bob Filner has beaten openly gay Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio in the race for mayor of San Diego. LGBT progressive activists in the area worked overtime to defeat political apostate DeMaio. It’s what they do.

In Wisconsin, an open Senate seat was won by Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who is openly lesbian, over former governor and GOP moderate Tommy Thompson. While the election of an openly gay person to the U.S. Senate is to be lauded, Baldwin, alas, was one of the most leftwing members of the House and is likely to now be the most leftwing member of the Senate. This, and the overall nature of progressive LGBT activism, will further strengthen the identification of gay legal equality with an ideological agenda of crushingly bureaucratic regulation, growing government dependency and redistribution to favored political classes. Good news for the party of the left and its operatives; not so good for securing a firm foundation for gay Americans’ legal equality.

More. As in 2010, the religious right again cost the Republicans some Senate seats they were expected to easily win before extreme utterances came out of the mouths of their candidates. Last night, this was particularly evident in the case of Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s loss to unpopular Sen. Claire McCaskill (he of the infamous “legitimate rape” comment). Some are making the same argument about Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, whose poorly stated comments on all life being a gift from God despite rape were, to be fair, gleefully distorted by Democrats and the media.

Furthermore. I had previously blogged these links about pro-gay GOP House candidates Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Nan Hayworth in New York, and Senate candidates Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Linda McMahon in Connecticut. None were supported by HRC, and all lost their races to progressive Democrats. As a result, the GOP will be even more anti-gay and thus provide plenty of fundraising fodder for HRC, which will lament the absence of pro-gay voices in the GOP, as they work to defeat pro-gay voices in the GOP, and send out more fundraising fodder….

Still more. As expected, lots of chortling from the Democrats’ loyal LGBT party operatives that Republicans are now irrelevant and to be consigned to the trash heap of history. Well, after all, Obama did win 50.4% of the popular vote. It’s the end of history—and the two-party system, because 50.4% seals the deal. No need to reform the GOP and promote pro-gay Republican candidates because the Democrats rule the day with their 50.4%, now and forever.

More still. Reader “Another Steve” responds to another commenter:

This issue is NOT whether the Democratic candidates were better than the GOP candidates [in the races mentioned], but whether the GOP candidates were moderates whose positions would help drive the GOP away from its hard anti-gay stance and toward at least a moderate view on gay issues. By refusing to support (or, in races like Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren), actively working to defeat moderate, relatively gay-supportive Republicans, LGBT activists have ensured that the GOP does not move forward. As Miller states, that’s good for HRC’s fundraising and for keeping gays tied to the Democratic party, but not good long-term when the country remains 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

{ 45 comments }

Doug November 7, 2012 at 12:31 am

You are a poor bitter man Stephen. Keep it up and the GOP will be a minority party by 2016. Face the facts. This was a Democratic night, look at the Senate and Obama. The people did not buy load of BS.

DCBuck November 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

“The people did not buy load of BS.”

Oh yes they did . . . They just bought into Obama’s and the Dem’s brand of BS.

DCBuck November 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

“The people did not buy load of BS.”

Oh, yes they did . . . They just bought into Obama’s and the Dem’s brand of BS.

clayton delery November 7, 2012 at 1:58 am

Althuogh I am a Democrat, I look forward to a pro- gay Republican party, and we may have seen the beginning tonight. More than one strategist and pundit has suggested that what the election was about was demographics; the Republicans cannot continue to be anti- woman, anti-immigrant, anti- minority, and anti-gay if they want to win elections. The fact that all three marriage votes passed, and that the Constitutional amendment in Minnesota failed, shows that Roves old divide- and-conquer strategy will no longer work. Obama won by attracting a demographically diverse electorate, and that is how future elections will be won. Republicans now have a choice: get on board, or become irrelevant.

Houndentenor November 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I’m a Democrat too and I’d even be happy with a GOP that was neutral on gay issues. They aren’t anywhere near neutral. A few retired politicians, spouses and pundits in favor of gay rights doesn’t change that. (BTW, did any of them actually campaign for gay marriage this year or were statements merely culled from books and old interviews?) Miller has this delusion that Democrats are the reason Republicans are anti-gay. I guess we use some sort of magic power to influence the platform or have secret agents preaching at right-wing churches or something? It makes no sense to any rational person.

Kevin M. Zimmerman November 7, 2012 at 3:04 am

Elizabeth Warren won in Massachusetts! <—- very happy about this.

