Election 2016

Chasing Trump Means Going for Religious, Anti-Gay Primary Voters

Cruz and Rubio rise as they focus on social conservatives.

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Slight head tilt perfectly calibrated to project maximum sincerity.
Rubio for President

This was supposed to be the presidential election where gay issues stopped mattering. Okay, maybe that was a narrative I made up entirely by myself in my own head out of naïve hopefulness. Yes, the Democratic Party is still trying to keep the majority of gay voters on their side. But the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision—which mandates states recognize same-sex marriages—was an opportunity for the Republican Party to jettison some of its increasingly unpopular positions on how the government should be treating gay people.

It is true that gay and lesbian issues are playing very small roles in the primary debates so far. The more pressing issues of terrorism and foreign policy will most assuredly dominate tonight's debate. But with Donald Trump pretty much overwhelming every GOP candidate's efforts at appealing to right-wing populism and nativism, other candidates are scrambling to shore up their appeals to other primary voter bases.

That means religious conservatives. This push isn't new. Candidates have been meeting with religious groups and churches since the start of the election cycle. But the rise of Trumpism has the candidates most closely nipping at his heels, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida), looking to burnish their religious bonafides and engage in some signaling to voters who aren't enamored of Trump's "whatever sticks" campaign. For some religious conservatives, that means continuing to fight against gay marriage recognition and refusing to accept that, as a legal issue, the matter may be settled.

Cruz was ahead of the pack on pandering to the anti-gay crowd all along. Cruz supports legislation and even a constitutional amendment to undo Obergefell and return the power to control whether gay marriages are recognized back to the states. He's been identified by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the most vocal organization fighting gay marriage recognition, as a "marriage champion."

Cruz just recently picked up the endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, president of conservative group The Family Leader, and noted, extremely vocal foe of gay marriage in Iowa. Given Cruz's increasing numbers in the polls, running for these votes seems to be working for him.

Rubio is looking for his slice of the evangelical or social conservative pie as well. Over the weekend in a Meet the Press interview, Rubio said he didn't think Obergefell settled the matter of gay marriage. Via Bloomberg:

"It is the current law. I don't believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it," Rubio said on NBC's Meet The Press, referring to the landmark June 2015 ruling. "And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed."

On Monday, Rubio rolled out a new campaign ad in which he appeals to Americans who "feel out of place in our own country," including "millions with traditional values branded bigots and haters."

Bloomberg is quick to point out Rubio's position puts him at odds with voters of his own age and younger. True, but these are the primaries. It's also extremely unlikely that Rubio, as president, will be able to select justice that promise to overturn Obergefell, any more that it will be possible for Hillary Clinton, if she's elected president, to demand Supreme Court candidates promise to overturn the Citizens United decision, no matter how many times anybody says "Dred Scott."

This should have been or could have been an opportunity for conservatives to shift to a differentiation between how the government treats gay people as a legal matter and how private individuals treat gay people. As Elizabeth Nolan Brown noted after attending a summit about the future of LGBT activism, there is very little interest among these leaders in discerning between public and private discrimination. Unfortunately, it looks like conservatives aren't willing to recognize the difference either. They want to tie demands for private individual expression of religious beliefs (by being able to decline to provide goods or services for gay weddings, for example) with the public issue of how the government treats same-sex couples.

It's frustrating because this could have been an opportunity for the GOP to look at what comes next and figure out how conservative politics could adapt to a shift in legal recognition while still preserving individual liberty. And Hillary Clinton is actually somewhat vulnerable on this issue. Her absurd, easily disprovable claim that President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in order to protect gay couples from a constitutional amendment was just declared by The Washington Post to be one of the biggest political lies of 2015.

But the pandering to the absurd idea that somehow the Supreme Court would actually roll back a recognition of a civil liberty will most certainly be used to keep gay votes with the Democratic Party. And I can tell Republicans from personal experience that it is absolutely possible to sell to gay people the idea that florists and bakers (for example) should not have to have their freedom of religious expression curtailed for something as non-essential as wedding goods. But it's impossible to credibly make this argument to gay people when you're also demanding that legal recognition of same-sex marriage should also be rolled back. 

NEXT: To Keep Your Second Amendment Rights, 'Show You're Not a Problem'

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  1. Cruz supports legislation and even a constitutional amendment to undo Obergefell and return the power to control whether gay marriages are recognized back to the states. He’s been identified by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the most vocal organization fighting gay marriage recognition, as a “marriage champion.”

    Wow! This really changes my view of Cruz. Fortunately, he won’t be able to do squat since this issue has been decided in Court and in the minds of the public.

  2. This should have been or could have been an opportunity for conservatives to shift to a differentiation between how the government treats gay people as a legal matter and how private individuals treat gay people.

    This may be the most insightful thing Shack has ever written. It should be mentioned for EVERY issue.

    1. The problem is that the government forces private individual to treat homosexuals the way government wants them to be treated and homosexuals are on the side of increasing the force government uses to accomplish this goal.

      1. Way to collectivize, bro.

        1. The problem is that DJF thinks of homosexuals the way government wants to think of everybody: a faceless, manipulable bloc.

          1. Do you have, you know, any pictures of this faceless homosexual bloc? I’m, uh, asking for a friend.

            1. I’ll not do your research for you, Sweet’n’Low.

              1. “In prison, they called him ‘sugar’. Because he took it so sweet.”

                1. “And because he lost his left turd-stomper below the knee to diabeezy.”

