TYSONS CORNER, VA - Conservatives are taking a page from Bush consultant Karl Rove's playbook and urging big money donors to work together to get social issues back in the GOP's 2014 political campaign strategy. Politico reports a group of socially-conservative mega donors met in northern Virginia recently to plan ways to get social conservatives back into the grassroots movement.
In 2012, conservative Foster Friess (photo to right), for instance, gave more than $2 million to the Red, White and Blue Fund, a super PAC that supported former Senator Rick Santorum's presidential bid. The money was "absolutely worth it because I allowed Rick Santorum to express views and ideas that the American people wanted to hear and needed to hear," Friess told the Christian Science Monitor last year.
Many social conservatives sat out the 2012 campaigns when energized, socially-neutral Tea Party activists moved in:
Republican campaigns have long relied on social conservatives for grass-roots muscle in getting out the vote, but the GOP would benefit if their issues were highlighted more broadly, argued Cannon. He said he made a similar case during a panel at the Ritz called “Recapturing a Fusionist Conservative Movement.” And his 501(c)(4) operation, American Principles In Action, produced an entire white paper in October refuting the assertion in the RNC’s so-called autopsy report that the party “must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters” and women.
American Principles In Action’s paper, issued in October, argued that such a tactic “would likely consign the GOP to a permanent minority status,” whereas emphasizing social issues will help rally the base and attract coveted demographics with which the GOP has struggled, including Hispanics and women.
”Social conservatives need to take things into their own hands and can’t rely on the establishment to make that case to donors or voters,” said Cannon, who managed Bauer’s long-shot 2000 presidential campaign. “We need to alert donors who care about social issues that, without financial support behind those issues themselves, you have a consulting class of the party that’s decided that those issues need to be jettisoned.”