Carl November 7, 2012 at 3:59 am

Scott Brown wanted to appoint nothing but Scalias to the Supreme Court. Say what you will about Scalia, but he is not pro-gay, he is not neutral…he is very anti-gay and will likely remain so.

I think it’s very telling that a sea of gay candidates were elected tonight – very possibly 3 in the House and 1 in the Senate. The one left behind was the gay Republican. Voters in that district had zero reason to believe that the virulently anti-gay House leadership would give Tisei the time of day. They had zero reason to believe that Tisei would not have to fight costly primary battles against social conservatives.

At best, the message of most of the “moderate” Republicans running amounted to – I don’t hate you. I really don’t. I swear. Other people in my party might, but that’s not me.

Even Republicans who were seen as allies, like Judy Biggert, threw that loyalty out the window.

When you show gay voters a Republican who will stand up for them no matter the political cost, who will fight like hell for them, who does not condescend to them, then you may see a change.

As it is now, most gay voters are choosing between a party which is very imperfect but has still helped advance their rights far more than anyone would have imagined even two years ago, and a party which is one breath away from reviving sodomy laws.

Jorge November 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

Also defeated were Judy Biggert of Illonois, but Illena Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York won their re-election bids.

At best, the message of most of the “moderate” Republicans running amounted to – I don’t hate you. I really don’t. I swear. Other people in my party might, but that’s not me.

Talk about a load of bull****.

Well that makes for a pretty sour morning, but if the progressives want to celebrate they can have the flag. I’ll need to find out more about those marriage initiatives.

Carl November 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Have any “moderate” Republicans really said anything different? Have they pushed for any active changes? The only ones I would give that to are Ros-Lehtinen and Susan Collins.

JudyBiggert, endorsed by HRC, wound down her campaign talking about polygamy and bigamy. If this is moderate Republicanism in 2012, how do you go forward?

Jorge November 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

What do polygamy and bigamy have to do with anything?

What I expect to hear from our representatives is nothing less than “I will fight for you”, and it doesn’t really matter to me overmuch if their policy prescriptions are the same as or different from mine so long as they are willing to govern in everyone’s best interests.

I will be taking a close look at this new crop of gay congressional people to see if they pass that test.

Carl November 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm
Jorge November 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

You misinterpreted my post, although I couldn’t figure out a way around that. I was making the point that I don’t consider gay marriage particularly relevant–let alone make-or-break–in assessing whether or not a politician is pro-gay. And I already knew Judy Biggert did not support gay marriage.

However, you made a point to explain your reasoning, and I am more than a little disturbed that you would cite an article that speaks for itself as instead the opposite, as some kind of evidence that Judy Biggert lacks the credentials to be considered gay-affirming. I have a very hard time understanding how anyone could come to the conclusion that she is even winking and nodding at comparing gay marriage to polygamy and bigamy, let alone making a direct comparison or condemnation, which is what you implied.

More broadly, you make a claim that moderate Republicans are saying “I don’t hate you, I swear!”, and when I call you out on it, you wind up posting a link to an article that speaks directly to Judy Biggert’s affirmation of and support of the gay community.

I don’t get this hyperventilating so many progressives seem to do about gay issues in a very selective manner, and I’m not very interested in pretending it’s legitimate, no matter which way the wind blows. You are taking a good person and making her out to be something that she is not. I would be interested to know what you intend to build up in place of the good will you seem intent on destroying, and why other people should give any assistance.

Carl November 8, 2012 at 12:02 am

“More broadly, you make a claim that moderate Republicans are saying “I don’t hate you, I swear!”, and when I call you out on it, you wind up posting a link to an article that speaks directly to Judy Biggert’s affirmation of and support of the gay community.”

The reason I gave a link about Judy Biggert was because you asked what I meant. Her affirmation and support of the gay community clearly only went so far. That’s not “making her out to be something she’s not.” That’s linking to her comments. She compared gay marriage to polygamy and bigamy. Does that mean she is Michelle Bachmann? No. I never said she was. But it shows the limitations of this moderate Republican ideal which we are supposed to cling to. She had HRC in her corner, the organization that this site repeatedly casts as some all-powerful weapon. Yet she still couldn’t stop herself from making that bizarre statement as a reason for opposing gay marriage.

