The Democratic Party’s Disconnect with Religious Voters

In 2012, Michael Wear ended his association with the White House after having worked on both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in outreach to religious voters, especially evangelical Christians. He departed in response to a decision to withdraw an invitation previously extended to Pastor Louie Giglio to give the benediction at the upcoming inauguration on account of Giglio’s belief that homosexuality is sinful. To Wear, this episode typifies the Democrats’ inability to connect with the devout, a problem he discusses in conversation with Emma Green:

[T]here’s a religious illiteracy problem in the Democratic party. It’s tied to the demographics of the country: more twenty- and thirty-year-olds are taking positions of power in the party. They grew up in parts of the country where navigating religion was not important socially and not important to their political careers. . . .

America is still a profoundly religious nation. There are reports that high-level Democratic leadership was not interested in reaching out to white Catholics. And they sure didn’t have a lot of interest in white evangelicals. That’s a huge portion of the electorate to throw out. So if the civic motivation doesn’t get you, let me make the practical argument: it doesn’t help you win elections if you’re openly disdainful toward the driving force in many Americans’ lives. . . .

The Democratic party used to welcome people who didn’t support abortion. [It is] now so far from [that attitude], it’s insane. This debate, for both sides, is not just about the abortion rate; it’s not just about the legality of it. It’s a symbolic debate. It’s symbolic on the pro-choice side about the autonomy of women and their freedom to do what they want with their bodies. On the pro-life side, they care not just about the regulations around abortion, but whether there’s a cultural affirmation of life.

[But] even the symbolic olive branches [from the Democratic establishment to pro-life voters] have become less acceptable.

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More about: Abortion, Barack Obama, Democrats, Evangelical Christianity, Religion & Holidays, Religion and politics, U.S. Politics

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics