Beware of Bigotry

Robert Novak reports today that Mitt Romney’s “Religious Test” may be hardest within a segment of the Republican base – Evangelical Christians. Although I don’t know if this is true, for the sake of discussion, I won’t question it. What I will say is that it doesn’t worry me much and this is why.

First, the Republican Party is comprised of three main influence groups - “Pro-growth” Republicans (of which I am one), “Security Republicans”, and “Values” Republicans. Evangelist Christians make up a large proportion of the values voters, but probably represent only about thirty percent of the party. Like African-Americans in the Democrat Party, their influence is diminished by their predictable support, despite what Democrats and Beltway elites like Novak would have you think.

Second, any candidate who performs well in Iowa and New Hampshire will have a running start toward securing the Republican nomination. Republicans in those states are of the “pro-growth” and “security” types, not the “values” voters more prominent in the south and southwest.

Third, what Evangelical leaders say in private eighteen months before the election campaign is very different from what their constituent voters will do when faced with real choices. Evangelical leaders may try now to position themselves against a Mormon candidate for theological reasons, but when faced with announcing their religious biases in public, they may not feel so bold.

Unlike our secular friends on the left who depict Evangelicals as evil incarnate, I tend to view them as people just trying to live honorable lives. But I have little tolerance for bigotry and if they try to use their influence to shut out a candidate on religious grounds, they will feel the wrath of their secular Republican allies like me.

Faced with creating a serious schism in the party (a worse version of the “creationist” silliness), I would be surprised if Evangelicals push an anti-Mormon strategy in a political environment defined by “Hillary for President”. The Book of Mormon may be an anathema to Evangelicals, but Hillary in the White House is simply demonic.

2 comments:

Casey S.

7:01 PM

great analysis. Thanks

Donald

12:38 PM

Very well put, you hit it right on the head.