Friday, December 26, 2014

Sick and Tired of White Freakazoids Getting Their Way? Then Get Your Ass to the Polls

They don't think both parties are the same.  They don't think voting is a waste of time. They know the only way to win is to vote our guys out and their guys in.

And the only way to beat them is to out-vote them.

Let’s start with Sarah’s November 5 piece at Religion Dispatches that contrasts the actual 2014 turnout among white evangelicals in southern states with the estimates made earlier by pollster Robert Jones, who predicted a Christian Right Waterloo thanks to declining numbers.
The proportion of white evangelicals in Kentucky has plunged 11 points, from 43 percent to 32 percent; here Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces the Democratic Alison Grimes, the secretary of state.
But according to last night’s preliminary exit polls, in Kentucky, 52% of electorate were white evangelical or born again Christians. Just 30% of them voted for Grimes, and 68% for McConnell.

So whatever the population numbers, it seems white evangelicals continue to punch well above their weight when it comes to voting.
That’s where today’s Monkey Cage post from Lydia Bean comes in. After observing the grass-roots as well as the elite influences that reinforce Christian right voting behavior, she notes:
Campaigns only remind evangelicals what they have already learned from their religious community: that voting Republican is a natural extension of what it means to be a good Christian. This message is not just reinforced from the top-down during campaign season, by Christian Right interest groups and campaign ads. It is also reinforced from the bottom-up by trusted local leaders who are part of people’s everyday lives.
If we want to increase midterm voting among groups who stayed home, we need to ask who the local opinion leaders might be to reach low-propensity voters. What local settings could play the role of an evangelical small group or Bible study? Where do people learn that voting is expected of them, to be a good member of their network, in a context of personal accountability? And what is the organizational vehicle that will identify and develop these local leaders, who will engage a much larger set of low-propensity voters in year-round base-building? You’ve got to hand it to conservative evangelicals: they really have all of this down.
Instead of endlessly predicting the Christian Right’s imminent demise, progressives should go to school on what motivates conservative evangelicals to become and remain politically engaged. They aren’t just going to fade away.

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