      2. DJF left out a word or two, but is otherwise on point.

      3. The problem is that the government forces private individual to treat homosexuals the way government wants them to be treated

        The problem is also that the government forces private individuals to treat Christians the way government wants them to be treated; I don’t hear you complaining about that.

        and homosexuals are on the side of increasing the force government uses to accomplish this goal

        Actually, many of us are on the side of decreasing government force overall. You’re welcome to join us.

        But as long as your position is that non-discrimination laws for religion are a-OK and all you want to do is abolish them for others, you’re just another statist slaver.

    2. The problem is conservatives aren’t interested in making that case. As Shackford noted, it’s “impossible to credibly make this argument to gay people when you’re also demanding that legal recognition of same-sex marriage should also be rolled back.”

    3. Yep. The DemoGOP let their foaming mad dogs off the leash to run when it’s clear their machine is going to lose no matter what. Goldwater got to smash Jewish objectivism on the rocks, while Nixon’s military-industrial complex waited for the JFK buzz to die down. FDR took a repeal plank from the Liberal Party and beat Herb Hoover, Alf Landon and Wendel Willkie’s attempts to again declare beer an addictive narcotic, followed by the Bushes trying that on hemp. Nixon got mad bombers in Congress to use the IRS to subsidize anti-libertarian campaigns. Today the clones of those televangelist-mesmerized prohibitionists are still frothing and carpet-biting for the Political State to FORCE them bitches to reproduce in the image of Christ whether they want to or not, jail them stinking hippies and messkins illegal alien monsters and DRAFT them students to Stand at Armageddon and Fight Mohammed’s Saracens for The Lord till the Rapture and Tribulation! “Amen, Hallellulia, and we wuz robbed” will again be their concession speech.

  3. It’s frustrating because this could have been an opportunity for the GOP to look at what comes next and figure out how conservative politics could adapt to a shift in legal recognition while still preserving individual liberty.

    Don’t worry, the Baby Boomers can’t live forever, Scott.

    1. Kennedy was the greatest president this country ever had, now get off my lawn.

      1. But…but there are six other presidents who served shorter terms.

        1. William Henry Harrison, FTW

        2. What about the frame switch in the Zapruder film?

    2. Baby boomers to this day don’t even realize there is a libertarian party. It took me eight years to ferret it out, so effective is the Nixon anti-libertarian law. SECTION 801. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN FUND ACT guarantees that the teevee oligopsony keeps a nation of vidiots from realizing there is a classical liberal party eager to spring them from victimless-crime prisons, expunge their records, repeal IRS individual tax-form slavery (let the corporations pay for their own collectivist campaign privileges), stop bombing foreign countries and inviting terrorist retaliation, repeal insane prohibition, stop conservatives from banning condoms, birth control pills and abortion. Everything Woodstock Nation wanted the Libertarian Party has delivered these past 43 years–DESPITE NIXON. Boomers simply need to be awakened into the new Black and Gray Panthers, with Harley speakers blaring Steppenwolf’s “Monster.”

  4. Yes, the Democratic Party is still trying to keep the majority of gay voters on their side.

    By advocating the mass resettlement of Muslims to the West?

    1. Yes, the Democratic Party is still trying to keep the majority of gay voters on their side.

      The Democratic Party prefers voters face-down, not on their side. And the gay has nothing to do with it.

      1. The Democratic Party prefers voters face-down, not on their side.

        Totally stealing this. Sorry.

      2. So… this makes them different from God’s Own Party how?

  5. Unfortunately, it looks like conservatives aren’t willing to recognize the difference either. They want to tie demands for private individual expression of religious beliefs (by being able to decline to provide goods or services for gay weddings, for example) with the public issue of how the government treats same-sex couples.

    As is so frequently the case, the enemy of my enemy is still a fucking douchebag.

    1. True, but the turnabout is well-deserved, and schadenfreude prevents me from lifting a finger to help the nationalsocialists. Just so, many folks I admire did not lift a finger to save earlier nationalsocialist mystical altruists from being hanged in Nurenberg. Getting rid of “conservative” (a euphemism for religious prohibitionist) coercion is simply today’s continuation of the denazification process. If a few of them get their hair mussed, they’ll get no sympathy from me.

  6. Be nice, Scott. This is a very rough day in history for Rubio, Cruz and their fans.

    In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

    1. Yes, I was only a snotty teenager, but I remember how Republican Party was known for its support of Communist Dictators…

      Jesus, man, could you find nothing else? Like, “1903: The British parliament places a 15-year ban on whale hunting in Norway”? Or “1973: The American Psychiatric Association votes 130 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders”?

    2. I remember. Nicolae Ceausescu was a National Socialist dictator dedicated to forcing Rumanian women to squeeze out little Hitlerjugend whether they wanted to or not. His was the other hybrid of Christian and Socialist fanaticism overturned long after Roe v. Wade. It generated statistical data on the drop in crime rates after women gained full control of their bodies as reported in Freakonomics. Freakonomics is one of these rectangular things called books, using something called math to show how robbing women of individual rights and turning them into dams at gunpoint is not the way to reduce crime rates. Birth-forcers do not want boomers reading Freakonomics or repealing the Nixon anti-libertarian law.

  7. THE HOMOCAUST: NEVER FORGET

      1. I’ve rarely seen so little said in a news article. I mean, they’re usually regurgitated bullshit anyway, but that article takes the cake in saying absolutely nothing. Way to find the most pointless article ever, NutraSweet.

        1. I googled “fiancee visa” and that was the first thing that came up.

          1. Why can’t you google Krysten Ritter like a normal person?

            1. Jessica Jones?

              1. She’s been in more than that, Jesse. Don’t you remember her from Veronica Mars?

                1. Oh. Shit. I knew she looked familiar from other stuff, but hadn’t put that together.

                  1. ‘Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23’ is highly underrated as well.

