I. The Republican Playbook
From their outrage over companies speaking out against voter suppression to their attacks against the Transgender community, the Republican Party has demonstrated that fighting culture wars is their main priority. This belief that conservatives are the most oppressed group in American society and focus on policy that weakens democracy and codifies bigotry is the result of a party that sees only one way to retain power and party cohesion is to destroy democracy while preying upon the fears of a rapidly changing America. Furthermore, the media in turn does exactly what Republicans wish them to do by amplifying cultural issues and presenting them through Republican talking points. This unites the Republican Party and distorts issues in a way that gains moderate support, such as depicting issues of Transgender rights around a non-existent problem in girls’ sports. Democrats cannot turn away from these cultural issues — and nor should they — but must confront them and politics at large in a way that establishes them as the sensible and responsible party while weakening Republican unity.
II. Use Federal Power
To properly understand the culture wars of today, it is important to take note of a fundamental force in politics over the last two decades: Liberals have had more power in dictating the culture in America while Conservatives have had more power in dictating the government. While businesses and universities have rallied around the importance of diversity, Republicans have taken control of state legislatures around the country. While athletes have become more outspoken and have advocated for progressive ideals, Republicans have controlled the White House for 12 years and at least one house in Congress for 16 years. While the public has moved rapidly in its acceptance of LGBTQ rights and the need to fight Climate Change, Republicans have taken complete control of the federal judiciary. Ultimately, this creates a dynamic where Republicans are angered at American society because despite their power, they are being left behind in society, and then turn to their power to attempt to correct the imbalance. Democrats can correct this imbalance by utilizing their electoral majorities to pass legislation to create a new status quo. Not only would policy that would protect LGBTQ and Voting Rights or implementing gun safety measures be good policy that would improve the lives of millions of Americans, but it would substantively end the debate on some of the current cultural wars. A great example of this is how the Voting Rights Act was consistently renewed right up until it was gutted in Shelby County v Holder or how any new laws to prevent gun violence are unacceptable, but no Republican has made an effort to repeal the Brady Bill. Culture wars are the result of an imbalance between cultural and legislative power, but since Democrats currently have both, they can use it to change the grounds on which we understand culture wars.
III. Help Everyone
There is a reason why Kevin McCarthy was reading Green Eggs and Ham while Democrats were voting to reduce Child Poverty by 50%: reducing Child Poverty and giving most Americans money is very popular while lying about Democrats canceling Dr. Seuss might just lead someone to like Democrats a little less. Republicans are divided by economic issues because although many may have fears of deficits, even those most loyal to Trump are at least interested in how the American Rescue Plan will help them. Democrats must take advantage of the advantage gained from spending on social spending projects by doing them. Passing the American Jobs Act along with more investments in combatting Climate Change, making the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent, and expanding the Affordable Care Act all present opportunities to make people’s lives and the economy better. Like most of the Democrats' social agenda, good policy should be done because it is good policy, but these issues also present the biggest opportunity to gain an electoral advantage for 2022, 2024, and the years to come. Making the lives of the American people better, and utilizing media strategies to ensure that the American people know that it was Democratic action that did it, trivializes culture wars, and is therefore instrumental in fighting them.