Can Democrats Improve Among White Evangelicals?

Florida’s Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Chris King, is a self-described progressive evangelical. This got me thinking about the voter dynamics of this group. And as the linked article points out, Democrats are hoping to improve their vote share, given that white evangelicals make up about a quarter of the electorate. However, this is a difficult demographic for Democrats. In thefour elections since 2004, Democrats have won 21%, 24%, 21% & 16%.

Although it’s difficult to imagine the Democrats winning a majority of this demographic in the foreseeable future, as recently as 2008 they did 8% better than in 2016- enough difference that if Hillary Clinton had 2008 Obama numbers that she would be President. And don’t forget that Jimmy Carter was the original political evangelical. How can the Democrats pull that off again? Hillary’s faith adviser Matthew Bennett criticized her for not doing a good outreach job. Should Hillary have talked more about her Methodist faith?

Lastly, how might the white evangelical Democrat voters differ from Republican voters? The obvious example would be gender- I couldn’t find any hard stats on this, but it seems clear that women would be less likely to vote for the Republicans, especially in the era of Trump and #MeToo. This recent New York Times article describes Beto O’Rourke’s outreach to evangelical women.

“How Would Jesus Vote?”

I kind of like that as a campaign slogan.

How far do they have to go in appealing to evangelicals do they have to go before they stop really being what we think of as Democrats and become DINO’s?

They could probably get much further by coming off as less anti straight white male, but that’s a discussion for another day.

I have no idea if we can appeal to them. Aren’t white evangelicals voting based on identity politics and resistance to multiculturalism? If so, what can the democrats offer them?

On an unrelated note, in 2016 white men w/o a college education voted 71-23 for Trump, making them as partisan as evangelicals. They made up 16% of the electorate. White women w/o a college degree weren’t as partisan, but were still 61-34 for Trump @ 17% of voters.

The gender gap in modern politics is roughly 20 points, and holds across education and race. The education gap (among whites) is about 30-40 points.

So how much overlap is there between white evangelicals and whites w/o a college education? The education gap exploded from 2012 to 2016, going from about 11 points to around 35. I’m assuming this is the bulk of why Hillary got fewer evangelical votes in 2016 than Obama did in 2012. So maybe they are 2 separate groups.

Democrats are already more in line with Christian beliefs on the issues. The difficulty is that most white evangelicals aren’t voting on the issues. They’re tribal voters, and they’ve identified Republicans as their tribe. There’s not really any way to make headway on tribal voters.

I’m a straight white male. Straight white men are getting some criticism for endorsing neo-fascism, but that is justified criticism. When I hear people criticize white men I just think ‘yeah, we kind of deserve that’. Not all are bad, but this particular demographic is causing some serious problems in their efforts to hold onto power and privilege.

Straight white men aren’t under attack. Some of them are not responding well to losing their status and privilege though, and it feels like they are under attack.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, Equality feels like oppression. And in order to hold onto their sense of privilege, it seems a big chunk of white men are endorsing some really destructive beliefs and policies that are harmful to the nation and world as a whole. And they deserve to be criticized when they do, but only the ones who do it. Just as not all muslims are bad, not all straight white men are bad. But pretending islam and terrorism aren’t connected is dishonest, just like pretending straight white men and neo-fascism aren’t connected is dishonest.

Democrats don’t need, and should not court White Evangelical voters. (Or any old Evangelicals.) Democrats should reach out to those who don’t vote and inform them of why they should.

If we can appeal to white evangelicals without giving up our values, we should. The problem is can we. Aren’t most white evangelicals motivated by authoritarianism and tribalism (nativism, christian dominionism, white nationalism, patriarchy, etc)? If so, what can the democrats offer them w/o abandoning our own values? If the democrats are the party of egalitarianism and the white evangelicals are the party of tribalism, then they aren’t going to get along.

If possible, democrats should try to figure out how to go back to losing whites w/o a college education by only 20-30 points. If we can get back to that, and down from the 40 point margin we lose them now, that’ll turn quite a few races. I assume/hope we can win that demographic without abandoning our values.