                  2. I’m going to give you a pass on this considering you’re immune to how hot she is. But only this once!

                    1. That’s so gracious of you!

                    2. I’m a reasonable guy, Jesse. But, I’ve just experienced some very unreasonable things.

                    3. You were not put on this Earth to “get it”, Epipen.

                    4. Unless by “it” you mean “with your mom.”

                2. Breaking Bad, you idiots. Can’t believe no one’s mentioned Kristen Ritter was on that one, too.

                  1. Her overdosing was one of the reasons I stopped watching that show. There’s a reason I didn’t mention it.

                    1. Damn, dude, spoiler alert!

                3. She played pedophile Steve Guttenberg’s daughter.

              2. Jessica Jones is terrible.

                1. Your mom is terrible.

                2. O Rly? What do you find so terrible about it?

                  1. characters/plot predictability. Rachel Taylor is a total babe, but she kind of sucks at acting. I quit on the show after Ritter moved in with Tennant.

                3. No. Jessica Jones is great.

        2. “We want to resist stereotypes … but the bad actor tends to be the man [rather] than the woman usually.”

          That’s… not a stereotype.

  8. But presidents won’t be overturning this any more than they’ll be overturning Wade. But wedge issues don’t go away easily, and votes must be paid for with one’s soul. (Or the promise of tax credits.)

    1. If Republicans get in power Evangelical Christians will force orphans to bear the children of their alcoholic stepdads.

      1. Evangelical Christians will force orphans to bear the children of their gay-umarried alcoholic stepdads.

        1. You might be missing a womb, or have extra one.

          1. Yes, it was supposed to be gay-unmarried, as in, stepdad’s gay marriage was declared void, and so he turned to drink and rape, as men always do…

            Hmm, I may have something for Sundance festival here!

      2. Conservative appointees have controlled to Court for decades, yet abortion remains legal.

        1. Controlled the Court, that is.

        2. Conservative appointees have controlled to Court for decades, yet abortion remains legal.

          I was making that point for years every time someone claimed that women were one justice away from coathangers in back alleys.

          1. I believe it’s been under unbroken conservative control since the mid-80s.

            1. Only if you count Souter and Stevens.

              1. I agree that it’s been “conservative,” but the left has been long claiming that conservative appointees will end the right to post-natal abortions.

            2. The Court hasn’t been under the control of conservatives since FDR.

      3. Nothing is more important than government subsidized institutional mass infanticide.

    1. You know who else sucks?

      1. Maggie Simpson?

      2. Eva Angelina?

      3. Holly Body, in ‘Blowjob Fantasies’?

  9. “For better or worse, the law on marriage has been settled. I don’t agree with the way it was brought about, but that’s neither here nor there. Anything you and I want to do about marriage law is now firmly out of reach, and in a general election, gay marriage is an albatross for Republicans. Without the presidency we can’t get substantive reforms passed to curtail the worst effects of the ACA, and this is a law with major obstacles and little popular support. We can’t even begin to address immigration as an issue. So here’s the deal: leave off with the shit we can do nothing about, so we can focus on salvaging the hash Democrats have made of one of our economy. Is that too much to ask?”

    1. [socons trample hundreds fleeing]

      1. Between them and Trump’s braindead backers, we’re looking at a sunny January morning for Hillary. You thought it was tough getting your way with the Supreme Court now? Wait until she’s nominated three new justices to fill the vacancies.

        1. I’m not sure Trump could do more damage to the GOP if he really was a plant by the Clintons. (And I only doubt that because they’ve never shown themselves to be that clever.)

          1. Yeah, I still can’t shake the paranoia that he’s a Democratic saboteur. If I were trying to design someone to completely derails the Republican primary by catering to all of the worst fears and stereotypes that moderates and independents have with respect to the Republican Party, I can’t think of anything I would do differently from Trump.

            Plus, he’s a lifelong Democrat who advocates for Democratic policies…

            1. And this is the shit Trump is coming out with when he’s riding high? What will he say when he drops in the polls and gets desperate, writhing around violent like a beheaded snake?

              He’s the type to sink the ship rather than just get off.

              1. To be fair, he usually flies away in a helicopter while the ship files for bankruptcy.

                1. Sweet!

          2. Cattle futures. They have some cleverness, or at least their broker did.

        2. Not going to happen. We will see a President Cruz or Rubio.

    2. In other words: “Yes we fucked you over! Now for God’s sake, help us!”

      Why should they help you? You have shown them nothing but contempt. The effect of this sort of thing on the immigration issue is why Trump exists as the top candidate

      1. Sure, but at least it’s honest. It’s this or a baldfaced lie about reversing the decision, which isn’t going to happen.

      2. To be fair, it wasn’t until around 2012 that the Democrats ever did anything to help TEH GAYZ, but somehow garnered their support for decades

        1. That’s not quite accurate. The GLF was rooted in the New Left and student activism. Post-Stonewall politics were focused on local ordinances and the lefty student activists found a more comfortable reception from other New Left alliance members in the Democratic Party. This overturned a long, but uneasy relationship of the Mattachine Society and other assimilationist gay groups from the ’50s and early ’60s with pro-business Republicans which hadn’t really gone anywhere.

          It took 20-something years for the younger local politicians in the Democratic Party to completely replace the Old Guard, meanwhile the Republicans were losing their William F. Buckley’s and gaining Huckabees and Santorums. It’s not just that the Democrats were more attractive it’s that the Republicans had started floating explicitly anti-gay measures in more moderate states to say ban gays from certain employment.

          1. -1 Goldwater

        2. Sure.

          If, y’know, you don’t know your history.

          Not everything that’s important happens at the national level, y’know.

