Are they alone? No. One Libertarian divulged to me he'd vote Republican - if it weren't for the GOP's "interventionist foreign policy." Not to be outdone, defense hawks speak just as firmly the other way. And during the 2012 election, a gun rights activist told me he "wouldn't wipe his (bleep) with Mitt Romney" - he even preferred Obama - because Romney wasn't strong on gun rights. Seriously.
Do I scorn single issue voters? Actually, I applaud them. In this age of poll-watching sycophants, single issue voters stand apart, courageously taking enemy fire - often for opinions I share.
But while pushing single issues is fine by me, I have one request: Do it effectively.
"If the GOP compromises on my issue, I'll leave."
I want Conservatives to make the best impact for their ideals, but the above approach won't work. Suppose one group takes this stance with abortion. Okay, fine. But then suppose another group makes the same 100% demand against amnesty. Well, I agree on both, so I'm in - but we just lost some more votes. Yet another group demands conformity on gun laws, then another on school vouchers, then non-interventionism, then interventionism, then marijuana, gay marriage, auditing the Fed...get the picture?
When facing an enormous, unified Democratic Party, this strategy only works if no one else uses it. I repeat: This strategy only works if no one else uses it. Thus, if enough people follow suit, we guarantee victory for the Democrats, who generally despise our single issues.
The math is simple: By drawing votes from the Democrats' only numerically viable opposition - usually the GOP candidate - single issue voting guarantees huge defeats for our single issues.
A Shrinking Choir
It gets worse. When I insist my single issue takes top priority, only those sharing my priority will listen to me - others are offended. See the effect? Demanding my way or the highway ensures the smallest audience for my message. I'm preaching to a shrinking choir.
Isn't this exactly what we're seeing? Today, our greatest problem is neither stubborn grassroots activists nor compromising GOP leadership, but rather a nation adrift from founding principles. Whatever your Conservative brand, America is rejecting it more each decade - and the Left uses media, entertainment, and academia to further this rejection.
So while we shrink our choir from within, the Left shrinks it from without. What a strategy.
Broadening the Choir
Clearly, the answer is not demanding candidates hold the line for our single issues in an increasingly skeptical society. The answer is to create a less skeptical society! Our single issues need a bigger audience - a bigger choir.
But how? At the mere mention of politics, people shut down - so how do we draw them in?
The solution, ironically, lies in the very diversity being driven off by our single issue demands. Think about it. Conservatives should unite around Individual Liberty, as opposed to the Left's lust for Collective Control. Individual Liberty; that's our core vision. And within that vision, a party of individuals can hold many views.
With more views, our outreach grows exponentially, drawing larger audiences for our single issues. Why? Because different kinds of Conservatives draw different kinds of listeners. I can't convince more people to be pro-life by only talking with pro-life people, but pro-choice Conservatives bring in endless opportunities! Likewise, while I oppose green energy, "green" Republicans fill the pews with new listeners for my gospel of oil - all while broadening my vision and sharpening my debate skills.
See how this works? In a nation where people run from discussion, our choir actually expands! Ted Cruz grows Marco Rubio's audience, and vice versa. Ann Coulter grows Mike Huckabee's audience, and vice versa. And don't even get me started on Chris Christie and Rand Paul...
Voila! Stop demanding, and we start expanding! Isn't that better?
Frustration and Fear
"But I want my issue advanced now!" Good! You should. And honestly, many compromises by GOP lawmakers have frustrated me. But never react without counting the cost, and never forget that it was our self-imposed shrinking choir - not that spineless lawmaker - which ultimately produced today's compromises. We need to address the cause of our problems, not amputate every symptom. The cost of all these amputations is unchecked Democrat tyranny.
If we want candidates to defend our single issues, then we must help our candidates by making these stances more popular - and this requires an expanding choir. Sorry, no quick fixes.
Perhaps we fear our views won't hold up in an expanding choir. We should give ourselves more credit, but I'll admit I too can feel this way. Keeping different ideas "out there," I sometimes find solace in unchallenged rightness. It's comforting, soft of. And yet, a comfy, shrinking choir provides a desolate future, so that's no option. Besides, if I wanted collectivist conformity, I'd still be a Democrat.
A Choir to Fear
No, I think it's time we turn the tables on our liberal tormentors. It's high time our Conservative Choir stops shrinking, starts growing, and blares Individual Liberty from booming radios with the windows rolled down. Yeah, baby! Putting the team first, we give our single issues an audience of millions.
Now there's a choir the Left will fear. Strong, diverse, intelligent, growing, united - more effective than our current model. No, I won't always get my way, but it will be much better than guaranteeing the defeat of everything I hold dear. Besides, I'll get my way a lot more often.
Is this compromise? No, poor strategy that seals the fate for all our single issues is compromise. This is something different entirely. It's called, "Wisdom." For Coulter and Huckabee, I request they keep their single issues - and great wisdom - in the choir. Let's learn and grow together, moving the needle of public opinion, so we can change the political landscape before shoving candidates into it.
Then we can attain that single issue which provides a vehicle for all other single issues: We can attain...victory.