Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why are the Chick fil A protests so huge?

I've had a few requests to explain why the Chick fil A's are so full. Quick background for those outside of the US: the chairman of CfA is a Christian. During an interview he said that the company supported Christian values, including that marriage was the union between one man and one woman. When the interview became news, Boston, rather than letting residents choose to not eat there, banned the restaurant and the left called for Americans to boycott CfA. (More background here.) The restaurants have been full for weeks, but yesterday was a rally day, and they were packed.

Since most people think of gay marriage as a conservative right issue, and since most think the majority of Americans support gay marriage, many are baffled and/or dismayed that the restaurants were so full today. The short answer: the issue is more about freedom of speech than social values, and much of the left has socially conservative values. The CfA kerfuffle has effectively allied a huge portion of Americans.

How? Think of the political spectrum on two axis. The first is social values and the second government power. The left right divide in US politics does not fracture along those axis. Much of the Democratic collation has conservative social values along with leftist thoughts on government. Blacks and Hispanics are the most common of these socially conservative Democrats. The right has many combinations, big government social conservatives, limited government social conservatives, and limited government social liberals.

Since the CfA boycott call offends social conservatives and limited government adherents, the CfA restaurants today were full of all of the right and a large chunk of the left.

This alliance is a doomsday scenario for the Democrats. They only hold sway now because they have their social conservatives convinced that they can't succeed without the help of big government. This is why Democrats are afraid to push Second Amendment and gay marriage issues. They don't want their social conservatives to feel like their social values are more under attack than big government programs. (And Dems really don't want their social conservatives to realize that the Democrats want them dependent on government to keep them voting D.) If that ever happens, then those social conservatives won't vote Democratic, or just won't vote. It would not take a large defection to destroy Democrats' electoral chances. They have to walk a fine line to hold their coalition together. This is all the more difficult when you realize that many Democrats are not-so-big government social liberals. The Democratic powers that be, keep those people voting Democratic by scaring them that the right is full of horrible socially conservative boogie men, which both insults their social conservatives and advertises that they have common ground with some of the right.

By the way, Mr. "Not a gay in me" isn't walking that fine line.