Bill Bunkley is concerned that, by failing to rally his religious-right base, McCain risks leaving them at home on election day. Obama, on the other hand, is actively pursuing evangelical voters, Bunkley notes.
But there is a little problem with Bunkley’s analysis. Obama is pro-choice, while McCain holds “ending abortion” as his ultimate goal. Thus, while Obama, who has openly endorsed the separation of church and state, can court evangelicals without scaring the hell out of everybody else, McCain cannot.
A recent poll asked people whether they believe “Abortion should be legal and solely up to the woman to decide.” The percent in agreement is 35 for evangelicals, 60 for “Mainline Protestants,” and 51 for Catholics.
Meanwhile, Bunkley cites a report from Pew indicating, “White evangelical Protestants… [make] up over one-third of those who identify with the GOP and vote for its candidates.”
In other words, McCain can pander to the religious-right third of his base and (further) alienate the “libertarian” right and most independents, while Obama can court the Christian vote — including the third of evangelicals who support legal abortion — without alienating anybody.
The Republican Party is stuck. It can’t win with the religious right, and perhaps it can’t win without it (especially with candidates who also trash the First Amendment and call for sacrifice to the collective). As I’ve suggested, the only way forward I can see is a new coalition of civil libertarians of the classic left and modern right, free marketeers (of the Austrian and Chicago schools), and free traders of the left. Basically, we need a new liberty coalition.