Ryan T. Anderson / Nov. 5, 2015

What Tuesday Night's Election Results Prove About Social Conservatism and Voters

Kim Davis confounded the pollsters and propelled an underdog candidate, Matt Bevin, to victory in the Kentucky governor's race. Nearly two-thirds of voters in Ohio rejected marijuana. And citizens in Houston vetoed their city council and rejected a bad policy on sexual orientation and gender identity. Conventional wisdom is that social liberalism is an electoral winner, but that's not true. At least not in the swing states of Kentucky and Ohio, and not even in the liberal city of Houston. And definitely not [Tuesday] night.

Kim Davis confounded the pollsters and propelled an underdog candidate, Matt Bevin, to victory in the Kentucky governor’s race. Nearly two-thirds of voters in Ohio rejected marijuana. And citizens in Houston vetoed their city council and rejected a bad policy on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Conventional wisdom is that social liberalism is an electoral winner, but that’s not true. At least not in the swing states of Kentucky and Ohio, and not even in the liberal city of Houston. And definitely not [Tuesday] night.

There is a lesson to be learned: Conservatives can win when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence. Making the public argument against bad policy and in support of good policy can win the day. It just did.

As the Washington Post’s “Daily 202” notes, a major factor in Bevin’s victory — a Republican in a state that has elected Democrats as governor for 40 of the past 44 years — was “[f]ocusing on social issues, including promises to defund Planned Parenthood and defend Kim Davis, [which] helped drive the conservative base to turn out.”

No one was predicting that Bevin would win, especially not after he publicly defended Kim Davis and vigorously criticized the current governor for his handling of that situation. As I argued in The New York Times, Kim Davis didn’t need to go to jail, if only the political leaders of Kentucky been willing to work together to find a commonsense compromise.

The media made a circus of the situation, and now Governor-elect Bevin has the opportunity to work with the state legislature to enact commonsense religious accommodation law for clerks and magistrates, like North Carolina has done.

Kentucky needs to create an accommodation only because the Supreme Court redefined their marriage law. This highlights an important reality: Exemptions and accommodations are necessary, especially if bad policy becomes law.

It is much better to simply prevent bad public policy from ever going into effect as law. That’s what the citizens of Houston did [Tuesday].

Don’t let the media demagogue and attack the people of Houston. Citizens there voted three times to elect Annise Parker, a lesbian, as mayor. They’re a tolerant city. But they drew the line when the city council voted to create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity that could have been used to shutter faith-based adoption agencies; penalize florists, photographers, and bakers; and force businesses to allow biological males who identify as women into women’s restrooms and changing rooms.

Citizens in Houston organized against the city council and collected more than enough signatures required to put the issue to a vote of the people. But the mayor claimed that the majority of signatures were invalid and refused to put the issue on the ballot. Then she subpoenaed the sermons of five prominent pastors who helped lead the charge against the measure. After a public outcry, the mayor relented on the sermons, and a unanimous state Supreme Court said the signatures were valid and the citizens had to vote on the measure.

And the citizens won.

Against one-sided media coverage, big business lobbying, and various elites expressing their support for the ordinance, a grassroots coalition of ordinary citizens were able to explain why sexual orientation and gender identity laws are bad policy.

This needs to continue, both in Houston and across the country. For as Ed Feulner was fond of reminding people, in politics, there are no permanent defeats, because there are no permanent victories. Sexual orientation and gender identity laws are being pushed across the nation, at the federal, state, and local levels. They are unnecessary and divisive and must be resisted.

Some people suggest that the best Americans can hope for is passage of these laws with some religious exemptions and accommodations. But Houston shows us a better way. Don’t enact bad policy that you’d need to exempt yourself from in the first place.

As we are now one year away from the 2016 general election, Americans would do well to remember this lesson from the 2015 election. Stand on principle. Make the public argument. Defeat bad policy. Enact good policy.


Republished from The Daily Signal.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.