      3. In other words: “Yes we fucked you over! Now for God’s sake, help us!”

        It’s how they’ve been treating Goldwater Republicans for half a century. Why mess with a winning formula?

    3. Couldn’t you say the same thing about any other Supreme Court decision? Should Libertarians just give up on overturning Kelo or Wickard because they are “settled law”? I don’t think so.

      Most Libertarians like gays and despise religious people. So they tend to be flippant towards those people’s rights. I think this issue would largely go away if state governments would make it clear that people have the right to not recognize gay marriages if they don’t want to. The number of people who would refuse to do so would be small and the actual impact insignificant. But it would take the compelling objections to gay marriage away and would cause the issue to die on the vine.

      And no law stays the same forever. The gay marriage decision was 5-4. If someone like Rubio or Cruz wins the White House, they likely will replace one of the five majority justices with a pick of their own. I doubt that pick will be very “gay affirming”. And if the gay marriage decision ever gets reversed, thanks to the gay community’s general refusal to allow anyone to object to gay marriage, I doubt gay marriage will do very well at the ballot box once it no longer has a Supreme Court to force the country to accept it.

      1. I’m putting words in the mouths of GOP candidates, not speaking to my own beliefs or those of libertarians generally. And if they want to be honest about their intentions and make the best case they can in the general election, they’ll appeal to voters’ pocketbooks rather than their consciences.

      2. Or he’s making an argument for simple electoral pragmatism, the kind you use all the time to brush aside libertarian concerns with the GOP.

      3. It’s amazing the amount of wishful thinking you can pack into a single comment.

        1. One day, Santa will take me to the North Pole and turn me into a princess who will stay young and beautiful forever, and who can read everyone’s mind and perfectly understand how much they love me.

          1. So Nicole can pack even more wishful thinking in. You really are the worst. A princess? Way to be original, dude.

            1. No points for concision?

              1. NO. You shouldn’t even have asked. Come on, dude.

          2. What is the point of being young and beautiful for ever if you’re stuck at the North Pole? Are you into elves?

          3. Fear, how much they fear you. All those teeth filed to sharp points don’t help.

        2. What Epi, do you think the world loves gays now? Maybe they do but if so it will be counter to the entire rest of history. Gay rights are mostly something a certain breed of white people like. If you are bullish on the long term future of gay rights in the world, my compliments. I hope you are right but history says you are likely wrong and things will go back to their normal miserable state at some point.

          Think about it, what real friends do gays have? The progs? Yeah, like they won’t turn on gays once they are no longer useful to the movement. I am sure us importing all of those Syrians to vote Prog is going to make the Progs extra loyal to the gays.

      4. ” I think this issue would largely go away if state governments would make it clear that people have the right to not recognize gay marriages if they don’t want to.”

        How, precisely, do you see that working out?

        Because if you would allow a hospital, a school, a coroner, the police, the bank, and so-on to ignore my marriage? Then fuck no, the problem doesn’t “go away”.

        It puts us right back in the position where I get kicked out of a hospital because some nurse on a power-trip doesn’t like gay people and my husband dies alone. It puts us right back in the position of having a will arbitrarily invalidated by a judge because the judge doesn’t bolieve “bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots”.

        Just what situations do you see your solution actually mattering in? Any of the cases of florist and bakers and photograph-makers? Sorry, but those cases have nothing to do with marriage (which is why a majority took place in times and places where marriage equality didn’t exist yet), just with non-discrimination law.

        So please. Tell me how you see this working out such that it makes anything “go away” and doesn’t just get us all back in the courtroom.

        1. It puts us right back in the position where I get kicked out of a hospital because some nurse on a power-trip doesn’t like gay people and my husband dies alone.

          From the “things that haven’t happened in a long time, if ever” file.

      5. Most Libertarians like gays and despise religious people. So they tend to be flippant towards those people’s rights

        That’s not at all what is going on. What is actually going on is that Christian conservatives are inherently, by virtue of their religion and ideology, opposed to individual liberties. And Christian conservatives have proven time and again that they will attempt to destroy liberty and democracy if they see an opportunity to advance the interests of their churches. Libertarians would be utter fools to ally themselves with Christian conservatives.

        Homosexuality, on the other hand, isn’t inherently left wing or right wing, pro-liberty or anti-liberty. Communist East Germany was quite homophobic, while small government conservatives generally just don’t want to hear about what other people do in the bed room.

      6. And if the gay marriage decision ever gets reversed, thanks to the gay community’s general refusal to allow anyone to object to gay marriage, I doubt gay marriage will do very well at the ballot box once it no longer has a Supreme Court to force the country to accept it.

        Polls suggest otherwise (e.g., http://tinyurl.com/pxn3kfr ). Not only does a strong majority of Americans support gay marriage, a majority of mainline protestants and Catholics do so as well. The protestant ministers in my family have supported gay marriage for as long as I can remember. You have to be surrounded by religious fringe elements in order to believe that gay marriage won’t do well at the ballot box.

    4. Restack the court. And unsettle it.

  10. our right to vote is an individual liberty that has been utterly trampled by these terrible SCOTUS rulings. Any constitutional amendment that would restore our right to self-determination should be welcome by libertarians.

      1. Nah, that’s Slappy the Third Position Fascist. You see, true freedom is DOMA, a Federal law ordering states not to recognize marriages performed in other states.

        1. We need some kind of crib sheet to keep all of these trolls straight.

          1. We had that wiki for a while, but [ahem] someone [ahem] got the password and took a dump all over it.

          2. Yeah, the only trolls I can keep straight are PB & Tony.

            Among the non-trolls, Nikki confused me for a while.

