Social Conservatism is Dead

By Graham Glover

Finally, it’s over. After a long and slow decay into political oblivion, social conservatives need to hang it up. Their movement is dead – completely devoid of life.

Although many within its ranks didn’t want to admit it, social conservatism has been losing ground for years. Whatever it stood for in the past, those aspirations are now nothing but political fantasy. If it didn’t die off earlier, 2016 will mark the official ending of those who look to the U.S. Government to have any role is shaping a socially conservative ethos. With the nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, this movement is done.

As one who is sympathetic to much of their agenda, I couldn’t be happier. Good riddance to this dreadful movement. Many of us thought social conservativism would do great things for American politics, but history has shown that our hope and our efforts were grossly misplaced.

Despite what is so blatantly politically obvious, some social conservatives still wax nostalgically for a time when they wielded political influence (when this was, I’m not exactly sure – what it produced, I have no idea). But they are kidding themselves if they think they will ever be anything but pawns in the grand scheme of American politics. Seriously, it’s time – it’s past time for social conservatives to exit the political arena.

This year’s election put the final nail in the coffin. Hillary Clinton typifies exactly where the Democratic Party is and will sadly remain on social issues – left of left. The Democratic Party shows zero sign of ever retreating on any issue dear to social conservatives. Indeed, it continues to become more progressive – more relativistic, as each election cycle passes. It’s a wonder anyone can figure out what remains sacred in the social realm for Democrats. And so long as the Democrats control the White House (which I predict they will by huge margins this fall) and subsequently the Supreme Court, there is almost no likelihood that social conservatives will see anything they like become law.

American Flag

The nomination of Donald Trump though is the real kicker. Social conservatives have lamented for the past 8 years that the Republican Party’s problem is that it hasn’t nominated candidates that are conservative enough. Ted Cruz certainly fit the mold of a hardcore conservative. Senator Cruz is about as far right as one can get. But the Republicans didn’t nominate a social conservative. They didn’t even nominate a conservative. They nominated the Donald, who is the ultimate repudiation of everything that looks or sounds like social conservatism. The Republican Party, in a different, but equally forceful way, has rejected social conservatism as well.

If this wasn’t enough (no parties supporting you, no candidates being nominated), the real question social conservatives should ask is: what has our movement produced? In other words, what has the millions of dollars raised, the thousands of rallies held, and the hundreds of candidates put forth done for the political cause of social conservatism?

What lasting law or cultural shift has the social conservative movement created? If anything, the issues important to social conservatives have become less popular. Their crusade has done little, if anything, to affect a real societal change.

Why is it then that social conservatives still think if they work a little harder, nominate a more conservative candidate, or just pick up one more seat on the court that things will finally swing their way? Honestly, social conservatives are delusional. Not only is the movement dead, it has no chance of being brought back to life. The issues at the core of social conservatism have no political possibility of ever being implemented.

Does this mean the issues important to social conservatives should be ignored? Of course not. Am I suggesting that conservatives should capitulate and vote for things that violate their conscience and continue to pervert our land? Absolutely not.

What I am saying though is that it’s time to take the fight elsewhere. It’s time for social conservatives to regroup and refocus on the only place where these issues can really change lives – the pulpit.