As Americans move further into the midterm election season, Conservatives of all different stripes have been compelled to toss their hats in the ring and run for office. Every day, the numbers of black Conservatives continues to grow as more and more African Americans come to the realization that the Democrat Party has done nothing to improve their quality of life. Another group, whose support the Democrats have long taken for granted (and may also be taking a second look at Conservatism), is gay Americans. One of the people guiding that second look is California congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.
DeMaio is running for California’s 52nd Congressional district seat against first term incumbent, Scott Peters. Demaio’s campaign website depicts a common sense Conservative concerned with economic issues, affordable health care, education, and as a California resident, sensible immigration reform. What Carl DeMaio will not tell you first is that he is a gay Conservative.
Carl Demaio’s personal story is a pretty incredible one. His dad left the family two weeks before the death of his mother, leaving Carl on his own after he and his siblings were split up by social services. But he never gave up, putting himself through school, and starting, then selling, two multi-million dollar businesses. In 2008 he ran for the San Diego City Council, and became the first openly gay man on the City Council. He crossed party lines to pass significant pension reform saving money for retirees and taxpayers.
So you might think that Carl Demaio has unwavering support in the gay community for his candidacy, right? Well, think again. Apparently, gay and Republican is sort of like black and Republican, nary the two shall meet.
DeMaio has been the target of several homophobic attacks. One left-wing group helped fund a Super PAC who had flyers photoshopped of Demaio with a drag queen. The flyers were then sent out to neighborhoods with heavy black and elderly populations in an effort to smear him. He was accused in 2013 by a Democratic State Senator of lewd behavior in a public restroom during city council breaks. The accusations were never substantiated.
Carl Demaio, like a lot of other Conservatives who might not be considered “mainstream” is breaking the molds and shattering stereotypes of just exactly who Conservatives are. He says that he does not want to make his sexual orientation the center issue, choosing to focus on issues affecting the nation. So California liberals, those pillars of tolerance and diversity, are doing it for him.
Even though Demaio enjoys a 100% voting record with San Diego’s LGBT community, it is practically impossible to get anyone on the left to defend him against some rather vicious attacks. In fact, the closer the Republican primary gets on June 3rd, not only have gay organizations gone silent about supporting him, they are actually working against him.
So why the silent treatment for Demaio, and other openly gay GOP candidates? It suggests a certain kind of groupthink that has always been suspected on the Right, but until candidates like Carl DeMaio decided to make themselves known, the Left has been able to deny it. So is it not possible for a gay Republican to be interested in the concerns of the LGBT community?
If you talk to some LGBT political groups, they will insist that diversity, tolerance, and acceptance are priority one for them. But what about diversity of thought? Perhaps fear that the donations to the Democratic Party will be compromised. If these groups continue to portray Conservatives as homophobic, they keep their funding sources and coalitions in place. Throwing someone under the bus, who under any other circumstances these groups would consider one of their own, apparently is a small price to pay for donations.
Carl Demaio is one guy. There will be many more like him as key constituencies of the Left discover that the Democrat Party has done nothing but give them empty promises, and has not delivered on the issues they care about.
Carl DeMaio, and others like him, will emerge as new face of the Republican Party.