As for the rest – what else do moderate Republicans do besides play the game of saying gee, I like you, really, I’m trying, and then we’re supposed to be happy and relieved as they do absolutely nothing to stop their party from being anti-gay? Are we supposed to work for Scott Brown after he says he wants Scalia-type justices? Is that a moderate view?

Jorge November 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

She compared gay marriage to polygamy and bigamy.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I am not going to let you state untruths that are unsubstantiated by the article you linked to without calling you out on it. She did not compare gay marriage to polygamy or bigamy. She was making a statement that she believes marriage laws should be decided by the states. Not every situation where someone says gay marriage and polygamy in the same sentence is a direct comparison or much less a belittling of gay marriages.

She had HRC in her corner

Uhhhhh, no she didn’t. If there’s something you know that I don’t I would like to hear it.

As for the rest – what else do moderate Republicans do besides play the game of saying gee, I like you, really, I’m trying, and then we’re supposed to be happy and relieved as they do absolutely nothing to stop their party from being anti-gay?

Moderate Republicans don’t do much. It’s been the conservative Republicans (McCain, Bush, Ashcroft, Coulter, GOProud) who have done the heavy lifting in changing the direction of their party and this country.

Moderate Republicans do two things that I think are important. First, they act as a check against the excesses of progressives, taking progressive ideas and goals and creating alternative versions that serve traditional goals. It still speaks to the same issues. Over the time the result may still be that the progressive version wins the day (e.g., marriage over civil unions). However, if progressives want marriage and conservatives want civil unions, marriage wins much more easily. Because more people are conceding the root need for it. Things are not the way I wish it on other issues, however, they are the way the are by the consent of the majority whom the moderates have convinced or represented in thinking that important issues of fairness and social justice must be answered to. I reject in the strongest possible terms any suggestion that a forthright advocacy of civil unions and similar middle of the road solutions to gay rights causes is in any way a cop-out on social responsibility.

Second, while I have little evidence of this (mainly Rudy Giuliani), I believe moderate Republicans act to erode the intransigence of conservatives and persuade them to take progressive positions.

Carl November 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm

“Uhhhhh, no she didn’t. If there’s something you know that I don’t I would like to hear it.”

The Human Rights Campaign had endorsed her over her Democrat opponent, Bill Foster.

Aubrey Haltom November 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

I used to comment on this site some years ago, but nowadays just stop by to read the posts and the comments.

But I had to comment on Miller’s assertion that Scott Brown is “one of the leading… gay supportive Republicans.” It’s hard to even know how to process that statement.

I guess it’s technically accurate that Brown has voted (once?) in favor of equality – and for Republicans that makes him a “leading…supportive” candidate.

But I live in Massachusetts, and I remember other Brown comments throughout the years as well:

Re: Cheryl Jacques – the openly lesbian Mass State Senator who became Exec. Dir of HRC, and who had just announced her partner’s pregnancy – the Boston Globe reported Brown’s following comments:

“I don’t know what their relationship is,” Brown said of Jacques and her partner, according to the Globe. “They’re certainly not married. There’s a difference of philosophy there. Are there two mothers there? Are they husband and wife?”

“It’s unusual for two women having a baby,… It’s just not normal…”

And let’s also note that prior to (finally) voting to repeal DADT in Dec. 2010, Brown voted against repeal in May 2010 and Sept. 2010.

Why should lgbt organizations support someone like Brown – who has also never endorsed marriage equality (only remarking that in Mass. it’s a ‘settled issue’), while Warren has been an advocate for the community from the start? Even calling out Obama for his lack of “evolving” on the issue.

It’s a tired meme that Miller is running, and one that seems to purposefully disregard some very simple facts…

Jimmy November 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

HRC is a progressive organization, and its cause is a progressive one. It makes no sense voting for a gay politician who represents a vote against fairer tax policy and supports shifting more of the tax burden onto the middle class, who sides with militarism over diplomacy, and thinks supply-side economics is great idea. Get over the sour grapes where HRC is concerned.

All we Hoosiers had to do is repeat what Mourdock said, and you think this is a “distortion.” Such willful obtuseness.

DCBuck November 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

“HRC is a progressive organization, and its cause is a progressive one.”

I agree with the first part. Then why not just cut the pretense, stop lying, and come out and admit that the HRC is nothing but a big, pink shill for the Democrats?

