Conservatives Should Stay With the GOP

A group of social conservatives recently made headlines by suggesting they might abandon the GOP and run a third-party candidate for president if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani were nominated by the Republicans. Giuliani’s pro-choice views make him anathema for many social conservatives, and these leaders have been expressing the frustration of many who believe they do not have a natural candidate in the GOP field.

This course is a profoundly bad idea for the very cause that these conservatives are trying to advance. Let’s mention five reasons why this would set back the pro-life cause for years to come.

First, splinter parties tend to marginalize the participants and their cause. The history of right-wing parties outside the GOP in the last 30 years has not been pretty. Lacking a credible candidate or a galvanizing issue to a large number of voters, this movement is destined to go nowhere.

Second, past conservative actions have focused on influencing the GOP, not leaving it. The Manhattan 12, a group of conservatives that challenged the wayward policies of the Nixon administration way back in 1971, focused on running a candidate in the GOP primaries, not leaving the party. Parties, after all, are coalitions of people who share the same general values but are certainly not monolithic on all issues. The best way to gain long-term influence is to work to move that coalition in your direction.

Third, your choices are not bad. John McCain has always been pro-life. Even Giuliani has promised to appoint strict constructionists, not judicial activists, to the bench. The challenge is to move abortion questions out of the judiciary and into the political realm so the people, not judges, can make these decisions. A Republican president is unquestionably better in this regard.

Fourth, the Republican Party contains the largest group of pro-life activists anywhere in the country. Why would you want to abandon a party where you have established such a large footprint? It’s not that the GOP is abandoning the pro-life cause. Rather, Republicans are rating security and foreign policy concerns higher than social issues in this election season.

Fifth, you can rest assured that Hillary Clinton or any other national Democrat will have a litmus test of appointing only judges who believe in judicially created and protected abortion rights. If that party won’t even tolerate a pro-life speaker at its national convention, you can bet it will fill the federal judiciary with judges who are itching to make social policy without bothering to run for public office.

With GOP congressional prospects looking bleaker by the day, GOP retention of the White House should be the No. 1 goal of all conservatives.