It’s no secret, these days Democrats are openly waging war on religion, and with good reason. But step back and take a broader look at the the issue. If you do, you’ll find why religion is so important to politics.
In order to win this war, Republicans have to get the truth out to voters. They have to present the message in a way that voters will be receptive. The GOP often struggles in getting their messages across successfully. President Obama is a great orator. And Democrats are masters at smear campaigns.
The Republican Party needs to work past those obstacles to better connect with voters. The dynamics of Obama and the Democrats have changed. Their performance while in power was bleak and their trustworthiness is in question. The GOP now has a golden opportunity to step in. But they need to get it right.
Republicans need more votes. And they need people to care enough to go to the polls.
Democrat’s Deception Makes Them Vulnerable to losing a Large Block of Voters
Voter statistics make it clear why Democrats want to discredit GOP issues. Statistics show that three-quarters of Democratic voters care about religion and at least a third of them are white. The article, “Religion and Race among Democrats and Republicans,” illustrates the point. Author Lisa Wade. Ph.D. shares a report by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. It contains a pie chart that shows at least 57% of Dem voters are Christian, and of those 36% of them are white. Republicans could walk away with a large chunk of these Democratic voters if they win the war on religion. There’s an even bigger reason for Democrats to be concerned. The Republicans seem to be winning!
A 2011 survey for Pew Research Center for the People & Press documents the success. Their stats show Republicans are either on course or growing in every major religious group. It counts groups that are part of the GOP’s voter base and those that have tended to be more in line with Democrats, including Jewish voters. The gains were substantial. For example, in 2008, 65% of white evangelical Protestant voters were Republican and 28% were Democrat. In 2010, it was 69% to 23%, respectively. There was a Republican increase in almost every faith-based sector. (See: How the Faithful Voted: 2012 Preliminary Analysis). They had gains with both those under and over 30.
GOP Gains Momentum as Their Once Shrinking Base Rebounds
Recent voting numbers is a boon for Republicans. Just a few years ago there were real concerns for the GOP. Its voter base was dropping due to demographic change. Alan Abramowitz summed it up in his 2008 article, “The Incredible Shrinking Republican Base.” He explained changes that put the Party at risk.
Abramowitz emphasized that American society is now different. The electorate doesn’t look the same as it did decades ago. He says it’s due to three reasons. There’s increased diversity. A decline in rates of marriage is a major factor. And changes in religious beliefs have caused problems. The bad part is that all of these changes were good for Democrats and bad for Republicans.
Married couples, faith-based voters, and Caucasians have long been the core of the Republican Party. A decline in the number of people committing to traditional marriage is a big problem. The GOP is a Party made up of traditional statesmen whose core values center around the morals and traditions established by the Constitution. It’s hard for them to connect to new trends in faith. And Democrats have fostered their diverse base, which tend to embrace these new ideas. Thus, it’s tough for Republicans to inspire this group to embrace GOP issues.
Yet, the GOP has been able to turn it around. Its voter base is growing fast. As Pew notes, GOP stats have returned almost to their high 2004 numbers.
Part of their new-found growth is because Obama and the Dems dropped the ball. Their performance has been terrible. They’ve lost the trust of most Americans. But a large part of the GOP growth comes from the faith-based sector. This would suggest their war on religion campaign is working.
The GOP still needs to improve on its messages.
GOP Needs to Personalize and Humanize Messages – Voters Need to “Feel” the Issue
When I read the 2012 “We Believe in America Republican Platform,” I get chills up my spine and tears in my eyes. I can see in my mind’s eye the Founding Fathers pouring out their passion. Their fervor in defending our rights jumps off the page. It’s especially strong when they talk about our rights to choose how we practice our faith.
The passion seems lost as our leaders turn to rhetoric. They need to stop accusing and start explaining. If they don’t, they will lose. You can’t win if people don’t vote. Republicans learned it the hard way in 2012.
According to the Census Bureau’s Voting Record, Republicans had poor turnout. Dems were disgusted with their Party, but they still voted. Democrats were able to tell their story and make their voters feel like they were important and needed. Republicans need to learn to be at least as good in uniting our Party.
In January, 2013, Paul Ryan told Reuters the Party needed better messages to improve voter turnout. He was right and their efforts to improve are working.
The 2016 Presidential election is near. They need to grow stronger. Get rid of the rhetoric and talk about messages from the heart. Talk about the GOP platform in a way people understand. Most of all, voters need to feel that they are important and their vote counts.