Evangelical Democrats

Michael Dougherty responds to Ross:

For years progressives have dreamed of getting Evangelicals to connect with anti-poverty and environmental programs. Obama may be the one to do it. As Ross says, he is just better than McCain at framing his progressive policies as part of a moral mission. McCain would be foolish to counter this by using the Rev. Wright card. Many religious conservatives know what it is like to have a pastor called out as an “extremist” and they recognize this as a technique of their liberal enemies.

But I would caution my progressive friends from thinking they can capture these voters for the long-term.

White evangelicals may be for Democrats what Hispanics are for Republicans. Each party has certain policy commitments that make winning a majority among these groups almost impossible. There is no wedge issue that is big enough to divide white evangelicals from economic conservatives anti-poverty programs won’t do it. Likewise Republicans have been unable to use abortion or family-issues to separate Hispanics from the party that seems a natural fit for recent immigrants.