Last Tuesday’s mid-term elections, as everyone knows, resulted in the Republican Party taking decisive control of the U.S. Senate.
There is not just one reason for this shift in political power. Nevertheless, a major factor has been the relentless six-year campaign against President Obama by religious conservatives.
From the day of his inauguration in 2009 the President (and the Democratic Party) has been the target of unending criticism and unceasing attacks by the Christian Right, which overwhelmingly supports the Republican Party.
One of the most active organizations on the Christian Right is the Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC), of which I have written previously; e.g., here and here.
In a Nov. 5 article on their blog, the FFC announced, “Evangelical Vote Played Decisive Role in GOP Wave in 2014 According to Post-Election Survey.”
Their second headline gloated, “Self-Identified Conservative Christians Comprised Record Share of the Electorate, Backed GOP Candidates by 8 to 1 Margin.”
The FFC was gloating because they had worked so hard for a Republican victory. Ralph Reed, Chairman of the FFC, reported that the Coalition “distributed over 20 million voter guides in over 117,000 churches nationwide” prior to the Nov. election.”
They also “made over 10 million ‘get out to vote’ phone calls, knocked on 400,000 doors, mailed over 6 million voter guides, and emailed or texted over 4.6 million additional voters.”
My good friend Charlie Broomfield recently completed a Master’s degree at UMKC, writing his dissertation on the Christian Right and its political power.
Over the last few months, I have said that I thought the Christian Right was losing power and that they weren’t going to have as much political clout this year as in the past few elections.
Charlie disagreed with me—and it turned out that he was right, about this election, at least.
One of the most disheartening results of last week’s election was Thom Tillis’s election as the new U.S. Senator from North Carolina.
According to data supplied by Sarah Posner, 40% of voters in that state identified as white evangelical or born again—and 78% of them voted for Tillis. Only 16% of them voted for incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan.
Mark Sandlin is a progressive Christian whose articles are posted on Patheos.com from time to time. His Nov. 5 article was titled, “A Minister From Thom Tillis’ State Tells Us What To Expect After The Election Results.”
Sandlin avers, “With the GOP taking over all of Congress, particularly with Tea Party lackeys like Tillis among the crowd, we will see legislative moves that aid the ever-growing separation of classes, which is defined by the continued shrinking of the middle class.”
He continues, “Corporations will continue to have more rights than people and those rights will trump the rights of individuals. Woman can expect to have more of their rights (particularly reproductive rights) challenged.”
But Tillis, partly, or maybe mainly, because of his outspoken anti-abortion stance was one of the three candidates for the Senate most strongly supported by the FFC.
The other senatorial candidates most ardently supported by the FFC were Joni Ernst in Iowa and Cory Gardner in Colorado, who both, like Tillis, are adamantly against abortion and same-sex marriage.
They, like Tillis and most of the other new Republican senators, also have said they are for repealing “Obamacare.”
Yes, last Tuesday was a victory for the Christian Right. But it was a sad loss for a sizable majority of the citizens of this country, many of whom, regrettably, didn’t even bother to vote.