            Of course, my carefully constructed mental crib sheet became useless in the wake of the woodchipper incident.

        2. DOMA did not require States not to recognize marriages performed in other states. It said they did not have to recognize them as an end run around their own laws.

          1. Yes, you are correct. I forgot exactly how that Clinton tapdance went.

            1. Fun fact: In the ’90s, ALL Clinton tapdances ended up with the dancer getting to at least 3rd base.

              1. No one has given me an answer about whether or not he smoked the cigars afterward.

                1. I thought he had “asthma” and that’s why he smoked pot but didn’t inhale. Or was MTV lying to me in the early ’90s?

                2. You know he did, dude. Come on.

                3. He? Are you nuts?

                  Hillary smoked it.

  11. Translation: Despite the fact that a Republican president will not be able to overturn same sex recognition, the author urges everyone to vote for the Democrat.

    1. And Hillary Clinton is actually somewhat vulnerable on this issue. Her absurd, easily disprovable claim that President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in order to protect gay couples from a constitutional amendment was just declared by The Washington Post to be one of the biggest political lies of 2015.

      That might not have been his point.

    2. I’m pretty sure Scott isn’t urging anything of the kind.

      1. I can assure you there is absolutely zero chance I will be voting for any of the Democratic candidates currently running for president.

        1. Oh, so you’re going to vote for some other Democrat who isn’t currently running for president! BUSTED. So. Predictable.

          1. Scott must be feeling the Bern.

          2. I knew it, Shackford’s just Biden his time!

          3. I think he just confirmed himself for Trump 2016. You have to read between the line.

        2. Well most of you Reason writers seem to be working pretty hard at getting the democrat candidate elected. You’ve all had a chance to really get behind Rand, who is the most libertarian candidate who could actually win next year. But a lot of you even beat up on him. And then treat the rest of them like total pieces of shit.

          I get it that none of them are anywhere near perfect, but even Trump would be better than Hillary. And Cruz probably a decent president overall. But no, Reason has to publish multiple articles per day shredding any/all republican candidates. Amd why? The MSM does more than enough of that.

      2. Look Epi, there are only two choices, okay? And since Scott says more negative things about Team Red in this post, it’s clear that he is a secret Team Blue operative. You can’t prove it’s not true!

        1. Proof is for suckers and people who use logic and reason, Hugh. I don’t need any of that shit. I know.

          1. Know? WTF? Your arguments are only persuasive to me if they are based on feelz.

            Did Obi Wan Kenobe say he “I know that there was a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I know something terrible has happened.”

            No fucking way. He felt that disturbance and felt that something bad had happened and he was totes right!

    3. I was talking to somebody recently who said Trump would not be a bad President because he is not a politician, has no political experience, has no support in DC, doesn’t know how government works and therefore wouldn’t be able to get anything done. He can run his mouth all he wants but he can’t actually make the government do what he wants. Like electing a monkey to fly an airplane – you don’t have to worry about the monkey crashing the plane because he has no idea how to even get the thing started let alone airborne.

      But I can see enough stupid evil people wanting to control the monkey enough to help the monkey get the goddamn thing up in the air.

      I wouldn’t bet on a Republican president not being able to do all sorts of shit if he’s tyrannical enough and enough people insist on Something Needs To Be Done and don’t much care how it gets done. And enough shitweasels in DC get out in front of the lynch mob to lead it rather than to stop it.

      1. I wouldn’t bet on a Republican president not being able to do all sorts of shit if he’s tyrannical enough and enough people insist on Something Needs To Be Done and don’t much care how it gets done.

        There’s still this thing called Separation of Powers that barely, just barely, keeps the president from being a complete tyrant. Checks and Balances are a thing of the past, but Separation of Powers still exists.

        1. And enough shitweasels in DC get out in front of the lynch mob to lead it rather than to stop it.

          That’s what my friend was arguing – separation of powers means Congress and SCOTUS and the general inertia of the bureaucracy will keep Trump from actually getting anything done.

          But what happens when the mob gets loud enough to be heard and people like your average Congressman decide that their interests and ambitions lie in the direction of supporting Trump rather than opposing him? Sure Trump’s an idiot and his supporters are morons – but let him stretch the bounds of executive power and that way when he crashes and burns in 4 years and I decide to run for President….I’ve got all these morons supporting me and all the precedent I need to act like the El Supremo I should be.

          1. Look at all the candidates who already signed the pledge to support Trump if he wins the nomination – they not only agreed to buy a pig in a poke but they agreed to buy a pig in a poke even after they were told there was a good chance there was a cat in the bag. Any reasonable person asked if they would support the GOP nominee even if it were Trump would have laughed and said “Oh hell, no – I’ll support any other candidate but not that clown, he’s not even a Republican” but they all made a political calculation that paying lip service to being a party loyalist out-weighed the risks of them actually having to keep their word. “Craven” is the word that comes to mind. You think for one second if given a choice between doing what’s right and what’s popular those people won’t throw whatever scruples they might still have right in the fire?

            1. I admit I may have been triggered by seeing Rubio – the more I see of that guy the more he creeps me right the fuck out. That one has no soul, only political ambition. A Slick Willy x10.

              1. If voters actually thought he was Slick Willyx10, there would only be one name in the polls, everyone else would be a rounding error.

      2. But I can see enough stupid evil people wanting to control the monkey enough to help the monkey get the goddamn thing up in the air.

        Getting up in the air is not a problem. It’s the landing.

      3. Yeah, in that analogy, the plane is already in the air, and it’s not just the monkey but the monkey’s handlers, who have their own motivations to steer the plane this way or that.

    4. More accurate:
      “Regardless of the ability of Republicans to fulfill their promises, so long as they keep making anti-gay promises they won’t get gay people to vote for them.”

