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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Will evangelicals turn the 2012 election?

By Darren Dochuk
Guest Blogger

About this blog: The impact of evangelicals in American politics is undeniable. Their greatest victory came with Ronald Reagan’s rise to the White House. Before that, they were instrumental in Barry Goldwater’s successes. In “From Bible to Sun Belt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism,” recently released by Norton, Darren Dochuk describes the evangelicals’ grassroots efforts that ultimately realigned American politics. Here, Dochuk, a professor at Purdue University and a former Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University, ponders the evangelicals’ role in the coming presidential election of 2012.

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In 1978, after rising to new heights of cultural influence during the 1970s, the nation’s evangelical conservatives mustered their resources for a run at Washington. We know the rest of the story: aided by Jimmy Carter’s misfortunes and inspired by Ronald Reagan’s vision, evangelicals and their candidate secured a landslide win.

When viewed from the present, Reagan’s 1980 triumph seems almost inevitable; considering the crises that beset his White House, Carter hardly stood a chance.

Yet when evangelicals imagined the political future before them in 1978, they lacked such assurance. Neither a Republican nor a Reagan win seemed predestined, and victory over Carter’s liberalism still registered as a daunting task. Fearful of failure, evangelicals attacked the year’s mid-terms with urgency, and then spent the next 24 months mounting a revolution.

What is intriguing from our vantage point today (having witnessed a mid-term season similar in tone to 1978’s) is the way evangelicals orchestrated this revolt. When looking for inspiration 32 years ago, they turned to California. There, since 1966, evangelicals had worked earnestly for Reagan’s “creative conservatism,” a creed that blended economic with cultural concerns, anti-government populism with responsible leadership.

In 1978, they acted on this conviction in two separate fights, one centering on fiscal matters, the other social. First, they rallied behind Howard Jarvis’ Proposition 13 campaign to limit property taxes. In the wake of its passage, one ebullient preacher called the initiative “the first Tea Party” since colonial times. Tea Party verve carried over into the fall, when church folk championed the Briggs Amendment (Proposition 6), which sought to outlaw gay teachers in public schools.

Unlike Proposition 13, Proposition 6 failed, but the momentum of both crusades inspired evangelical politicking nationwide, and helped the GOP chip away at Democratic majorities in Congress and elect future Republican stars like Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney.

A strategic shift came next. In the 18 months leading up to the 1980 election, evangelicals continued to speak the language of backlash up front while sorting out their ideas behind. Even as firebrand preachers like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell led their flock in public displays of patriotism (epitomized by the Washington for Jesus rally of April, 1980) and a rhetoric of condemnation (targeting Muslims abroad, gays and feminists at home, and a brainy Democratic president they thought un-Christian), evangelical powerbrokers helped party brass forge a comprehensive platform of supply-side economics and family values — pillars of creative conservatism.

The final piece of the puzzle was Reagan, whose longstanding ties with California evangelicals now put him in good stead. Willing to entertain fundamentalist preachers’ shrill speechifying without openly validating it, and always willing to work with moderate evangelicals who sought the conservative middle, Reagan proved to be the perfect match. Evangelicals henceforth heeded his commands for a responsible conservatism and channeled their anti-government angst into a politics geared for governance.

The question today is whether evangelical conservatives can follow this formula again. In the past 12 months we’ve seen hints of a 1978-revolt reborn: the “anti-” discourse of Tea Partyism, spoken in evangelical lingo, has generated patriotic rallies in Washington, outspokenness against Muslims, demands for less government and taxes and more suppression of gay rights, and censure of a beleaguered first-term Democratic president with Carter-like tendencies.

What seems missing — what remains the evangelical Right’s greatest challenge in the lead-up to 2012 — is the “pro-” side of creative conservatism, the centrist potentials that made Reagan’s coalition successful. Much has changed since 1978, making such qualities more difficult to find; perhaps the proliferation of cable news, reality television, and the blogosphere means polarization is here to stay.