The second half is mindless pap. Do some cursory research. I’ll help you:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwater072894.htm

There are plenty of real conservatives who believe the ridiculous fatwa the Talibangelicals have been waging against gay people is incredibly contrary to the main, overriding conservative principle of less government.

Houndentenor November 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm

“There are plenty of real conservatives who believe the ridiculous fatwa the Talibangelicals have been waging against gay people is incredibly contrary to the main, overriding conservative principle of less government.”

But obviously not nearly enough of them.

DCBuck November 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

“But obviously not nearly enough of them.”

No, more like they have allowed the Talibangelicals and teabaggers to scream loudly. In this case, silence = (political) death.

Aubrey Haltom November 7, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’ll add another 2 cents to this thread:

How does Miller consider Tommy Thompson a “moderate”? Rather than argue the point, I’d like Miller to explain that position – it seems to run counter to the facts.

And re: Richard Tisei, he was running against one of the most pro-equality politicians in the country. Is Miller suggesting that simply because Tisei is gay, he should be supported by the lgbt community? Even when he’d (in all probability) end-up supporting Boehner and his pro-DOMA, anti-lgbt agenda?

To be honest (though I’m not in the Tierney/Tisei district), I think Romney really hurt both Brown and Tisei here in Massachusetts.

Mass is very familiar with Romney, and his teflon/non-stick approach to policy. Mitt is very unpopular in Massachusetts. Even in Mitt’s hometown of Belmont (wealthy Boston suburb), Romney lost by a substantial margin.

Both Warren and Tierney tied their opponents to Romney, and were able to make effective arguments that electing either Republican would amount to supporting the Republican Party platform/agenda.

Perhaps Miller should work on changing the Republican Party platform, rather than asking lgbt organizations to run counter to their own best interests…

Clayton November 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

“I had previously blogged these links about pro-gay GOP House candidates Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Nan Hayworth in New York, and Senate candidates Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Linda McMahon in Connecticut. None were supported by HRC, and all lost their races to progressive Democrats. ”

Stephen, you seem to be positing a cause-effect relationship here. I have a newsflash for you: ninety percent of the electorate has no idea that HRC even exists, much less who receives its endorsements. If moderate Republicans are to win elections, they have to find a way to draw in a majority of that ninety percent. Mr. John Q. Public and Ms. Jane X. Public (who outnumber LGBT people by a wide margin) are not sitting around waiting for the HRC to speak before they make their electoral decisions. When you attribute Republican losses to the HRC, you are not only giving that organization way more credit than it deserves, but you also make yourself look petulant and whiny. Rise above it.

Houndentenor November 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

“The worst fear of progressive LGBT Democrats is a Republican party that isn’t uniformly anti-gay.”

Saying this over and over (which you do) doesn’t make it true.

I’m no fan of HRC (see previous comments) but I think it is their duty to endorse the candidate with the best pro-gay record. It’s not their job to attempt to level the playing field by endorsing an okay Republican over a very good Democrat. I’m sorry you don’t like that. You mourn Tisei’s apparant loss and fail to rejoice in the election of the first OPENLY gay Senator.

Your hatred of liberals overshadows your desire for gay rights in this country. That’s sad, but typical of gay conservatives.

Don November 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

Reading the tea leaves from last night broadly, I think this election bodes really well for gay republicans. With such strong showings on gay rights overall, there is tremendous pressure to drop the religious fire breathing animosity toward everyone who’s not a straight white guy. I don’t think they will drop the anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-black sentiments overnight. But I think the nastiness is going to get dialed waaaaaaay back. No more rhetoric about “free checks for lazy people (black)” and “God will smite us unless we stop the perverts” talk. Sure, some people will always say such things. But it I think it will no longer be an open policy of Republicans anymore. Look for a major immigration deal in the next 4 years. And a lot less opposition to anything gay. It will still be there. But the 4 wins on marriage equality has got to make the Establishment shit themselves. They never wanted it to begin with. Now they finally have the ammo to say “sit down and shut up, you’re going to cost us the election with this crap”

Carl November 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

That’s what people said in 2006, 2008, 2010…

The GOP either can’t or won’t take the risk.

Don November 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

Point taken. But there are some things in this election that seem to suggest the overwhelming evidence that has been mounting over time will likely wear them down. Initial reports out seem to be “woo latinos who hate gays and abortion, too” is the new strategy. But I think it’s still too early to tell. They need time to process this. And their highly unlikely chance of gaining ground in the next 4 years is just going to make it all so much harder to hold those positions. Plus I think there are too many anti-brown people in their party that make up the base. I don’t see how they make that turn on immigration alone.

Carl November 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Considering the breathless hype over Marco Rubio started immediately after Romney lost, and Rubio has been virulently anti-gay throughout his career, I guess that is their strategy. Same old 2004 playbook. We love minorities (if they stay in their place) – we hate gays. And the media will lap it up.

DCBuck November 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Don: by and large, I hope you are right. The initial comments from GOP bigwigs seem to indicate that they are finally seeing that catering to the loony Talibangelical and teabagger fringe is not a recipe for victory. The problem is that as of now, that fringe is in firm grasp of the GOP. To paraphrase Reagan, I didn’t leave the Republican party; the Republican Party left me. Unless and until the GOP realizes that TRUE conservatism (like that espoused by one of the founding fathers of conservatism, Barry Goldwater) means limited government INSIDE peoples’ homes as well as outside, they are doomed to more defeats, and we will be left with the free-spending, welfare statist-in-chief and his stunningly incompetent Secretary of State, who is too busy resuming the search for Amelia Earhart and covering up her bungling of Benghazi while Syria burns and Iran becomes a nuclear power.

DragonScorpion November 7, 2012 at 11:43 am

“I had previously blogged these links about pro-gay GOP House candidates Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Nan Hayworth in New York, and Senate candidates Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Linda McMahon in Connecticut. None were supported by HRC, and all lost their races to progressive Democrats. As a result, the GOP will be even more anti-gay.” ~ Stephen Miller

And, if generally more conservative overall than the aforementioned candidates, then they will probably lose by even wider margins next time… Apparently the GOP doesn’t grasp Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Doug November 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Obama won with women at about 55%. Obama won with Latinos at about 70%. Obama won with African Americans at about 90%. Obama won with under 30′s with about 60%.

The only group Obama did not win was angry white men like you Stephen.

If you, Stephen, want to remain relevant you had better wake up and smell the coffee or the GOP will become a dinosaur. Those are the facts folks, like it or not.

Jorge November 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm

And according to the Washington Blade, exit polls show he won with gays at 77%, with Mitt Romney winning 23% of the GLBT vote.

It came as a surprise to me (McCain won 27%), but I realized that Obama has amassed a pro-gay record by now.

I think Don is onto something, although I would describe it differently. The polarization effect that has made both Democrats and Republicans turn farther from the center has resulted in some really bizarre displays this year. Most notably, several GOP candidates made very demeaning comments about rape and conception when talking about their opposition to abortion inclusive of rape and incest (it’s not about the position; Rick Santorum defended the same position during the primary without displaying nearly as much insensitivity toward women). They lost, they lost narrowly, and I think they may have dragged Romney down with him. I hope people take seriously that no matter who you are or who your political and ideological opponents are, you need to be responsible for what’s good for everyone.

Doug November 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

They lost narrowly? McCaskill won 55% to 39%. I’ll take that narrow win any day of the week. That’s all a blowout Jorge. Donnelly won by 49.9 to 44.4 which I do not consider exactly a ‘narrow’ win. Keep in mind that both of these states are very RED so the loss is even bigger for the GOP.

Jorge November 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Oh.

It was close the week before.

I hate being wrong. I’m sorry :(

Houndentenor November 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

I think we all thought it was going to be close! But considering the idiocy of her opponent, it speaks well of Missourians that she won by a solid margin.

DCBuck November 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

It also speaks volumes when a reliably red state like Indiana votes down the GOP senate candidate. It’s pretty clear the wacko Talibangelical schtick isn’t working.

Carl November 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

What jumped out at me was that Obama got the same portion of the gay vote as John Kerry. Kerry was running in a year where gay marriage was a major campaign issue and used as a blatant wedge strategy. This year, gay issues were much less prominent, even if Obama got attention for endorsing gay marriage and played a role in DADT’s repeal, and the GOP got a little attention for their extreme anti-gay platform. This takes back the gains made from 2006-2010.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/11/07/exit-poll-gay-voters-made-up-5-percent-of-2012-electorate/

The GOP obviously has far more important issues with Hispanic and black voters, and female voters, so they’re going to prioritize that over gay voters, but I do end up wondering whether they’re going to wonder if anti-gay views cost them this year, or if they think being more vocally anti-gay will help them in 2014.

