The Religious Right's 2012 Ground Game
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 10:26:32 PM EST
The Christian Right's electoral ground game was one of the defining elements of American politics in the 90s. Many veterans of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition continue to be active in politics, including the founding executive director, Ralph Reed.  Indeed, Reed's new organization, the Faith & Freedom Coalition is, in many respects, picking-up where the Coalition left off.  This has been written about by Adele Stan at AlterNet and recently by The New York Times.  

But there is more

I have put more of the pieces together in a new essay in The Public Eye magazine.  Excerpts, sans numbered end notes) below.

His nonpartisan image notwithstanding, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the Sacramento, CA-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference who has been popular in some liberal and Democratic Party circles, emerged in July 2012 as a key "Hispanic outreach" adviser for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.  And an examination of his record suggests he had something to offer.

David Brody of CBN reported that Romney had been "regularly meeting" with Rodriguez (in addition to a larger group of some 70 top Christian Right leaders) since he clinched the nomination. Brody also reported that as a result, the candidate had "made a 180-degree turn and is headed to a significant Hispanic outreach."

These conversations do not appear to have been about Romney's views on immigration... Rodriguez's advice is more likely about how to find Latinos who will vote for Romney despite his anti-immigrant views.

Indeed, Rodriguez is part of historic efforts by the Christian Right and the Republican Party to peel off some Latino and African-American voters, and to inoculate other recent immigrants against their traditional affinity for the Democratic Party. Aaron Manaigo, a political operative working for Harry Jackson, told a breakout session at the 2012 Values Voters Summit, sponsored by Christian Right groups like the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. in September, that they were seeking "some demographic advantage." To this end, they have staged events in swing states and those with marriage initiatives on the ballot. One notable event in New Mexico featured Rodriguez, Republican Lt. Governor John Sanchez and Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the militant anti-abortion organization Priests for Life. Jackson and Manaigo's session at Values Voters was titled: "Vertical Vote Campaign for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberties."

But the Christian Right does want the Latino vote, and its targeted approach to mobilize a specific subset of religiously informed Latino voters is aimed for the long run. An expanding conservative evangelical electorate, including a growing Latino demographic, could be decisive in some parts of the country. Rodriguez and the NHCLC are at the center of that outreach through a partnership with the conservative Champion the Vote which aims to build the Christian Right's capacity to win a theocratic power bloc in the American electorate.

As Rodriguez told Pat Robertson in an interview on CBN, "The Hispanic electorate may be the salvation of the conservative movement and the Christian Church in America." Champion the Vote is a project of United in Purpose (UIP), an organization of conservative Christian Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that the Los Angeles Times reports is spending millions of dollars, and using advanced data mining techniques to identify unregistered conservative Roman Catholics and conservative evangelicals. They aim to widen the Christian Right electorate this year by registering and turning out five million new voters, primarily in states where, in the 2008 presidential contest, the margin of difference was less than the number of unregistered conservative Christians. To get there, they are seeking to recruit 100,000 "champions" to follow-up once UIP has identified the right kind of unregistered Christians.

NHCLC and UIP have closely collaborated for a number of years. UIP's 2010 tax return, for example, shows that it provided $112,500 for "voter registration Fuerza 2010." (NHCLC was the organization's only grantee.) Rodriguez claims the Fuerza project registered 268,000 new voters by focusing on evangelical Latino churches in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.  As part of that effort, UIP issued a video in English and Spanish which stated that "friends have turned into foes"--and then showed pictures of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, all Democrats (The top issues featured in the video were abortion and marriage).

NHCLC is, at this writing, one of some six-dozen Christian Right, anti-abortion, GOP, and Tea Party organizations, and religious broadcasters partnering in Champion the Vote.  These include The Manhattan Declaration, the premier alliance of conservative evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics, and Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition. Champion the Vote's three foci are anti-abortionism, anti-marriage equality, and "religious freedom"--and its stated mission is "... to get unregistered Christians registered to vote, educated in the Biblical worldview, and voting accordingly on Election Day."

This year, Rodriguez appeared in the organization's voter mobilization DVD, "One Nation Under God"--along with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Christian nationalist author David Barton, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich--but with no Democrats. The ostensibly nonpartisan DVD is intended for use in churches and house parties.

NHCLC and Champion the Vote's approach updates the mobilization efforts by conservative activist Ralph Reed who led Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition in the 1990s.

Reed claims that his new organization's experiments in mobilizing conservative Christian voters have been so successful that they may explain why pre-election polls underestimated the winning margin of the conservative Republican candidates by eight to nine points in both the 2009 governor's race in Virginia and the 2012 recall election in Wisconsin, as journalist Adele Stan has reported.  Reed's associate, Gary Marx, explained at the 2012 Values Voters Summit that they were seeking to find two million unregistered conservative Christian voters and to identify and turn out some eight million more registered voters who did not vote in the last presidential election. Whether they met their voter registration goal, Marx did not say. But he did say that the Virginia and Wisconsin models worked so well that they are now being applied in swing states and nationally.

