Like it or not, the political realm is defined by compromise. For any group of people to set rules for themselves democratically, there will necessarily be negotiation and compromise since they can't all get what they want. Thus, "success" in politics means being a good compromiser – even if you remain "uncompromising" on one or more principles in the vast universe of issues you may be called upon to address.
In public policy trends, such as the collapse of support for "traditional values," the key to steering decision-makers is to set a goal and push toward it incrementally: in sporting terms, to drive the ball down the field in the direction you want it to go. If you are fortunate enough to play against an opponent with no offense – in other words, an opponent with no long-term goal and agenda to achieve it – you are guaranteed to eventually win if you persist.
Why? Because, any group of politicians will always move toward the middle ground between the two choices offered to them. If the only two choices are keeping the status quo or moving to the left, they will always, eventually, move left. It's as certain as death and taxes.
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This, very simply, is why Christian "values voters" have failed. Values voters have unwisely and unnecessarily acted as conservatives. Conservatives by nature play defense to "conserve" the status quo, while liberals create their own "tide of history" by pushing change agendas toward long-term goals.
This is also why populism is rising. It has clear goals to achieve, e.g. building a border wall, deporting the illegals and forcing American companies to move their factories back to the U.S. It remains to be seen whether the populists can defeat the liberals, but at least they have a fighting chance.
"Stopping abortion" and "protecting marriage" are not true goals in the American political context. They are just defensive foot-dragging on the path leftward. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
To reverse the anti-family trend, we need to set broad, affirmative long-term goals, like "re-criminalizing abortion" and "restoring natural family cultural primacy" and work persistently to achieve them by forward-looking incremental steps. (Impossible goals? Consider where the lefties started a half-century ago and where they are now.)
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What this means in practice is that whenever the left puts forward any bill to advance their agenda, we don't just defend the status quo, but put forward our own bill that would move the ball in the opposite direction. If their bill asks policymakers to take one step left, ours asks them to take one step right. Even better, we don't wait to react to theirs, but put forward our own and force them to react.
In either case, what's the most likely "middle-ground" outcome in that realm of compromise? It's that we keep the status quo, rather than take a half-step left. That's a big victory all by itself, given our track record.
Worst-case scenario they move one step left, which might have happened anyway, but best-case scenario they move one step right instead of keeping the "status quo" – an impossible outcome under our old "conservative" approach. It's the same amount of effort on our side, but dramatically better prospects.
These are historic times politically, creating great opportunity for change. If the "values voters" will simply take a page from the populist playbook and quickly set some clear long-term goals and an agenda to reach them, we can open a second front against the political left and potentially take back all of ground that we've lost over the past half-century. One thing is certain: We can't win as "conservatives."