Same-sex marriage, abortion, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the teaching of abstinence over contraception, and numerous other agenda items of importance to social and religious conservatives have been put forth as issues that the Tea Parties should embrace. Not only should these issues be embraced, but the Tea Parties have been told that they must reconfigure their existing agenda and work toward solutions that satisfy the yearnings of these very same social and religious conservatives.
Of course, these issues are of overwhelming importance to a significant number of people. I respect that these people are sincere and truly feel that the country will be hurt beyond redemption should things continue as they are. But a significant number of vocal people do not a political majority make.
The recent midterm elections were a decisive repudiation of the direction that the Democratic Party has taken the nation in the past four years, but there has been a seismic shift in what issues the majority of Americans believe to be important. What many of these religious and social conservatives fail to understand is that not one of their issues had any real bearing on the outcome of an election that swept sixty-plus Democrats from Congress and countless others from state and local offices. To be sure, some of the Republican winners might support some issues that social conservatives feel are important, but it was not those issues that garnered the candidate votes from independents.
This doesn't mean that the average American believes these social issues to be unimportant, but rather that issues important to social conservatives are not critical to voters at this time. According to a post-election article in the Washington Post:
Social issues barely rated in this year's economy-centric midterm elections. More than six in 10 voters who cast ballots on Election Day cited the economic downturn as their top concern, according to exit polls. And this year was the first in more than a decade in which same-sex marriage did not appear on a statewide ballot.
It means that most Americans don't believe that preventing gays from serving in the military is as important as putting food on the table. (Continues here)