TomJeffersonIII November 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

1. Progressives are probably going to endorse progressive candidates. Conservatives are probably going to endorse candidate candidates. Libertarians or Socialists are, are we seeing a pattern here?, going to endorse a libertarian or a socialist respectively. Whig or Green or Monster Raving Loony party folk are probably going to…. The fact that they are gay is probably not going to radically alter endorsements of a group with a political viewpoint.

2. The Human Rights Campaign strikes me as being Neo-Liberal or third way/center-left politically. They constantly become the target of critics; on the gay left and right. Their endorsements are probably a reflection of that as well as the realities of our first-past the post rules and other electoral rules.

3. I would actually have know far more about the HRC endorsement process (then I have the time for) and I would also have to know more about the allegedly slighted ‘moderate’ and gay Republican candidates. Personally, I would certainly be interested in learning more about a major, minor or Indp. candidate, before making decisions about who I support or endorse.

I also remember the GOP primary, where their was an openly gay man, and a moderate, running and I did not see too many gay Republicans rushing to help him out.

Yes, it was an unlikely campaign, but it (had it been supported more) could have really shown that their was a significant voter base that would vote GOP and supported gay rights. Was this the HRC fault or the fact that gay Republicans dropped the ball?

I doubt very much that the Human Rights Campaign has much impact on how anti-gay the Republican Party is or is not. I would say the same thing about the OutProud and the Log Cabin Republican folk.

Right now their are more possible voters that oppose gay rights on “moral grounds”, then their are actual gay people. Since the number of gay people is not going change, changing the GOP actually is really about these voters and who gets involved with the party at the local/state level.

Jorge November 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

What jumped out at me was that Obama got the same portion of the gay vote as John Kerry. Kerry was running in a year where gay marriage was a major campaign issue and used as a blatant wedge strategy.

People keep saying that here but I don’t really think that was relevant to the gay vote in the Presidential race so much as the position the President himself took. Maybe that’s a distinction without a difference. Maybe it was the party platform. Well, either way, I’m glad to see we’re somewhere between paying attention to our favored issues and not being slaves to either single-interest issues or to a single party.

Don November 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

I know quite a few gay people for whom fiscal policy is way more important than civil rights. There are more than a few gay people here in Miami that are in the 1%. And I would wager more than a couple percentage points of lesbians and gays are high enough up there that huge tax breaks are hard to ignore. Others may resonate with the message of personal responsibility or even fear the deficit enough to believe Republicans will cure that (how, I have no idea since they are the ones that keep hiking it to the heavens), but it’s a common misconception. A straight friend of mine here once remarked before Bush II’s first election “I’m really torn. I’ve been a liberal all my life and believe what the Democratic party stands for, but now that i’ve suddenly made my first million I gotta say it’s hard to ignore those tax cuts he’s promising.” Having seen his genuine discomfort over the choice, I realized many other people feel trapped by the conundrum. My only argument in response now is “you’re only gonna get a couple hundred dollars in your tax bracket (middle class), it will bankrupt the country, and demoralize women, people of color, and gays; is it really worth the two hundred bucks to spread so much hate?” I believe that until republican voters feel the pain they cause others, their party will continue to demagogue the politically weak to remain politically strong.

DCBuck November 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

“I know quite a few gay people for whom fiscal policy is way more important than civil rights. ”

Count me and many other gays in this group. It’s not that I’m not celebrating the passage of 6 in my current state of MD and the other gay marriage victories; it’s that I see the dismal economy, a looming nuclear Iran, and spending like a million drunken sailors which is putting us on the path to make Greece look like Disneyland as far more urgent at this point in time. If we’re all poor and un/underemployed, we’ll have far bigger fish to fry than worrying about if we can legally marry.

“I believe that until republican voters feel the pain they cause others, their party will continue to demagogue the politically weak to remain politically strong.”

I’d say Tuesday proved their power is slipping, even though they made up ground over 2008. I’m hoping the Republicans will do some serious soul searching and rediscover what REAL conservatism is all about – less government INSIDE as well as outside the home – and that they will finally grow a pair and relegate the loony far right to the wasteland they so richly deserve to be in.

Jorge November 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I know quite a few gay people for whom fiscal policy is way more important than civil rights.

Not one of them, and I’ve long believed the Democrats are worse on civil rights.