But presidential (if not mid-term) elections are won by capturing the middle, and if evangelical conservatives want to be the victors in 2012, they are going to have to find a philosophy and a leader that can take them there. If they do, 2012 might be 1980 all over again.

By Darren Dochuk  | January 6, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Guest Blogger  
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Comments

So, who is to get excited about this. Gnenerally the evangelical agenda is vidicitive, and hardly represents the human core values of love and peace of Jesus Christ. The Evangelical movement as a rule tends to divide and conquer for a very narrowly focused agenda to win a point or two in the cultural war, and does little to advance understanding and the goodness of human values in the world increasingly dividided by "isms" I consider myself evangelical, but I cannot find it in my heart to support any of the evangelical agenda. God Help us if they do in 2012.

Posted by: dgnunruh | January 6, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

ACCORDING TO RELIGIOUS LAWS AND CUSTOMS, WOMEN CAN'T SIT AS JUDGES,ie SCOTUS 3 OF 9 ARE, THOSE RELIGIOUS FOREIGN LAWS ARE INQUISITIONAL AND JIM CROW LIKE IN ENFORCEMENT.

I DO NOT CONSENT AND WAIVE THE BENEFITS TO ALL IMF IRS 501 (c)(3) LLC- RELIGIOUS CORP. LAWS.
AS A US CITIZEN ,I AM ALWAYS *AMICUS CURIAE *A FRIEND OF THE COURT 264F.276,279,, 64N.Y.S.2d510,512, AND AS WELL AS *QUI TAM* 21N.W.2d287,289

RELIGIOUS (LEVITICAL/SHARIA ) FOREIGN LAWS ARE INQUISITIONAL , INEQUALITY NON-CIVILITY (NO CIVIL/BILL RIGHTS , ARCHAIC BARBARIC PRIMITIVE INJUSTICE AND JIM CROW LIKE IN ENFORCEMENT.
THE US CONSTITUTION IS THE ONE AND ONLY SUPREME LAW OF THE USA ART.6 CL.2, AND IN CL.3
THE RIGHTS OF USA CITIZENSHIP TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER ALL RELIGIOUS MEMBERSHIPS LAWS

GOOGLE/WIKIPEDIA SCOTUS LAW DOCTRINES OF :CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER/ FIGHTING WORDS
THE US CITIZEN'S OATH OF ALLIGENCE IS TO THE US CONSTITUTION, NOT INHUMANE RELIGION LAWS
8 C.F.R. Part 337 (2008)) THIS LAW SHOULD BE MOVED INTO THE NATIONAL SECURITY ACT ITSELF ASAP ,AND REMEMBER PEOPLE RISK LIFE AND LIMB TO GET HERE FOR HUMANE CIVILITY RIGHTS

FOREIGN RELIGIOUS COUNTRIES AND THEIR INHUMANE LAWS/CUSTOMS, REJECTS THE US CONSTITUTION, SO WHY SHOULD WE BEND TO THEIR ARCHAIC INHUMANE DEATH CUSTOMS AND LAWS, SUCH A SHARIA LAW WOULD PRESENT A " CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER " TO US CITIZEN AND ALLOW WARS IN THE STREETS AS IN OTHER COUNTRIES, IT'S NOT ABOUT PEACE, IT'S ABOUT BODIES IN PIECES. AS KISSINGER SAID "...DON'T COMPROMISE SECURITY FOR THE SAKE OF RELATIONS ..."

Posted by: shaiarra | January 6, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

ACCORDING TO RELIGIOUS LAWS AND CUSTOMS, WOMEN CAN'T SIT AS JUDGES,ie SCOTUS 3 OF 9 ARE, THOSE RELIGIOUS FOREIGN LAWS ARE INQUISITIONAL AND JIM CROW LIKE IN ENFORCEMENT.