      1. Homosexuals represent around 2% of the population, and tend to be progressives anyway. So who gives a shit? No republican candidate was going to get most of those votes anyway. Better to convert religious Latinos to GOP voters. Lots more of them, and there are tangible issues to find common cause.

        1. If your goal is to have the Republican party win at any cost, sure, you might try to cobble together a winning majority from the moral bottom of the barrel voters: religious conservatives, racists, protectionists, war mongers. However, I suspect that such a strategy will piss off even a lot of moderate GOP voters, who simply don’t want to be associated with people like that.

    5. Reason is working round the clock to get Hillary elected. Likely so Nick and company can be part of the few favored by her administration.

      1. Since Hillary is clearly going to drone kill anybody who has said mean things about her once she is president, it’s a simple survival strategy, you know.

  12. Does anyone else just wish the whole 2016 election would go away?

    1. You may not have heard, but the United States of America threw off the chains of monarchy in favor of self determination. You’re welcome to go north of the border, however, where, if the picture on their money is any indication, they still bow to those with divine birthright in lieu of electing a representative government.

      1. where, if the picture on their money is any indication, they still bow to those with divine birthright

        Are you talking about Beaver?

        1. Can Canada be any more weird?

          1. As the plaque in the French-Canadian History Museum says: In the beginning was the beaver. Fur!

        2. “The beaver! What were we thinking? Where were our heads?”

    2. Shorter Paul.: FOUR MORE YEARS!

    3. Every minute of the day, Paul.

      1. You may not have heard, but the United States of America threw off the chains of monarchy in favor of self determination. You’re welcome to go north of the border, however, where, if the picture on their money is any indication, they still bow to those with divine birthright in lieu of electing a representative government.

        1. “Daddy no want me! I’m gonna take a bus to Reno Yellowknife!”

        2. What are you talking about? Not only has Canada shirked monarchy, they’ve shrugged off the chains of reality. If only America would follow their lead and repeal economics.

        3. Popular meme last election was a picture of Tiny Justin, maybe six years old, in 21 Sussex Drive, with caption “Harper, get out of my house!”

          So yes, we do believe in birthright as a way to run the government. Our most rebellious MPs envy the freedom of most docile, house-trained Rep in you congress.

    4. Given a choice between Trump, Hillary, and a randomly selected American, I may lean toward randomness.

      1. Some Asshole from the Phone Book 2016: It Really Couldn’t Be Any Worse

        1. What if that random asshole ends up being Hillary?

      2. Vote Batman. He’s a law and order candidate and has enough money not to be swayed by lobbyists. Sure he’s a bit cosy with the cops, but only the very, very few good apples.

        1. +1 yummy Joseph Gordon Levitt

        2. Fuck. I’d probably take Lex Luthor at this point.

          1. I’m not familiar with the source material but I understood Luthor was a popular and successful president.

            1. He polled poorly with Kryptonians immigrants though.

          2. And in Marvel there was that storyline where the Red Skull, in a clone body of Steve Rogers, created a new identity and became Secretary of State. And years later Norman Osborn was head of Homeland Security. Both of whom were still better than Clinton and Napolitano respectively.

      3. Does this come with some kind of incentive structure?

        Set income for life if we like you/sacrifice to Santa Claus by hanging like the Vikings did if we don’t perhaps?

      4. You may lean toward randomness? You may? Lean? I understand you’re a zombie and may be lacking in the braaaaains department, but given a choice between a psychopath with megalomaniacal tendencies, a megalomaniac with psychopathic tendencies and somebody who might not be a psychopath or a megalomaniac that choice should be a umm, no-brainer.

      5. Why not sell lottery tickets for the Presidency? Everyone could buy as many tickets as they wanted (I’m sure the Clinton Foundation would invest heavily) and the winner would be President.

        The proceeds would go for education just like the state lotteries.

        If you disagree with my idea, you hate children.

      6. You wouldn’t be alone: random selection of representatives (sortition) was considered the best form of Democracy in ancient Greece. Having people stand for office and be selected by popular vote was considered corrupt and conducive to oligarchy.

  13. Can we at least all agree that if Trump gives the election to Hillary by either winning the primary or splitting for a third party that he will become a Nader-esque pariah, hunted, hatred, thoroughly berated for the rest of his days?

    1. Yes, but with the caveat that John will tell us how things would have been so much better for libertarians if we had just voted for Trump like we secretly wanted to all along for at least two years following the election.

      1. Like Palin, Trump was playing 7-dimensional chess and we just couldn’t keep up.

        1. Hey man, i tried, but i lost half my pawns and both knights in a tesseract and then my queen got sucked into some kind of Calabi-Yau topography and ended up capturing herself.

          1. I told you to keep your pieces in a Klein bottle. You never listen!

            1. I did! They kept falling out.

              1. Because you were holding it upside down, duh!

                1. They fell out, then they fell back in, then they fell out again!

    2. I’m not convinced he’d lose to Hillary.

      http://www.270towin.com/maps/qoPr7

      Could Trump win FL, OH, NC, and IA? That’s not impossible. and then it basically comes down to VA.

    3. After eight years of Obama, a Cankles presidency could be so bad that it sets off the civil war I’m predicting.

  14. “I can tell Republicans from personal experience that it is absolutely possible to sell to gay people the idea that florists and bakers (for example) should not have to have their freedom of religious expression curtailed for something as non-essential as wedding goods.”

    I would like to see some examples of this.

    I recall the post about the recent gay-rights conference, when the guy from Cato (Boaz) and Sullivan were roundly denounced for holding this pro-freedom position. And when an audience member said Boaz was on the wrong side of history, the rest of the audience seemed to approve this put-down.

