(In These Times) -- The first presidential debate in early August should worry Republicans, but not because of any memorable gaffes. It was the deafening silence—begging to be filled by Bernie Sanders—that signals trouble on the GOP’s horizon.
Plenty of hot air and bluster circulated in the debate, to be sure, but one of the key culture war issues that has stoked so much anger and passion since the 1980s—gay rights—was notably absent. The most notable comment on the subject came from Ohio governor John Kasich, who said that “I’m going to love [my children] not matter what they do” in response to a question about same-sex marriage. “God gives me unconditional love” Kasich added. “I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.”
We are a long way from Patrick Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, in which he declared that “there is a religious war going on in this country … for the soul of America”—and thus unofficially launched the culture wars that have dominated our politics for a generation.
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