I DO NOT CONSENT AND WAIVE THE BENEFITS TO ALL IMF IRS 501 (c)(3) LLC- RELIGIOUS CORP. LAWS.
AS A US CITIZEN ,I AM ALWAYS *AMICUS CURIAE *A FRIEND OF THE COURT 264F.276,279,, 64N.Y.S.2d510,512, AND AS WELL AS *QUI TAM* 21N.W.2d287,289

RELIGIOUS (LEVITICAL/SHARIA ) FOREIGN LAWS ARE INQUISITIONAL , INEQUALITY NON-CIVILITY (NO CIVIL/BILL RIGHTS , ARCHAIC BARBARIC PRIMITIVE INJUSTICE AND JIM CROW LIKE IN ENFORCEMENT.
THE US CONSTITUTION IS THE ONE AND ONLY SUPREME LAW OF THE USA ART.6 CL.2, AND IN CL.3
THE RIGHTS OF USA CITIZENSHIP TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER ALL RELIGIOUS MEMBERSHIPS LAWS

GOOGLE/WIKIPEDIA SCOTUS LAW DOCTRINES OF :CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER/ FIGHTING WORDS
THE US CITIZEN'S OATH OF ALLIGENCE IS TO THE US CONSTITUTION, NOT INHUMANE RELIGION LAWS
8 C.F.R. Part 337 (2008)) THIS LAW SHOULD BE MOVED INTO THE NATIONAL SECURITY ACT ITSELF ASAP ,AND REMEMBER PEOPLE RISK LIFE AND LIMB TO GET HERE FOR HUMANE CIVILITY RIGHTS

FOREIGN RELIGIOUS COUNTRIES AND THEIR INHUMANE LAWS/CUSTOMS, REJECTS THE US CONSTITUTION, SO WHY SHOULD WE BEND TO THEIR ARCHAIC INHUMANE DEATH CUSTOMS AND LAWS, SUCH A SHARIA LAW WOULD PRESENT A " CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER " TO US CITIZEN AND ALLOW WARS IN THE STREETS AS IN OTHER COUNTRIES, IT'S NOT ABOUT PEACE, IT'S ABOUT BODIES IN PIECES. AS KISSINGER SAID "...DON'T COMPROMISE SECURITY FOR THE SAKE OF RELATIONS ..."

Posted by: shaiarra | January 6, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

THE INHUMANE RELIGIOUS THREATS OF "INFIDEL" AND "FATWA" ARE NOT FREEDOM OF RELIGION NOR NOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, THEY ARE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER/ FIGHTING WORDS,
WORLD HISTORY OF PAST/ PRESENT SHOWS THAT INHUMANE RELIGIOUS LAWS ARE OPPRESSIVE, VINDICTIVE, BRAINWASHING AWAY FROM A MIND OF REASON AND RATIONAL THINKING, IT ENDORCES INHUMANE SLAVERY, IGNORANCE, AND UNPROVEN FAITH DELUTIONS OVER PROVEN FACTS/ TRUTH

THE DEIST AND AGNOSTICS FOUNDED THE USA, REMEMBER THEY WERE FLEEING THE RELIGIOUS SUPERSTITIOUS AND DEADLY DARK AGES, THAT'S ALL RELIGION CAN BRING ie THEIR INHUMAN DEATH LAWS, AND UNJUST NON-CIVILITY TREATMENT OF THE "SHEEP/CATTLE/GOYEM/GOLEMS" ie HUMAN BEINGS, THE DIEST IN FRANCE THEN, AND SO ON, STARTED THE FREE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, MUCH TO THE CHURCH OBJECTIONS, AS ALWAYS TO HUMANE CIVILITY PROGRESS

AS THE THREE PILLARS OF THE LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCE SPREAD, THE RELIGIOUS CONTROL OVER OTHERS via SUPERSTITIONS STARTED TO BE QUESTIONED AND PUT TO THE TEST, OF WHICH IT FAILED MISURABLY. ENGLAND VANDISHED THE DARK AGES (OVER BEARING AND INHUMANE INQUISITIONAL DEATH LAWS THAT STOPPED PROGRESS)

THE DEIST GAVE AT THAT TIME, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FOR ANGLO MALES FROM DARK AGE ENGLAND, ( ENGLAND VANDISHED THE DARK AGES OF RELIGION ) THAT MODEL OF THE BILL/CIVIL RIGHTS WHERE THEN AS LADY LIBERTY GREW IN HER TEENS TO BIRTH BOTH TWINS ie THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY AND THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN FROM BEING MARRIAGE CONTRACT PROPERTY TRANSFER.