    So where do you find these gay people willing to take political risks to stand up to their own activists and defend the Christian bakers?

    Or does Shackford simply mean that he talked to some gay people and they said, “yeah, it’s too bad about those bakers, but what are you going to do? I’m not going to stick my neck out for those haters and just get myself called a self-hater.”

    1. The whole thing is about punishing the opposition. They both run to the government to screw the other guy. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Until the brainless among us realize that government isn’t the solution to 99% of problems (and is a problem 99% of the time), then this is a losing battle.

      I’d like to say that I just like watching them fight, but the problem is one side always ends up winning.

    2. That’s a very good point, especially as that was an article in Reason, some recognition of the points it made would have been sensible. Maybe we are the only people who actually read the articles.

    3. There is the Log Cabin Republicans and, before it self-destructed, GoProud.

      But sure, go ahead and pretend that gay people are a hive-mind.

      1. Humorously neither of those organizations actually support such an exception so maybe try a little harder or better yet try less and don’t post at all.

      2. I found this link about the Log Cabin Republicans’ stance on religious freedom, among questions to ask Republican candidates:

        “Do candidates support reasonable religious accommodations for ministers and non-profit organizations, or do they support unnecessarily broad and dangerous religious accommodations that include for-profit businesses able to refuse service for any “sincerely held belief”?”

        And “GoProud no official position on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.”

        1. *had* no official position, before it “self-destructed.”

    4. So where do you find these gay people willing to take political risks to stand up to their own activists and defend the Christian bakers?

      I despise progressive activists and conservative Christians about equally, because I think they are basically the same. So, hand me the popcorn while these statists and slavers hurt each other.

  15. Maybe it’s me, but I’m starting to wonder if there’s some sort of collective regression going on in our culture. Even people I would have been marginally okay with only a few short years ago are starting to sound like six-year-olds with Downs Syndrome. No, I take that back. At least they seem capable of recognizing their limitations.

    People are just digging into their depths to see just how much idiotic they can scrape from the bottom of the barrel. And it all seems to be about fucking over “those people” (and who those people are depends on your particular little group of fiends.).

    How about this – everybody leave everybody else the fuck alone.

  16. the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision?which mandates states recognize same-sex marriages?was an opportunity for the Republican Party to jettison some of its increasingly unpopular positions on how the government should be treating gay people

    Sure, just like Roe vs Wade unified our country around the abortion issue. That’s how these non-textually based SC decisions lacking a huge amount of popular support work, right?

    1. Or how about penaltax? Should republicans say, welp, court has spoken, no more dicking with obamacare?

      1. Definitely. The Japanese needed to get over the whole Internment issue after Korematsu vs US. The people have spoken through their unelected representatives in the SC, after all. And libertarians should just shut the hell up about Wickard vs Filburn already. It’s settled law, for fuck’s sake.

    2. jettison some of its increasingly unpopular positions on how the government should be treating gay people

      Are abortion bans increasingly unpopular? Obamacare/the penaltax surely is not.

  17. The terrifying result of all this religious pandering? The remote possibility of overturning an unpopular and un-Constitutionally based decision and returning the matter of gay marriage to the states sometime in the distant future. Federalism, in other words. Well, who could stand to live in such a dystopia? Apparently we all were able to manage that hellscape, just last year and all the years preceding.

    Conservatives have already massively changed their stance on gays in society, from believing along with the rest of the population that sodomy should be criminalized to the current stance of being in favor of federalism on the issue of gay marriage and generally supporting civil unions. What’s more, even these opinions can have a person be branded as a bigot and censured — up to and including job loss and government lawsuits. I would love to know what the hell there is to be afraid about wrt conservatives and gays — because right now, the hammer blows are falling on those who aren’t lockstep with the left’s social agenda, not on gays.

    1. The terrifying result of all this religious pandering? The remote possibility of overturning an unpopular and un-Constitutionally based decision and returning the matter of gay marriage to the states sometime in the distant future. Federalism, in other words.

      No. That’s not much of a possibility at all, as Scott argues. The negative result is that instead of doing something pro-liberty, like fighting for the rights of private parties to discriminate, Republicans are wasting their breath calling for the overturning of a decision that is not going to be overturned.

      Did you even read the post?

      I would love to know what the hell there is to be afraid about wrt conservatives and gays — because right now, the hammer blows are falling on those who aren’t lockstep with the left’s social agenda, not on gays.

      Are you suggesting that all homosexuals are in lockstep with the left’s social agenda?

      1. The negative result is that instead of doing something pro-liberty, like fighting for the rights of private parties to discriminate, Republicans are wasting their breath calling for the overturning of a decision that is not going to be overturned.

        Spoken like someone who has no idea how politics works. If by saying that Cruz or Rubio can get the support of a large number of motivated voters and volunteers, it’s not wasted breath even if it leads to nothing. For the social conservatives who think they’ll actually get something out of it, I’d say they’re naive but it’s not for me to say whether their efforts in electing Cruz are worth it if they think the possibility of overturning Obergefell is a good return on investment.

        Since overturning Obergefell does not impact liberty and does impact rule of law positively, I don’t give two fucks about whether or not they get their wish. I’m not so fond of seeing people get kicked when they’ve already been beat, which is what the left is doing to people of a traditional bent.

        Are you suggesting that all homosexuals are in lockstep with the left’s social agenda?

        Nope, which is why I said “the left’s social agenda” instead of “gays”. They’re different groups, and IMO the former is using gays as a catspaw rather than this being some kind of Protocals of the Elders of San Fran-type scenario.