But I agree, we should be reaching out to disaffected voters. But also we should be making it as easy (and mandatory if possible) to vote as we can. Absentee ballots for everyone, election day a national holiday, rewards for voting, automatic registration, etc.

I don’t disagree to some extent, but isn’t abortion a single-issue determinant for a significant number of Christians?

As long as Evangelicals think that gay people are sinners, or that marijuana is the scourge of the earth then Democrats do not need them on board. Go for the people who don’t vote, instead. Don’t try and attract those whose fundamental beliefs aren’t in alignment. That’s what I was getting at.

You’re reading a lot into what I’m saying. We are not really in disagreement; elections are about what people feel. If Democrats want to attract more voters in this demographic then they could do things that make white men feel more comfortable - but in doing so you could still end up with a DINO situation.

I’m a straight white male and I feel completely comfortable voting for Democrats. I can think of literally nothing that shows that Democrats are anti-white male. You said that Democrats come off as anti-straight white male – it’s hard to read that any other way.
Do you have any examples? And, I’m hoping for examples from actual Democrats (either running or elected), not nutballs on the web.

As for Evangelicals, as long as the greatest commandment is “thou shalt be anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage”, I don’t think the Democrats are going to make much headway. In most bibles I’ve looked at, there seemed to be another greatest commandment, but I must be reading it wrong.

This recent example comes to mind.

Hirono(D-HI) makes comments about men needing to shut up and do the right thing for a change.

Her statements were addressing men in general, but when played in certain media the context was geared toward white men.

There is more that can be said on this I suppose, but it would be a little tangential to the subject of the OP.

But there are multiple tribes that one can feel a member of, and one of them is the *true *Christians, not the Leviticus ones. You fight their ignorance. You appeal to people who want to be good Christians but may not know they aren’t by starting with Christ’s actual teachings, showing them you know Scripture too and there’s more to it than what they’ve been told, that Christ’s message is of love and humility and helping each other instead of bashing the gays etc., and that there are candidates and a party that do more to try to enact it than the one whose lies and hatreds they may have been embracing.

It’s not so easy to get the message to them if they only watch Fox, granted. But you can’t get every vote.

Funny, you both came back with the same example.

First of all, as you mention, she’s talking about all men, not just white men. So, it’s not anti-white men anyway. So, that’s a fail. Second of all, it’s not anti-men at all – she’s asking us to check our behavior, think about what we say and do, especially towards women. I don’t see that as anti-men at all. There really is such a thing as male privilege (please don’t make this a hijack) and she’s asking us to just be more aware of it.

Men have a long history of behaving pretty badly towards women. Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein – the list goes on and on. She shouldn’t lump all of us together with harassers and rapists, and I don’t think she did. To me, it seemed like she was asking us to think before we act, think before we say things.

I still don’t feel in any way threatened by the Democratic party.

I think we are each approaching the OP a little differently. You are taking one view of the situation and you have an interpretation that you do not find offensive. The question in the OP is not about you unless you are an evangelical that the Democrats are trying to win over.

You seem to be approaching the discussion in such a way that assumes I fully believe that the Democrats are anti white male. To state things more clearly, my belief is that the voting block mentioned in the OP would view this as anti white male. The media that this block consumes would/has spun it as such. My belief is that the same sentiments could be said in a different way with a different tone that would be something the voting block in question would be more comfortable with, and that would be a better strategy to getting those votes. This does not mean, however, that I think they should try to cater to this group.

Eh, I knew an evangelical( Born Again )who considered gays sinners but absolutely no more so than himself for different reasons and had gay friends. He also believed in evolution, didn’t use drugs but also didn’t consider them the scourge of the earth and was a loosely pro-welfare state “moderate” who voted Democrat more often than not ;). His faith was mostly based on thought-out theology, not culture. There are exceptions to every rule.

But I’ll grant he was unusual in this.

The answer to the OP is no, they cannot, and they should not bother trying.

“I’d vote for Democrats if it wasn’t for abortion.” - half of my childhood congregation