The evangelical vote

No, there was no huge swing to the Democrats. No, there’s no evidence that “values” issues account for what swing there was. And while Ted Strickland’s being a minister might have had something to do with his actually beating Ken Blackwell among Ohio’s white Evengelical Protestants, so might Blackwell’s skin color. Maybe newspapers should let reporters report and turn to academics and bloggers when it comes time to crunch the data.

Alan Cooperman of the Washington Post needs to read Kevin Drum more often. Kevin is right: aside from the big shift toward the Democrats among Latinos (for which I extend my hearty thanks to Tom Tancredo and Mickey Kaus), this year’s Democratic wave was pretty consistent across demographic groups, with the gain among white Evangelicals actually somewhat smaller than average.

Cooperman’s story makes the obvious logical mistake of assuming that if Evengelicals switched their votes, they must have done so on Evangelical grounds, rather than hating the war like everyone else. (It would be nice to think that, thinking back on Calvary, people who identify as Gospel Christians were also turned off by torture, but there’s no evidence of that; other than poor Ted Haggard and Rick Warren, none of the TV preacher/megachurch operator types seemed to have any problem with waterboarding.)

Cooper, definitely having a bad day, also came up with this howler:

In the states where Democrats fielded candidates who were able to speak credibly about their faith, they made larger gains, according to Vanderslice, who served as a consultant to half a dozen Democratic candidates. Among her clients was Ted Strickland, a minister who won 58 percent of the Catholic vote and 51 percent of the white evangelical vote in the Ohio governor’s race against Ken Blackwell, a Republican who has championed conservative Christian causes.

Of course, Ken Blackwell’s race couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with it, could it now?

The notion that blogging is going to replace reporting is just plain silly. But it’s far from obvious to me what newspaper reporters have to add when it comes to analysis, as opposed to fact-gathering. Cooperman’s piece notably subtracts from the sum of human knowledge.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “The evangelical vote”

  1. And, you know, there are some groups that the Democratic Party just doesn't want–our tend is not big enough for people who want to reverse Row v. Wade, who want to ban gay marriage & civil unions & who are all right with torture. Those people belong in the Republican party & Dems should peel away the influence of fundamentalists by offering betrter ideas & better polices. Policies that are humane toward all Americans, including those who disagree with us. This is the way, over time, to reduce the Republican Party to being a regional party of the deep south.

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