Right now, the biggest issue for voters is the economy, and recent polls have shown that voters are becoming increasingly in favor of allowing gays to marry.
But that doesn’t matter in Iowa, which seems to have gotten stuck in the politics of the last century. The Iowa caucuses are the first test of the presidential primary season, and social and religious conservatives are going all out to drive the debate away from economic issues and toward social issues like gay rights and abortion. Indeed, in 2008, the surprise winner of the Republican caucuses was minister Mike Huckabee.
So, somewhat ironically, Republican presidential candidates who will have any chance against Obama will probably have no chance to win in Iowa. The situation is so bad that Indiana governor and presidential candidate Mitch Daniels suggested that the party call a truce so they can stop fighting over social issues while the economy is in such trouble. But social conservatives in Iowa reacted with disdain. “Anybody who calls a truce when the abortion clinics are running 24/7 is not a true pro-lifer” says the head of the Iowa Family Policy Center.
Even more ironically, conservative activist Ralph Reed said to a cheering crowd “If you turn your backs on the pro-family, pro-life constituency you will be consigned to permanent minority status.” Is he really saying that in order to avoid being consigned to permanent minority status, you have to completely focus on the views of a group that is not only a minority, but one that is decreasing in numbers, and ignore the biggest concerns of the majority of voters?