Victory 2015: Life, religious liberty, and truth swept last night’s elections

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Supporters of traditional values scored a sweeping victory last night as every component of their agenda won at the ballot box – including life, religious liberty, sanity on the issue of "gender identity," even recreational drug use.

HEROs Often Fail

Houston became the third city in recent years to repeal a transgender "civil rights" ordinance, granting members of one biological sex the right to use the restrooms, showers, and changing rooms of the opposite sex. Outspent two-to-one, Houston voted down the bathroom bill (which supported dubbed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or "HERO") by a nearly two-to-one margin. In addition to upholding biological reality, the vote struck a blow for religious liberty after the city's Democratic mayor, Annise Parker, demanded that five pastors turn over their sermons for government inspection. If their religion contradicted her preferred view of the law, Parker said at the time, then their words were "fair game."

Voters last night said they wanted men out of the ladies' room and the government out of their pulpits.

Kentucky Reign

The night's most striking victory belonged to Matt Bevin, the governor-elect of Kentucky. Pundits had written his political obituary after he led a Tea Party primary challenge against Mitch McConnell and lost in a 25-point blowout. Last night, Kentucky voters resurrected him from the dead.

Bevin scored a nine-point victory over his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway, despite being outspent by more than $3 million – and that only after a last minute spending spree from national Republicans, who hadn't given him a dime until mid-October.

On election day, Bevin told the Laura Ingraham Show that he credited undercover Planned Parenthood videos and Kim Davis' imprisonment with his surge in the polls.

Conway refused to defend the state's constitutional marriage protection amendment in court – saying in part he was motivated by Pope Francis. He then ignored Davis' pleas for a religious accommodation.

"There is no question that the issue of religious freedom and same-sex marriage played a role in the results," said Mat Staver, Davis' lawyer.

Life Goes On

Politicians who were said to be too extreme in their advocacy of life also won big. Phil Bryant coasted to re-election as governor of Mississippi, thanks in part of a hapless Democratic challenger who apparently won his primary by a fluke. (Think Alvin Greene.) But Bryant shares his voters' values. Last year, Bryant affirmed, "I clearly said I want to end abortion in Mississippi." Mississippians responded by saying they wanted to extend his term in office.

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, also won handily over a challenger who presented himself as more "mainstream." Democrat Bob Shaw, groused, "Bob Marshall is a part of the problem, and has spent his time in the House of Delegates focused on social issues and waging ideological, divisive, mean-spirited, and discriminatory attacks on many of the populations among us." Marshall – who was elbowed aside in two previous primaries for U.S. Senate and House as too conservative – won in a race that wasn't even close.

All three aspects of the social conservative creed – life, family, and religious liberty – were on the ballot last night, and all three won. Make that four, if you count Ohio's Issue 3, which would have legalized recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 or older. [1]

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When it comes to the results of election night 2015, there's good news and there's better news. The good news is we won. The better news is, the elections had virtually nothing to do with Barack Obama.

Unlike the 2010 and 2014 midterms, which were clearly anti-Obama elections, the president was virtually absent from the political debate. These were local elections in which voters concentrated on the issues at hand and rejected gender-bending extremism, spying on clergy, Planned Parenthood, and imprisoning Christians based on conscience. That means the same issues can pave the way to victory after Obama is a painful political memory.

The other side may dismiss the results as inconsequential, a Southern anomaly that cannot be duplicated nationwide – especially with 2016's challenging calendar. But Matt Bevin won an historic election in Kentucky, where only two Republicans have served as governor in the last 50 years. Houston leans solidly Democratic, yet a group of clergy overcame a massive spending deficit to defeat a coalition of City Hall, Hillary Clinton, the ACLU, and Hollywood stars in a landslide. And they did it by standing on traditional values.

This sent shockwaves through the political and media establishment. After all, the triumph of secular progressive culture issues is supposed to be "inevitable." Last night, history struck back.

The 2015 election proves that Republicans – or Democrats, or Independents – can win and win big by standing up for the traditional values shared by their voters. Given cover by the Obama administration, the cultural Left has badly overreached.

On values, government spending, and foreign adventurism, Americans are looking for a return to normalcy, and candidates willing to provide it will benefit themselves and their country. After losing two presidential elections that gave social conservatives and Middle America no reason to vote, I hope someone at the RNC is taking notes.

Conservatives can and should take pride in the 2015 election results. But, as the Grateful Dead sang, "Every silver lining's got a touch of grey." There is also bad news from last night's election returns.

Not Fade Away

The bad news is that these issues are going nowhere. The radical Left never accepts defeat and meekly walks away, no matter how complete their repudiation. Nor do they trust their party to handle their issues without grassroots pressure. Only Republicans are counseled to "take a deep breath" and accept judicial tyranny as "the law of the land" – whether Roe v. Wade or Obergefell v. Hodges.

Even now, the other side is preparing its next assault. The well-funded astroturf organization behind the Texas transgender ordinance, Houston United, issued a statement just after the election saying, "Although Houston won't yet join the 200 other cities that have similar non-discrimination measures, the fight continues. We will continue telling the stories of Houstonians whose lives would be better off because of HERO." Whether at the ballot box, in court, or by executive action, the transgender extremists intend to get their way.

Now is no time for complacency. Instead, conservatives must consolidate last night's gains by seeing to it that the politicians elected actually codify their views into law. There's no point in winning if there is no legislative fruit. The Left squeezes every ounce of state power for its own ends. Conservatives must respond by using their position to maximize freedom and traditional values.

And conservatives must do what Republicans and politicians steadfastly refuse to do: engage the culture. They must launch a sustained educational campaign about the reality of biological sex and the very real risks that unisex showers inflict, primarily on young women. They must talk about the exploitative and predatory nature of Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar industry that rakes in profits through indifference to human suffering and a strained relationship with the law. They must defend our first freedom, the right to exercise our religion. And they must at last address the indispensable role played by the intact, natural family and the health and public safety dangers posed by its would-be replacements.

Without that, this was a temporary victory at best.

Ben Johnson is U.S. Bureau Chief of LifeSiteNews and the author of three books. Visit his personal website and follow him on Twitter.

ENDNOTES:

1. Alcohol consumption is also technically illegal under the age of 21. The Ohio ballot initiative was complicated by the fact that Issue 3 would have established a state marijuana cartel of 10 farms – owned by celebrities and wealthy investors – a condition that led many people who favored cannabis legalization to vote against it.