It's no longer enough just to show up and vote, says veteran culture warrior Maggie Gallagher. Conservatives and Christians, she says, need to get more explicitly political.
The 2016 elections were good for Republicans, with one notable exception: Democrat Roy Cooper beat out Republican incumbent Pat McCrory in the governor's race in North Carolina – but the central issue in that election was HB2, the state's bathroom bill which allowed men into women's restrooms. The Human Rights Campaign spent tens of thousands of dollars on Cooper and ran ads like this:
"More than 200 businesses have come out in opposition to HB2. The NBA is moving next year's All-Star game. And some film producers have said they'll stop shooting here."
Maggie Gallagher, a senior fellow with American Principles Project, says all it would have taken for McCrory to be re-elected was one or two pro-family groups giving similar amounts of money.
"There was no organization that values life, marriage, or religious liberty that went in there to defend him," she explains – adding that that's the result of conservatives not using the political tools at hand.
"The left is politically organized and social conservatives are not really ...," she continues. "So we should stop talking like we're in politics if we're not going to actually build political institutions."
In a very real sense, says Gallagher, culture follows politics. "Politics is how we decide what's important, it's how we decide what's in or outside the mainstream, and it's how a lot of people in the middle hear messages other than those crafted by the mainstream media and Hollywood," she says.
She's calling on conservatives to step up their game – and the sooner the better.
"It's really urgent – and yes, it might be too late. The Republican Party shut down [and] the left is mopping up on the idea that they can shut down the Republican Party on any issue they choose," Gallagher tells OneNewsNow. "And once they're convinced of that, you're going to see things that make your head spin."
America, she adds, is well on its way to being a country where it's unacceptable to be a traditional Christian.