McCain’s Evangelical Problem

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.

2 thoughts on “McCain’s Evangelical Problem”

  1. “civil libertarians of the classic left”

    What do you mean by “classic left”? Classical liberals?

    “free traders of the left”

    Are there any? As I see it, no one on the Left is for free trade. They are *all* socialists or welfare statists. But maybe I’m wrong.

    Bob Sanders

  2. Yes, that was a little ambiguous. I mean left-leaners who actually care about the Bill of Rights, as opposed to the Marxists. I only said “classic” because young Democrats seem more interested in restricting the Bill of Rights than in defending it. Bill Clinton actually understood the importance of international free trade, and he bucked others in his party on the issue (even though his idea of “free” trade is overly regulated trade).

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