Party Poodles: Blacks and Evangelicals

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John McWhorter voted for Kerry (which is good evidence that calling him a black conservative is at best inaccurate), but he's urging black voters not to stay monolithic in their exclusive loyalty to Democrats. One thing I really appreciate about McWhorter is his willingness to say what he likes about Bush while disagreeing with him on important issues. He does the same about Republicans in general, and he thinks Republicans favor policies at some times and with some issues that should lead black voters to vote for them now and then. He's insisting that the black voice will not be heard by Democrats if they can rely on the black vote every time without doing anything to earn it, and even liberal black leaders like Al Sharpton repeatedly make the point that Democrats don't have black concerns at heart most of the time.

As a result, black voters are merely the mascot of the Democratic party, as evangelicals have been with Republicans, though if you believe the pundits that might change. One reason why it might be changing is that evangelicals who are hardline conservatives threatened to bolt if Bush went too soft of gay marriage, and many of them did anyway. McWhorter is saying that black voters need to consider Republicans and then vote for them when they have good things to offer, regardless of the racist past of the Republican party (not that the Southern Democrats are any better). I think he's right. The only way black voters' concerns will be listened to and acted on is if their vote is at stake. If black voters were swing voters, as all the other minority groups are, then parties would have to give the dominant mindset of black voters a place at the table.

The same might be true of evangelicals. The issues many evangelicals care about that more moderate Republicans have avoided have now come front and center for the Republican leadership, but there's a catch. If the Republican leadership continues to ignore the biblical concerns for things that conservative Republicans tend not to care about, then many evangelicals will still feel ignored within the Republican hierarchy. Some evangelicals care more about gay marriage and abortion than caring for the world God has given to any government to steward, both in terms of the environment or in terms of the people. Many don't see a hierarchy and want someone who will value all their principles. Since that's harder to come by, picking and choosing will always go by what seems more important at the moment, and gay marriage judicial and mayoral activism and the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies on a court favoring abortion 5-4 have decided the vote this time around. That may not be so next time.


I think you are right that evangelicals should vote for Republicans only if their ideals are represented. Everyone should vote that way, actually, and yet people are so concerned with party loyalty that they forget that being stubborn will only make things worse.

You said: If the Republican leadership continues to ignore the biblical concerns for things that conservative Republicans tend not to care about, then many evangelicals will still feel ignored within the Republican hierarchy.
Should Republicans violate the sensible rules of the separation of church and state to make evangelicals happy? I don't think so. And if evangelicals do become unhappy with the Republican party for respecting church/state laws, who will they vote for then? I'm sure evangelicals vote for reasons other than religion, no?

We have some sensible rules of separation of church and state? I didn't know we had any rules other than that the government isn't allowed to prohibit free expression of religion or set up an official state religion.

I wasn't talking about evangelicals becoming unhappy because Republicans are too liberal for them. The ones who think that way have already left the Republican Party and joined the Constitution Party. Evangelicals in the Republican Party are not reconstructionist theonomists. They just vote for people who share their ideals, as you said everyone should.

I was talking about evangelicals bolting leftward if Republicans don't honor the principles evangelicals hold dear such as taking care of the earth God has given us and seeking the most just policies about the poor or about historically and proportionally underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. People disagree on what the best policies in those areas are (and I happen to think Republicans do better on many of these issues), but some Republicans are just tone deaf to those issues (not that I think Democrats all have their hearts in the right place, but some Republican don't even pretend).

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