        1. Okay, I apologize: you’re right, Scott isn’t worried about them wasting their breath. He’s worried about them acting like huge fucking dickheads.

          Nope, which is why I said “the left’s social agenda” instead of “gays”.

          You might want to re-read your comment, since you said the hammer is falling “not on gays.”

    2. It’s amazing how, now that marriage is legal, there’s all this support for civil unions. Where was the support for nation-wide civil unions *before* Windsor v United States and Obergefell v Hodges?

      1. Where was the support for nation-wide civil unions *before* Windsor v United States and Obergefell v Hodges?

        Well, when it was first floated, the gay activists roundly rejected it, so it pretty much withered away.

        1. Actually when it was first floated many evangelicals rejected it because they saw it as the camel’s nose under the tent. Conservatives came around when popular opinion started shifting, but marriage had become a winnable option.

          But nice historical revisionism.

  18. What does “anti-gay” mean exactly? I’d interpret this to mean personally opposed to anyone who is gay, which would be a pretty stupid thing to say about the majority of “religious conservatives” (perhaps there is some survey to link to) since this *should* mean opposed to idea or at least the promotion/approval of homosexuality.

    I do notice these have been intentionally conflated in the past, much like opposition to illegal immigration and racism. There may be an intersect, but only a moron or a liar would expect (hope) readers to be stupid enough to buy one as the equal to the other.

    1. What does “anti-gay” mean exactly?

      If you oppose gay people using government to initiate force on people who commit the heinous crime of saying “No” to them, then you are anti-gay.

      1. Just like when you oppose Catholic people using government to initiate force on people who commit the heinous crime of saying “No” to them, then you are anti-Catholic.

        I recommend not giving a shit whether other people consider you anti-anything.

  19. That’s a lot of words for fag talk.

    1. “It’s fucked up! You talk like a fag, and your shit’s all… retarded.”

      1. Camacho looks like an increasingly viable third party candidate, compared to Trump and Hillary.

    2. That could be a new talk show on LOGO. “Fag Talk”.

  20. Let’s see Trump is against property rights, against religious freedom, for socialized medicine, admits to being part of problem with corruption in Washington and has alienated the Hispanic, black and Muslim communities. Hillary is a liar, thief, and crook who would sell out her country for the right donation to the Clinton foundation. If that isn’t bad enough she is an enabler to a husband that is a serial sexual abuser and possible pedophile. Who do I vote for

    1. I know who’s got my vote: None of the above.

    2. Take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t matter who you vote for.

      1. ^This

      2. It downers where you live. I haven’t seen the polls yet, but I’m guessing WA will go for Hillary. Unless ISIS nukes King County (Seattle).

    3. Hitler Zombie!

  21. “It is the current law. I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it,” Rubio said on NBC’s Meet The Press, referring to the landmark June 2015 ruling. “And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.”

    On Monday, Rubio rolled out a new campaign ad in which he appeals to Americans who “feel out of place in our own country,” including “millions with traditional values branded bigots and haters.”

    Meh, nothing quoted there is objectionable. He does pivot nicely to a simple “justices should be originalists,” and not “justices must overturn Obergefell.” Yeah, it’s clear what he’s trying to do and I agree it would be nice to see Republicans shift the debate towards liberty of association, but this looks like Rubio carefully straddling the line.

  22. “It’s also extremely unlikely that Rubio, as president, will be able to select justice that promise to overturn Obergefell, any more that it will be possible for Hillary Clinton, if she’s elected president, to demand Supreme Court candidates promise to overturn the Citizens United decision, no matter how many times anybody says “Dred Scott.””

    Somebody needs to explain to this guy how the supreme court works.

  23. “This was supposed to be the presidential election where gay issues stopped mattering. Okay, maybe that was a narrative I made up entirely by myself in my own head out of na?ve hopefulness.”
    No Shackford, you weren’t alone in thinking that. I’m pretty sure that just about every right-wing gay person thought that. Hell, there were a lot on the left-side of the house hoping that (but not as many believing that).

    But there were also a lot saying it wouldn’t be this cycle. Seems the cynics were right this time. And based on the comments, I’m skeptical that the party will have dropped the issue by 2020 either.

    1. I’m sure there are a lot of gay people who would just as soon not be in the political spotlight.

      Unfortunately, way too many of their (self-appointed?) activists, leaders, etc., now have the taste of blood, and are loud and proud in their determination to put a (Hugo Boss) jackboot on the neck of badthinkers who don’t celebrate their lifestyle in the appropriate fashion.

  24. This is exactly why if Cruz or Rubio wins the nomination they will lose in the general. This War on Women, gays and Drugs the evangelicals have been waging the last 50 years is why the GOP is on its death bed.

    And this is also why Trump is the ONLY candidate who even has a chance of beating Hillary. He knows better than to inject all of that evangelical pie-in-the-sky crap into the election.

    GOP RIP.

  25. Delighted to see that Trump is by misdirection leading the mystical bigots back to their roots: rolling queers, tear-gassing naygurs, drafting students as cannon fodder, reversing Roe v. Wade and forcing women to chose between death by sepsis and squeezing out Lebensborn, putting potheads and acidheads in rape cages for life, bribing State political machines with asset forfeiture looting… With a little effort, persons tired of the Kleptocracy will switch so that the Libertarian party gets roughly half the vote, while the GOP’s Ku-Klux and NSDAP wings can feel what it’s like to be the 1%. Trump’s nativist yahoos could easily vote Libertarian once The Plutocrat pulls a Perot Pullout. All he has to do is say the word after he drops out of the race, buys the Reason Foundation, and fires all the jerks who ignored GOP christianofascists and instead came yipping and nipping at his argyles.

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