Author: How Social Issues Impact the Economy

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The top concerns in this election year have been the economy, jobs, and government spending. But one top Republican economic expert says his party has the advantage on other issues, too.

The saying goes in politics that Americans vote their pocketbooks and in most elections, that's the case.

In his new book, The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism, Jeffrey Bell, a former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, says social issues sometimes come to the forefront as well.

He says those issues favor Republicans.

For instance, in 1988, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush defeated Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis on discussions of the pledge of allegiance, prison furloughs, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

**Author and political activist Jeffery Bell appeared on "The 700 Club," Mar. 7.  Watch the interview.

Then in 2004, voters said "moral values" was their top concern. Among those voters, 80 percent picked George W. Bush as the next president of the United States.

Only 18 percent voted for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., giving Bush a major advantage in what was considered an otherwise close election.

Despite the many predictions of its demise, social conservatism has gained and held popular strength in the U. S. since the 1960s.

Even though media elites often say social conservatism hurts Republicans, Bell said the record proves otherwise.

Bell, a former president of the Manhattan Institute, ran for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey in 1978 and 1982. He served as an aide to President Reagan and Richard Nixon and to Rep. Jack Kemp of New York. A visiting scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, he presently serves on the board of directors of the American Conservative Union and the Campaign Finance Institute at George Washington University.

--Originally aired on March 7, 2012.

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