Why Democrats win elections and why lifeless Daniels truces won't produce majority reports
Since his 2008 re-election Governor Mitch Daniels has been, rightly, singularly focused on reducing the size of the Indiana state government; balancing its budget and pursuing policies that would attract business to the Hoosier State.
Ronald Reagan would be proud of Daniels' successful application of conservative principles at the state level as well as his clarion call that America faces an existential economic, budget and debt crisis that can only be arrested with radical conservative change.
But the Gipper would, rightly, not be pleased with that portion of the clarion call that suggests the economic crisis can only be addressed if fiscal conservatives and social conservatives "call a truce" until our economy is saved.
Democrats have never won elections touting social liberalism
There are a number of false premises behind Daniels' vague suggestion,which I address below, but the best evidence that such a truce is not only not necessary, but also counterproductive, is provided by the history of the Reagan Administration during the last severe economic crisis.
There would have been no Republican or conservative majorities, nor a President Reagan, absent the social conservative voters Reagan brought into the party. Far from playing down social issues in the midst of a recession with double-digit unemployment, inflation and interest rates; Reagan insisted that the Republican Party platform include support for a pro-life amendment to the Constitution.
False liberal premises that Daniels' truce assumes as true
Some have suggested that Democrats win elections due to manipulation of so-called "wedge" issues. That is a meme invented by the Left in the media and the Democratic Party to try and scare conservatives into silence when their conservative base is energized over amnesty for illegals, preserving traditional marriage and reversing Roe v Wade.
Yes, many people vote for Democrats because of their social liberalism. They are called liberals. They are no more than 20% of the population. They will always be Democrats and they ensure that the Democratic Party will always be the liberal party in this country.
Most importantly, they don't enter into truces to be liked by conservatives and you can bet that they won't honor any truce that moderate Republicans enter into with social conservatives. Their favor, nor that of an even higher proportion of the liberal Democrats than the hard left, can't be curried no matter what Republicans do unless they denounce conservatism and join MoveOn.org.
Additionally, what would happen during a Mitch-inspired internal-GOP truce? Would liberal Democrats cease their assault on marriage? Of course not. You might as well call a truce between my Carolina Gamecocks' offense and defense and hope that Georgia Bulldogs don't try to score, but I digress...
So, why do Democrats win elections and how does that relate to Daniels' call for a truce between libertarians and social conservatives?
The at-fault party is the Default Party
The main reasons Democrats still win elections in this country, despite their dismal and repeated failed policies, is that they have dominated American politics for most of our history and are, therefore, the "default" party. After all, JFK, Clinton and FDR were Democrats and grandma votes Democrat, so therefore, blah, blah blah...
Well, this is not a Democratic Party filled with JFKs and Bill Clintons.
This fact of the Democratic Party as the default party must change, and may well be in the process of same given recent polling showing the GOP preferred over the Democrats by 10 points.
Ancillary reasons include their pre-Obama, Bill Clinton-enabled subterfuge as a "centrist" party and the tendency over the years for Republicans to be Democrat-lite and the consequent failure to build up larger conservative majorities when they held power.
One can point to no election cycle in which the reason for Democratic Party victories can be traced to support for liberal social policies, nor to any backlash against conservative social policies leading to GOP defeats.
Moreover, the whole premise that compartmentalizes voters is flawed. Most of the social conservatives that Reagan brought in were also ravaged by CarterDem economic and weak on defense and national security policies.
Additionally, Democrats have been given cover over the years from being seen as primarily responsible for their failed policies when both parties were less ideological than today, compromise bills garnered lots of GOP support, and the Reagan Recovery that scared Boll Weevil Dems into voting for tax cuts which some spread credit around for the 25-year boom, especially when Newt tamed Bill in the 90s.
Thankfully, and to the credit of elected Republicans over the past two years, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party own all policies now in place that have failed to usher in a recovery. Heck, then Senator Obama even voted with the new Dem Congressional majorities of 2007-8.
Everything is as clear to the voters as Luzianne tea, hence, the parties and town halls, Scott Brown and the polls.
The Great Recession (Depression?) and the 2010 Election
Mitch, Obama; failed Dem policies; exposure of the non-Clinton-like majority of Democrats; and empty wallets have already achieved your goal of a singular focus on the economy that will put large conservative majorities back in charge of the House that will repeal ObamaDem laws.
No significant number of Republican voters are going to stay home because the GOP remains the Party of Life, and one can't point to any election cycle to make that case, much less the current one that will occur during a near economic depression with polls showing pro-lifers on the rise.
There simply is no evidence that splits between libertarians and social conservatives have cost the GOP in the past, when elections were less focused on the economy. To the contrary, the rise of social conservatism within the GOP since the late 60s, through the Reagan 80s, and into the Dubya congressional gains of 2000, 2002 and 2004 have coincided with such gains.
Moreover, social conservatives have been the equal of the most loyal voters within the GOP since the 80s and dwarf in size those libertarians so enamored of internet gambling that they would cut off their bet-picking noses to spite their faces with an ObamaDem economy that leaves them with no money left to wager!
The scare line that the Religious Right wants into your bedroom works even less with ObamaDems having invaded every room in the house.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson