The Game Is Not “On” For Santorum and Huckabee in 2016

Rick and Mike have tracked large numbers of evangelicals in previous presidential elections.  But not in 2012.  David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University, turns to his Facebook followers for an explanation.

Here is a taste:

I posed this question to my online community, which includes a significant number of actual conservative evangelicals, as well as numerous close observers of American politics. Here are their several most cogent explanations, with my comments following.

–“Cruz and Carson tap into a sense of resentment much more so than Huckabee and Santorum.” Me: I can see that with Cruz, less so with Carson, at least most days. But yes, I don’t think anger and resentment are the native language of either Huckabee or Santorum.

–“Huckabee and Santorum are has-beens who have run before” and failed. Me: Yes, fresh faces do seem to do better in American politics. See: Bush, Jeb. But see: Clinton, Hillary.

–“Pro-life orthodoxy is necessary but not sufficient for the values voter today.” Me: Yes, I get that; Huckabee and Santorum basically have only the social conservative agenda, and this election’s social conservatives want more than that. This is a very important development, I think.

–“Ben Carson, because he’s black. Supporting Carson could therefore ease racial tensions…and ‘prove’ that there are no diversity problems within the Republican Party.” Another person suggested that the same kind of thing was happening with Cruz, vis-a-vis being Latino. Me: Now that’s a fascinating idea. I do think that most white evangelicals want to feel good about their anti-racist commitments, that the bad old days of racism are fully overcome. But does that really explain the success of Carson and Cruz among white evangelicals?

Read the rest here.