... the Christian Coalition's methods proved to be catalytic in crafting the Christian Right political movement as we know it today.

"The first strategy and in many ways the most important strategy for evangelicals is secrecy," Reed once famously declared. "Sun Tzu says that's what you have to do to be effective at war and that's essentially what we are involved in... It's not a war fought with bullets, it's a war fought with ballots."

UIP claims to have compiled a database of some 120 million people and is running it against purchased subscription lists, among other data, to identify anti-abortion and anti-marriage equality Christians who are not registered to vote. This year, they are looking for five million, but over the next few election cycles, they are seeking to ID and register forty out of the sixty million they believe to be eligible.48 The Faith & Freedom Coalition uses the same numbers and the same general methods, which suggest a high degree of common purpose and coordination.

Grandiose visions, of course, like anything else, do not always turn out as planned. However, if UIP, NHCLC, and the many other partner organizations find even a few million ideologically oriented new voters who can be engaged in the wider movement we broadly call the Christian Right, it could be, as Rodriguez suggests, a transformational moment in American history.




Display:
The idea of living in a theocracy is totally repugnant, but the left has such a hard time organizing and getting behind some goals. I know it is because lefties tend to be independent, free-thinking, and not prone to the kind of single-minded devotion the rightwing is. But unless we learn to do it, we are toast - maybe literally. Meanwhile, I'd best see about getting my passport...

by phatkhat on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:17:20 PM EST
that the dominionists are a threat.  They think "It's politics like usual!" or "Corporations are behind it!" and refuse to accept that "a bunch of backwater snake-handling hicks" are winning and about to take over the country (and destroy freedom).

Some of my friends complain about the dominionist churches and the things they do, but insist that they're not organized enough OR that dominionism as a movement is moribund rather than growing and winning (I hear that a LOT).

I try to tell people the truth, but as I still hear, I'm a "conspiracy theory nut" because "They're just churches, they can't be THAT bad!".

And we continue loosing ground...


by ArchaeoBob on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:16:57 AM EST
Parent




WWW Talk To Action


Resistance Is Futile: Some County Clerks Say `I Won't' To Marriage Equality
One week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court extended marriage equality nationwide. So where are we now?To no one's surprise, leaders of the Religious Right......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Celebrating July 4th
A decade or so ago I was vacationing in Hot Springs,  Arkansas.  It was July 4th and I attended the First Baptist Church in......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Nine Mainline Protestant Christian Martyrs
This is a tricky time for the Christian Right. Immediately following the mass murder at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Top Southern Baptist Official Admits Churches Won't Be Forced To Marry Same-Sex Couples
For years now, Religious Right leaders have been whipping up hysteria by claiming that, should marriage equality become the law of the land, conservative......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
The Pope, Climate Change and the Catholic Right.
The conservative criticism of Laudato Sii, ("Praised Be"), Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment and poverty that began even before its release, has now......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Simply Put -- LGBTQ rights are not a threat to religious freedom
I'd like to underscore the conclusion of this piece, which is crossposted from LGBTQ Nation.  The advance of civil rights for LGBTQ people is......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Pluck Of The Irish: Same-Sex Marriage Vote Shows Yearning For An End To Clerical Domination
A provocative headline from Reuters news service last week caught my eye. "Irish plunge stake through Catholic Church's heart," it read.The headline is perhaps......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Religification as a Tool of Massive Resistance to LGBTQ Equality
So much of the contemporary religious liberty campaign being conducted by the Christian Right is demagogic fear-mongering designed to justify discrimination against other Americans,......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Happy Birth (Control) Day!: A Golden Anniversary That Shouldn't Be Overlooked
American women today enjoy a right that for thousands of years of human civilization was virtually unheard of: The power to decide if they......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
GOP Gov. Pat McCrory Did The Right Thing
Republican Governor Pat McCrory did the right thing -- and in so doing showed the way for conservative Christian Republicans in the age of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Dinosaurs in South America and Other Legends
In the early seventies I made a visit to church members.  I was with Dr. Bill Hendrix, one of the most distinguished theologians in......
By wilkyjr (5 comments)
The Christian Right's Claims of Persecution by the Secular State Ring Very Hollow
Religious exemptions to various laws and regulations have been much in the news in recent years, particularly in relation to the advance of LGBTQ......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
The JFK Speech That Made Santorum Want to Throw-Up
On February 26, 2012, (when I first published this post), the heated GOP presidential primaries were getting hotter as the Christian Right sought to......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
The Religious Bigotry of Rick Santorum
Now that Rick Santorum has announced that he is running for president, again, it is worth reminding ourselves that he is a coarsely obvious......
By Frederick Clarkson (24 comments)

Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (5 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.