June 21, 2020


Trump allies see a mounting threat: Biden's rising evangelical support: The president's supporters worry Biden can grab a larger slice of a critical voting bloc -- when Trump can least afford departures from his base. (GABBY ORR, 06/21/2020, Politico)

It was June 10, 2008. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama had gathered with dozens of evangelical leaders -- many of them fixtures of the religious right -- at the urging of campaign aides. If he could offer genuine glimpses of his own abiding faith, they insisted he could chisel away at the conservative Christian voting bloc.

At a rally in the Bible Belt, he talked about the church he'd attended for two decades in Chicago. Calling for an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to tackle poverty, he promised churches and religious organizations would play a greater public role in delivering social services under his administration. And during a faith-based forum in Southern California, he said his own support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, did not mean he wasn't interested in reducing abortion in America.

The strategy worked. Obama's campaign stops at churches, sermon-like speeches and his professed belief in Jesus Christ earned him 24 percent of the white evangelical vote -- doubling Democrats' support among young white evangelicals and gaining three points with the overall demographic from the 2004 election.

Now, allies of President Donald Trump worry his 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, can do the same -- snatching a slice of a critical voting bloc from Trump when he can least afford departures from his base.

Biden, a lifelong Catholic, has performed better in recent polling among white evangelicals -- and other religious groups -- than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016, and is widely perceived as more religious than the current White House occupant. 

Posted by at June 21, 2020 8:02 AM