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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