Faith-Based Voters And The 2014 Midterm Elections: Is The GOP The Religion Party?

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National exit polling from Congressional races tells us some interesting things about the role of religious values in the 2014 midterm elections. It also sends a signal to the Republican Party about its supporters now and in the future.

The most obvious piece of information about religious voters is that a majority of them voted for Republican candidates a few weeks ago. Of voters who identified themselves as Protestants, 61 percent voted Republican and 37 percent Democrat. Catholics voted 54 percent Republican, 45 percent Democrat. Conversely, those who identified their religion as “None” voted 69 percent Democrat and 29 percent Republican.

The correlation between religious faith and voting Republican was even more pronounced among certain subgroups. White Protestants voted 72 percent Republican and 26 percent Democrat; white Catholics voted 60 percent Republican and 38 percent Democrat. White voters who identified themselves as evangelical/born-again Christians made up 26 percent of the electorate and voted 78 percent Republican, 20 percent Democrat. It should be noted that voter turnout was abysmal, about 36 percent. This is the lowest turnout since World War II.

The more often the voter attends church, the more likely the voter is to vote Republican. Voters who attend church weekly broke Republican 58 percent to 40 percent; those who attend occasionally leaned 52 percent to 46 percent Republican. Protestants who attend religious services weekly voted Republican 67 percent and Democrat 31 percent. Catholics who celebrate Mass weekly voted Republican 55 percent and Democrat 43 percent. On the other hand, those who never attend church services voted Democrat by a 62 percent to 36 percent margin. The Democratic Party is the home of those with a secular worldview.

The exit polling asked questions on two moral issues: same-sex marriage and abortion. In response to the question, “Should your state recognize same-sex marriage?” 48 percent of voters said yes and 48 percent said no. Among the yes votes, 67 percent were Democrats and 31 percent were Republicans. The no votes strongly tilted Republican, 72 percent to 27 percent. The exit polling confirmed that Democrat voters are at least twice as likely to have a positive opinion on same-sex marriage.

On abortion, exit polls showed that 52 percent of voters thought abortion should be legal. Of these voters, 65 percent were Democrat and 33 percent Republican. Of those voters who said abortion should be illegal, 73 percent were Republicans and 25 percent were Democrats. These results conform to the stated platform positions of the two major parties.

Among this data, given the clear teachings of the Catholic Church against homosexual conduct and abortion, one wonders why the split in the overall Catholic vote only favors Republicans by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent. One reason is that 2014 voters identified the economy as the most important issue, and that same-sex marriage and abortion played only minor roles in the campaigns. The candidate who tried to make abortion rights a centerpiece of his campaign, Democrat Mark Udall, lost in the Colorado senate campaign to pro-life candidate Cory Gardner. Gardner blunted the “war on women” attack not by speaking out against abortion, but by calling for contraceptives to be available over-the-counter. Gardner’s approach typified an election cycle where Republicans spoke very cautiously about moral issues.

A number of atheists sought political office in 2014; all were Democrats. Daniel Moran lost a race for the Texas House of Representatives, James Woods lost a Congressional race in Arizona, and atheist Juan Mendez won reelection to the Arizona legislature.

In the state of Washington, state senate candidate Mark Miloscia ran as a pro-life Republican after serving as a Democrat state representative for 14 years. Miloscia, a Catholic, was attacked in a Democrat political ad that depicted him wearing a papal mitre, praying the rosary, and taking orders from the Vatican. He won his race by 13 points.

The Democratic Party continues to advocate abortion, same-sex marriage, and secularism. It continues to be the political home of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. As a result, it continues to push religiously faithful voters to the GOP. Two questions face religious voters going forward:

First, will the GOP maintain social as well as fiscal conservatism so as to give religious voters a lasting home? Substantial numbers of Republicans polled in 2014 favored abortion and same-sex marriage, and the eastern establishment of the party deliberately downplays moral issues. Second, can a Republican Party platform reflecting the traditional views of Christian conservatives attract enough young and independent voters to win elections with a higher turnout than the 2014 mid-term?

 

Brad Tupi is an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pa. He has spoken at Grove City College’s 2008 and 2014 Vision and Values Conference on the subject of Religious Freedom and the First Amendment, and has published in the Grove City Journal of Law and Public Policy.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama Announces Immigration Plan, Opponents In Both Parties Cry Foul

Obama - Signing

In a speech the New York Times asserted was defined by “confrontation,” Barack Obama laid out the details of his executive action regarding immigration reform Thursday evening.

In all, his plan would affect at least five million illegals currently living in the U.S. He announced a new program that would qualify the illegal parents of American citizens for deferred deportations while granting them the ability to work freely in this country. These criminals will also receive a Social Security card, reports indicate.

Obama also plans to shield at least one million other illegal immigrants from deportation through his unilateral order.

Leading up to his planned speech, Republican leaders have discussed how best to respond to his expected action. Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, urged GOP legislators to block any nonessential Obama nominee until the program is overturned.

For his part, however, Obama claims what he has presented is completely legal, blaming his political rivals for the necessity of his executive order.

“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful,” he alleged, “they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century.”

He went on to call out those who oppose his position and liberal use of executive orders.

“To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Though Republicans made up the largest united voice of opposition to Obama’s amnesty plan, plenty of Democrats felt it was the wrong move as well.

“I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job,” explained Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly prior to Obama’s speech, “but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.”

Fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin said he expressed a similar position to a group of White House aides Thursday.

“To put it through now is the wrong thing to do,” he said. “I told them I wasn’t comfortable.”

Republicans as a whole offered an even more scathing indictment of his plan. Conservative firebrand Trey Gowdy blasted the action in a statement released Thursday evening. The South Carolina congressman wrote:

“The thread that holds the tapestry of our country together is respect for and adherence to the rule of law.  The law is our greatest unifier and our greatest equalizer.  Attempts to undermine the law via executive fiat, regardless of motivation, are dangerous.  President Obama may seek a fight with Republicans in Congress, but in reality he is fighting with founders of this republic and the carefully crafted separation of powers.

“Whether previous administrations acted outside of constitutional boundaries is not license to do the same.  The President himself recognized his inability to do what he just did – 22 separate times. This action is not only detrimental to any chance in the new Congress for a sustainable, long-term solution on immigration, but also to the bedrock of our system of government— respect for the rule of law.

“When the executive branch acts outside of constitutional boundaries the legislative branch must use all powers afforded it to respond and restore the constitutional equilibrium.  This is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  Rather, it should hasten the resolve of all Americans to make certain her elected officials honor the foundational document they swore to protect and defend.”

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Exposed: The Ridiculousness Of The Kumbaya Temptation

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Nov. 4 was a national vote of no confidence in Barack Obama.

Had a British prime minister received a vote like this, he would have resigned by now.

The one issue on which all Republicans agreed, and all ran, was the rejection of Obama. And by fleeing from him, some even refusing to admit they voted for him, Democrats, too, were conceding that this election was about Obama, and that they were not to blame for his failures.

Yet, though this was a referendum on Obama and his policies, and though both were repudiated, some pundits are claiming that America voted for an “end to gridlock” and a new era of compromise and conciliation.

How so? If the American people were truly saying that, why did they vote to turn the Senate over to Mitch McConnell? Why did they vote to send more Republicans to strengthen the hand of John Boehner and those in the House who had “shut down” the government?

Did America vote for the GOP to go back to Washington and work with Obama? Or did America reward the GOP for promising to return and continue to oppose Obama’s policies?

Is the answer not obvious?

What Republicans are hearing now is the siren song of a Beltway elite that just got its clock cleaned, an elite that revels in Republican defeats, but is ever at hand to give guidance and counsel to Republicans when they win.

And that counsel is always the same: Time to put the acrimony behind us. Time to reach out and take the extended hand of the defeated. Time to come together to end gridlock and move forward. And invariably, this means move in the same old direction, if a bit more slowly.

Consider several areas where the kumbaya temptation is strongest.

The first is the rising clamor from Corporate America for the newly empowered Republicans to grant Obama fast track authority and support his Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Fast track would be a unilateral surrender of Congressional authority, yielding all power to amend trade treaties to Obama, and leaving Congress with a yes or no vote on whatever treaty he brings home.

This would be a Republican ratification of the policies of Bush I and II that produced $10 trillion in trade deficits, hollowed out our manufacturing base, and sent abroad the jobs of millions of Reagan Democrats.

Globalization carpet-bombed Middle America and killed the Nixon-Reagan coalition that used to give the GOP 49-state landslides.

Why would Republicans return to that Bush-Clinton-Obama policy that ended the economic independence of Eisenhower’s America?

The party should re-embrace economic patriotism, stand up to Japanese protectionists and Chinese currency manipulators, and put American workers first, ahead of corporate outsourcers.

Immigration reform is a second area where the GOP is being urged, even by some of its own, to compromise. In return for Obama agreeing to improve border security, Republicans will be asked to go along with amnesty for millions here illegally.

But did any Republican run on amnesty? Is the nation demanding amnesty? If not, then who is?

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Against Obama, But For What?

