A lot of social conservatives felt disappointed, or betrayed, when Gov. Pence agreed to weaken the religious-liberty law he had just signed. But it is social conservatism for which Pence has been best known–he helped to make the defunding of Planned Parenthood a consensus issue within the Republican party–and social conservative organizations have generally greeted his selection enthusiastically. My column on his selection focuses on what it says about the status of social conservatives within the party.
During the primaries Trump did relatively poorly among voters who consider themselves “very conservative,” and in many states he also underperformed among evangelical Christians. The fact that he won anyway, even with a very liberal record on social issues, led some analysts to suggest that social conservatism had lost its grip on the GOP.
That turned out to be wrong. . .