Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

The national publication, POLITICO, discussed the political efforts of social conservatives.

Titled, "Social Conservative Make Big Money Plans," the article highlighted efforts by national family groups to help keep their party and their candiates accountable on issues related to the family. According to POLITICO,

It’s all geared toward elevating the place of social issues like abortion and gay marriage in conservative politics. They’ve been largely relegated to the sidelines as the business wing of the GOP establishment wages a bitter and expensive struggle against the tea party for the soul of the Republican Party. The focus has been on fiscal issues such as Obamacare and the budget, while both sides have steered away from social issues they deem too divisive.

Frank Cannon, who runs the American Principles Project, countereed the narrative that social issues are a non-starter for voters:

“The Manhattan and California zip codes where large numbers of these donors come from don’t behave politically or have the same views as Western Ohio,” Cannon said in an interview. “So there is a distortion of the political views by the donor class and by the consultant class.”


The roughly 25 socially conservative groups represented at the Ritz — including Cannon’s, as well as Gary Bauer’s American Values outfit, the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Americans United for Life, the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage — combined to pull in at least $280 million in 2011 and 2012, according to publicly available tax and campaign filings. While that’s hardly chump change, a majority of it went to groups focused on providing services and “issue education” to like-minded conservatives — including Focus on the Family, which raised $166 million — rather than to more overtly political activities.


There are enough people out there that are pro-life and pro-family that have the resources to fund political efforts on those issues, and for a variety of reasons they just haven’t stepped up and so we have to do a better job of getting them to step up,” said Bauer, who’s been working with Cannon and others to increase coordination among socially conservative groups. Their leaders, according to Bauer, are increasingly concluding “that we’ve been behind the curve and that we need to do a better job of strategic fundraising and working together in order to get more traction on these issues.”