JohnInCA November 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

… in each of your chosen races, the Dem candidate *was* better on gay rights then the Rep candidate. Yes, even when the Rep candidate was gay himself. But seeing as you didn’t champion Baldwin, I don’t think that’s the barometer. So… yeah… your complaints ring hollow and less “equality-minded candidates lost” and more of “candidates that weren’t completely bad, but were still worse then their opponent, lost”.

another steve November 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

In each of your chosen races, the Dem candidate *was* better on gay rights then the Rep candidate.

This is entirely irrelevant. This issue is NOT whether the Democratic candidates were better than the GOP candidates, but whether the GOP candidates were moderates whose positions would help drive the GOP away from its hard anti-gay stance and toward at least a moderate view on gay issues. By refusing to support (or, in races like Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren), actively working to defeat moderate, relatively gay-supportive Republicans, LGBT activists have ensured that the GOP does not move forward. As Miller states, that’s good for HRC’s fundraising and for keeping gays tied to the Democratic party, but not good long-term when the country remains 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

Why are these strategic considerations so hard for progressives to grasp?

Tom Scharbach November 9, 2012 at 7:54 am

The primary complaint of Stephen’s post seems to be that gay and lesbian Democrats work to elect pro-equality Democrats.

I’d say that’s a given in our political party system. Gay and lesbian Democrats support pro-equality Democrats because they are (a) pro-equality and (b) Democrats. I don’t see that changing in the future.

The secondary complaint of Stephen’s post seems to be that our success in finding, funding and electing pro-equality Democrats “further strengthen[s] the identification of gay legal equality” with the Democratic Party and its political ideology.

I suppose that’s true, but it is a classic example of “actions have consequences”.

Gay and lesbian Democrats worked hard to move the party and its candidates in the direction of equality over three decades, fighting within the party at all levels. Gay and lesbian Republicans, on the other hand, elected to “go along to get along”, remaining aloof while the anti-equality forces took over the party. As a result, it is as hard to find a Democrat running for national office who is not pro-equality as it is to find a Republican running for national office who is.

I have been reading IGF for over a decade now, and I can remember a time when IGF percolated with constructive ideas about how to move the Republican Party in the direction of equality, as well as thoughtful commentary about the inherently conservative nature of the pro-equality movement.

Dale Carpenter, Jon Rausch, Paul Varnell, Andrew Sullivan, Chris Kane, Norah Vincent, Deroy Murdock and many others who contributed to IGF in those days contributed to my own thinking, moving me toward a focus on marriage equality as the keystone and cornerstone, and convincing me that I had to work within my own political party if I wanted to change it.

I haven’t seen that kind of constructive commentary on IGF in several years. Bitter complaints won’t move the ball forward. I wonder if IGF has lost its purpose and outlived its usefulness.

TomjeffersonIII November 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

—This issue is NOT whether the Democratic candidates were better than the GOP candidates,

Wow. Here I am thinking that what a candidate stood for actually kinda meant something. Well, Golly jee ;0)

—but whether the GOP candidates were moderates whose positions would help drive the GOP away from its hard anti-gay stance

Again, how would this do so at the federal level? Moderate Republicans in large, cosmopolitian, diverse, urban cities are nothing new.

Yet, the further one goes up the GOP public office flag pole it is a different story all together. So, assuming that Brown won, how would that actually have changed the gay rights voting record of most of the elected Republicans in DC?

Beyond whether or not Brown would be good for gay people on other issues, like education or health care or what-have-you. If the HRC had somehow gotten Brown elected, then how would that do much to impact other Republicans in DC, who do not want to upset their ‘moral majority’ constituents in more conservative States and districts?

Do not get me wrong, I have put little stock in HRC endorsements or LCR endorsesments. Frankly, I like to do my own research on a candidate and where he or she stands on policy.

It is possible that gay Republicans and gay Democrats could start up a new group that helped elect openly gay candidates (no matter what party…or no party) who agreed on a certain set of ‘gay rights’ issues.

Also I might buy the argument made by ‘another’ Stephen if the gay Republicans had been active in their support of a moderate, openly gay Republican running for president!

OK, maybe had zero chance in winning. But, a serious, well funded campaign could have developed through his candidacy that would have built a real moderate/Independent alternative for the GOP leadership.

Ron Paul had zero chance of winning, but he was good at raising money, engerizing voters and helped create a interest group after the fact….just saying….

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