AS LIBERTY GREW MORE THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS FOR MINORITIES AND NOT JUST FOR BLACKS ONLY, AND NOW LIBERTY IS CROWNING WITH SAME SEX INCLUSION AS US CITIZENS TO HAVE THE FULL IMMUNITIES AND PRIVELEGES AS ALL OTHER US CITIZENS IN THE SEVERAL STATES, SO KEEP GROWING LIBERTY (THE AGE OF REASON ie LIBERAL ARTS & SCIENCE)

Posted by: shaiarra | January 6, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

IT IS THE DEIST/AGNOSTICS THAT PROGRESSES HUMAN KIND TOWARD MORE HUMANE CIVILITY ,NOT RELIGION.THE ENLIGHTED DEIST/ AGNOSTICS /ATHEIST ARE THE ONES THAT PROGRESSES HUMAN KIND, INTO THE "AGE AND LIGHT OF REASON" , AND NOT THE DARK AGES OF RELIGION AND IGNORANT SUPERSTITIONS WITH IT'S INHUMANE DEATH LAWS AND UNJUST BIASED INQUISITIONS.
THE WE ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE LEVIES FAIL


THE DEIST NWO AKA THE AGE OF LIGHT AND REASON, WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THIS AGE, EVEN THE RELIGIOUS DARK AGE MINDED EXTREMIST, THEY US THE "EVIL SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY" ALSO,
BROUGHT TO US BY THE DEIST /AGNOSTICS /ATHEIST ALONE, SCIENTIFIC METHODS OF ANALYSIS etc.
A VAST AMOUNT OF RELIGIOUS SUPERSTITIONS HAVE BEEN DISPROVEN BY THE DEIST AGE OF REASON, AND IT'S THIS ENLIGHTENMENT THAT IS REMOVING THE INJUSTICES THE WORLD OVER.


THE DEIST FEDERALIST PAPERS SHOWS THE NEED FOR THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND AMENDMENTS ,NOT ONLY TO PROTECT THE US CITIZENS FROM AN OVER BARING AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT, BUT THE MUCH OVER LOOKED, THAT IS TO ALSO PROTECT THE US CITIZEN FROM THE BRAINWASHED RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM THAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS FLED EUROPE FROM, ie " NO RELIGIOUS TEST SHALL EVER BE GIVEN", RELIGION CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO TAINT THE PUBLIC LEADERS MINDS.


THE MINDS OF THE PUBLIC LEADERS ARE TO REFLECT THE AGE OF REASON, RATIONAL THINKING, A THINK TANK IN IT'S SELF ,OF THE 3 PILLARS OF THE LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES OF WHICH THE US CONSTITUTION MAKE PROVISIONS FOR, RELIGIOUS DARK AGE MIND SET INHIBITS THIS PROGRESSION
AS WE ALL KNOW, THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD AND TECHNOLOGY IS VITAL TO THE USA SECURITY & $$$


Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, known as the Copyright Clause, the Copyright and Patent Clause (or Patent and Copyright Clause), the Intellectual Property Clause and the Progress Clause, empowers the United States Congress:
“ To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Posted by: shaiarra | January 6, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Does any one take this bone headed jerk seriously? He is the same idiot who supported Apartheid in South Africa, the same idiot who said the earth quake in Haiti was caused by God who condemned the Haitians for freeing themselves from slavery to the French.

Apparently, Pat Robertson believes staying in slavery is a great deal.

What a jack ass!

Posted by: gthornton2 | January 7, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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