November 21, 2017

The Atlantic frets over Democrats' hold on religious voters

The hypocrisy doesn't help your case.
There's an article in The Atlantic today, explaining why the Democrats need to regain the trust of religious voters.  That's not the real point.  The real point is why they lost that trust in the first place.

The Atlantic, missing the point entirely (and not for the first time):
Democrats ignored broad swaths of religious America in the 2016 election campaign and the nation has suffered because of it. Yet calls for a recommitment to faith outreach—particularly to white and other conservative or moderate religious voters—have been met in some corners of liberal punditry with a response as common as it is unwarranted. Some quarters of the Democratic party would rather maintain rhetorical and ideological purity than win with a more inclusive coalition. For the sake of the country, the party must turn back to people of faith.

We know faith outreach works, because it has worked before. In 2005, after the reelection of a president many Democrats believed was clearly unfit for leadership, a concerted decision was made to close the “God Gap” that the GOP had so effectively exploited. Yes, the Democratic Party was losing among white religious people, but there was also an understanding in the party that its margins among black and Hispanic voters were limited by the perception that the party was antagonistic toward religion. Democrats took back Congress in the 2006 midterms, through a combination of direct engagement, district-based flexibility on policy, and rhetorical adjustments.
That's wrong on so many levels. Firstly the Democratic party is clearly only interested in providing lip service to religious voters. Their actions - from abortion, to prayer in schools, to hard stands on gay marriage  and birth control,  to banning of religious displays, to referring to religious voters in terms of being 'bitter clingers' - speak much louder than anything they might say during election season.  They want the votes of religious voters but they don't want to actually do anything to support their concerns because they are anathema to Democrat dogma. So they entice them with notions of being charitable and supporting the community as being a Christian duty. But not only do they not-so-secretly disdain Christian voters, they are openly hostile to them in political practice.

Even the Atlantic view the connection with those voters as a means to an end - saving the country from conservatives, and in the process, many conservative and often Christian traditional values.  The Atlantic speaks of outreach as having the ability to win back religious voters and they use 2006 as an example.  Even their example is wrong; 2006 was simply an anti-Bush anti-Iraq-war backlash.

The Atlantic article is cynical and hopefully religious voters don't fall for this sort of political sophistry any longer. Then again, the Democratic party seems to be headed towards a hard turning of its's back on religious voters anyway.  The true positions are more and more out in the open thanks to former president Obama.  What likely remains to be seen is if the Democrats can win with a more overtly anti-Christian platform.  Instead they are likely to continue to rely on a combination of identity politics and social safety net handouts hoping that will trump voter religious views when it comes to the ballot box.  The Democrats turned their back on religion decades ago, it's just now that people are finally starting to notice.  Assuming that stark stance remains,  whether it works remains to be seen, but for the sake of having a culture, a national identity and even social norms, let's hope it fails.
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