There are a lot of things to be said about the anti-gay, anti-equality National Organization for Marriage. It’s disconnected from reality in its empirical assertions, secretive about its donors, a front group for the Catholic and Mormon churches, and unable to draw an actual crowd of living, breathing people.
But there’s one thing you can’t say about the National Organization for Marriage: you can’t say it’s partisan in its activities.
A review of independent expenditures on attack ads against political candidates this election season (source: FEC) reveals that while the National Organization for Marriage has made multiple expenditures for ads going negative against political candidates, it has done so in a way that is substantively and statistically independent. Rather, it spent to influence the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate in California by diminishing support for the pro-equality Tom Campbell, a candidate firmly embedded in the state’s Republican establishment. Most of its spending for pro-candidate advertising this year went to New York congressional Doug Hoffman, who went independent after pro-equality candidate Dierdre Scozzafava gained the upper hand in a race to represent the state’s north country region.
The conceptual division of the world into two warring factions — liberal vs. conservative — and the equation of those factions with two parties — Democrats vs. Republicans — ignores the considerable struggles that split these factions. If you want to know how to split one of these factions, look for the cracks under the labels.