The other day, Scott Walker declared that if the Supreme Court rules for a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, he’d support a Constitutional amendment allowing states to ban it. This stance would not have been surprising coming from Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, or Ted Cruz. But coming from a self-styled reform governor who represents a new generation of leaders, it turned a lot of talking heads.
A new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute sheds some light on why some GOP presidential candidates may argue for continued resistance to cultural and legal change on gay rights, even after a Court ruling for marriage equality.
The poll finds that 55 percent of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, and 65 percent believe the Court will overturn state bans on gay marriage — in other words, that continued change is inevitable. But a majority of Republicans opposes legal same-sex marriage.
And note the remarkable division among religious Americans: While large majorities of mainline protestants and Catholics favor legal same-sex marriage, 62 percent of white evangelical protestants oppose it. As the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute aptly put it: “white evangelical Protestants are increasingly becoming an island of opposition amidst a sea of acceptance.”
Given the outsized importance of white evangelicals in GOP presidential primaries, it’s plausible that some of the candidates could decide that acting as a bulwark against continued change on this issue could help them compete for those voters.
And yet, the poll also finds a remarkable generation gap on marriage equality: 72 percent of young adults supports it. Other polls have shown majority support even among young Republicans.
In fairness, polling is mixed on the narrow question of whether states should be able to ban same-sex marriage. Today’s PRRI poll finds 51 percent say they should, while other polls have found the opposite. So perhaps GOP candidates such as Walker can stand for states’ rights to ban same-sex marriage without paying a broader price.
But generally speaking, the broad white evangelical protestant opposition to legal same-sex marriage — combined with overwhelming support for it among young voters — again suggests that this is an area where the GOP may be reaffirming its “identity as the champion of the forces most resistant to the profound demographic and cultural dynamics reshaping American life.”
* GOP STATES DISCOVER TAX CUTS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: Bloomberg has a nice overview of GOP leaders in multiple states who are thinking the unthinkable: new taxes may be necessary to offset budget shortfalls and preserve spending on infrastructure and education:
Seventeen states cut taxes significantly in 2013, 14 last year and a similar number will in 2015…At the same time, aggregate state general-fund revenue and spending haven’t recovered on an inflation-adjusted basis to levels before the 18-month recession that started in December 2007, according to the budget officers group. That’s forced politicians to make cuts and tap reserves, and given some a newfound appreciation for taxes.
It turns out tax cuts have consequences other than magically unleashing runaway growth to shower everyone with prosperity.
* REPUBLICANS AND KOCH BROTHERS AT WAR: Jon Ward has the amazing tale of a public feud between the Republican National Committee and the Koch brothers. The RNC fears the Kochs are trying to take control of the RNC’s voter file, and perhaps the whole party:
“I think it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how,” said Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.
Apparently Republicans have discovered the dangerous power of those well-financed and unaccountable Koch brothers!
* REPUBLICANS WOOING RIGHT WINGERS ON FAST TRACK: The New York Times reports that GOP leaders are loading up the Fast Track bill with right-wing provisions designed to win over conservative lawmakers. There’s language restricting future trade deals from addressing climate change and loosening immigration laws (for, who else, Steve King).
What this really shows is that the fate of Fast Track — and the TPP — rests mostly on whether House conservatives will really revolt against giving Obama this authority when it comes to free trade. In the end, they probably won’t rebel in large enough numbers to kill it.
* STILL, SOME REPUBLICANS ARE HOLDING OUT: Post reporter Paul Kane has a useful description of another bloc of House Republicans that still may oppose Fast Track, and why:
The most troubling bloc is several dozen who aren’t normally troublesome but come from Midwestern districts where job losses in manufacturing have been heavy. Supporting trade is not easy for them. Still…GOP leaders believe they can hit their mark of 190 to 200 Republican votes.
These Rust Belt Republicans may be won over by a provision designed to curb other countries’ currency manipulation, which many blame for unfair competition causing American job loss.
* GOP EYES — GASP — NEW REVENUES!!! The Washington Examiner reports:
Republican lawmakers are looking to tax the $2 trillion in earnings that U.S. companies hold overseas as a way to fund roads and bridges. With the prospects for a broad revamp of the tax code dimming, lawmakers are looking to the exhaustion of the highway trust fund next month as a crisis that could prompt Congress to rewrite at least part of the tax code pertaining to international taxation.
The looming expiration of the highway trust fund may split the GOP: Conservatives are already warning that this solution constitutes new revenues.
* DEFICIT FALLS AGAIN, BUT WILL IT MATTER? The Wall Street Journal reports:
The U.S. budget deficit narrowed further in May as revenue continued to rise faster than expenses have in the past year, the Treasury Department said Wednesday….In the past 12 months, the budget deficit has fallen to $412 billion, down from $460 billion in April and $491 billion a year earlier. That marks the lowest 12-month deficit since August 2008.
Yeah, yeah, whatever. Will this make the slightest difference to the discussions over whether we should lift the sequester spending caps?
* AND JEB BUSH IS SET TO TAKE OFF THE GLOVES: The Post has a deeply reported look at how the Jeb Bush campaign has been hampered by a serious of miscalculations: A fast start and a big show of fundraising weren’t enough to scare out potential rivals. Note this:
Forced to make up lost ground, Bush, his aides and his super-PAC allies are now preparing plans to attack the records and experience of his GOP competition, especially Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. A summer envisioned as a season of slow and warm introductions to voters is poised to be a battle as Bush tries to recapture his place atop the pack.
The thing to watch will be how Bush goes after Walker’s record as governor of Wisconsin.