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After billions in attack ads that turned the approval ratings of almost every candidate, in both parties, upside down, Republicans appear primed to take control of Congress.

Why are Democrats falling like dominoes?

Easy. Theirs is the Party of Government. And government is failing. And their leader Obama projects diffidence and incompetence.

National surveys also show that large majorities believe America is heading in the wrong direction, that our children will not have it as good as we did, and that the United States is in a long-term decline.

Measuring the performance of Obama against the promise, America is voting for another change in leadership and direction.

But where does she wish to go? And whom does she wish to lead her? The country is voting against Obama, but voting for what?

The new majority leader is likely to be Mitch McConnell, who is about as popular as Harry Reid. The Republican Party that will take power is less well-regarded than the Democratic Party losing it.

What America is voting against is easier to discern than what she is voting for. Consider. Who speaks for a victorious GOP today?

The principal foreign policy voices in the new Senate will be Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who is slated to become chairman of foreign relations. All are interventionists; all are hawks.

But are the American people really voting to send arms to Kiev, to confront Russia in Ukraine, and to commit to a forever-war to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria?

Does the country really want a clash with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program?

If so, the GOP should return to Washington and, in the lame-duck session, authorize Obama to take us to war with the Islamic State.

My sense: A victorious GOP would prefer to take a pass on that.

At its core, the Republican Party is socially conservative, a family values party. The party champions right-to-life and opposes same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana.

How many Republicans ran on these issues this fall?

How many will be advancing this social agenda in Congress? How many cultural warriors are left in the GOP, when even the pope is calling for a truce in the culture wars?

Yet if the GOP is no longer united on foreign policy and social issues, surely they are as one on lower taxes and smaller government.

But are they really?

Certainly, even liberals must see from the inversion epidemic — U.S. companies buying up foreign firms to change residence and nationality — that having the highest corporate tax rate is economic suicide.

But is the Republican Party so committed to a balanced budget that Congress will slash spending to match cuts in tax rates and tax revenues?

And, if so, where does the GOP propose cuts?

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and defense are the big budget items. Is the GOP ready to cap or cut these?

Will the GOP go after education, housing, income security, or food stamps, with Obama accusing them of pillaging the programs of the working and middle class while protecting Wall Street and the 1 percent?

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The Coming November Wars

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As it stands today, Republicans will add seats in the House and recapture the Senate on Tuesday.

However, the near-certainty is that those elections will be swiftly eclipsed by issues of war, peace, immigration, and race, all of which will be moved front and center this November.

Consider. If repeated leaks from investigators to reporters covering the Ferguson story are true, there may be no indictment of officer Darren Wilson, the cop who shot Michael Brown.

Should that happen, militant voices are already threatening, “All hell will break loose.” Police in the city and 90-some municipalities in St. Louis County, as well as the state police, are preparing for major violence.

After flying out to Ferguson to declare, “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.” Eric Holder has once again brought his healing touch to the bleeding wound.

Yesterday, Holder said it is “pretty clear” that there is a “need for wholesale change” in the Ferguson police department.

But, Holder notwithstanding, that is not at all “clear.”

Should the grand jury decide that Wilson fired in self-defense in a struggle with Brown over his gun, and fired again when the 6’4″ 300-pound teenager charged him, what would justify a purge of the Ferguson police department or the dismissal of Chief Thomas Jackson?

What exactly have the Ferguson cops done to deserve the remorseless vilification they have received?

Yet, as St. Louis is bitterly divided over this incident and how it has been exploited, so, too, will be the nation, should November 2014 provide a replay of the urban riots of yesteryear.

And the president himself will invite a social explosion if he proceeds with White House plans for an executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens residing in the United States.

Obama is reportedly considering an end to the deportation of an entire class of illegals, perhaps numbering five million, providing them with work permits and putting them on a path to permanent residency.

Such a post-election amnesty would bring a full-throated roar of approval from La Raza and the liberal wing of Obama’s party, but it would evoke an even louder roar of protest from Middle America. And such a presidential usurpation of power would poison Obama’s relations with the new Congress before it was even sworn in.

Undeniably, this would be a decision for which Obama would be remembered by history. But it is not at all clear that he would be well-remembered by his countrymen.

Indeed, among the reasons Obama did not act before the election was that he knew full well that any sweeping amnesty for illegals would sink all of his embattled red-state senators.

The corporate wing of the GOP might welcome the removal of the immigration issue from the national debate. But conservatives and populists will bring it back in the presidential primaries in the new year.

There are also two simmering issues of foreign policy likely to come to a boil and split Congress and country before Christmas.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom