After Iowa: Ralph Reed on the evangelical vote

Ralph Reed opines on what the media doesn’t understand about evangelical voters:

Ralph Reed Laughing All the Way to the Bank

“Consider this: 61% of self-identified evangelicals who attended a caucus Tuesday night in Iowa voted for a candidate who is either Roman Catholic (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum) or Mormon (Mitt Romney, who won the caucuses, besting Santorum by eight votes ).

“Here’s how the evangelical vote broke down: 32% for Santorum, 18% for Ron Paul, 13% each for Romney, Gingrich and Rick Perry, 6% for Michele Bachmann and 1% for Jon Huntsman.

“This suggests a more nuanced and complex portrait of voters of faith. They are often crudely portrayed as voting based solely on identity politics, born suckers for quotes from Scripture or “code words” laced in the speeches of candidates appealing to their spiritual beliefs.

“Evangelical voters, it turns out, are a more sophisticated bunch, judging candidates on a broad continuum of considerations from their personal faith and character to leadership attributes and electability.”

As usual, Reed has a point. But of course, there are a core of issues that do appeal to Christian evangelical voters. Also, I wouldn’t simply dismiss the idea that 32% of the evangelicals, a plurality, favored Santorum. He may be Catholic, but he does speak in terms readily understood by the right wing of American evangelicals; and some Catholics openly question how Catholic Santorum really is.

Perhaps these complex caucus results show only that Evangelicals make their decisions based on hope. Hope that they can find a candidate who will address the greatest number of their concerns in the most sympathetic manner. And furthermore that, because the candidates do mainly stick to “code words” (and other forms of propaganda) voters are always forced to hold their noses and take their best guess.

Source: CNN Religion Blogs

what do you think?

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