Ten Miles Square


March 27, 2013 11:32 AM Will the GOP Lose the Evangelicals?

By Mark Kleiman

Republicans have to move on gay marriage or get left behind, especially by younger votes. Mike Huckabee – nobody’s fool – says that, if they do, the evangelicals will take a walk.

That sounds to me like a plan, not a prediction. And if that’s right, it’s important news. The plutocrat/ Chrstianist alliance has always been potentially unstable, and hatred of poor people and minorities might not be enough to hold it together forever. And Huckabee has a populist/ redistributivist streak; it’s not obvious that he would be unhappy destroying the GOP and leading one of the two new parties that would likely emerge from the wreckage.

[Originally posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.
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  • T2 on March 27, 2013 12:31 PM:

    You have a point. Sooner or later one of the Crazies is going to jump ship, and I'm betting sooner. With three years to fan the fire in the Crazy Base, whether the Evangelicals or the Constitutionalist small government looks, someone will emerge. The Huckster? Cruz? Santorum? Paul? And they'll challenge the relatively less crazies such as Rubio, Bush, or who knows who. The GOP simply can't go on as it is, they've created too many monsters and one will rise up against them. And hand the Dems the election in the process.

  • boatboy_srq on March 28, 2013 10:29 AM:

    Given that the FundiEvangelical subset of the GOTea has been leading the charge off the wingnut cliff, this is only good news for restoring sanity to that party. Remember that the anti-LGBT, anti-woman, multitude-of-lesser-citizens pushes have originated not from the libertarian or hawkish segments from the party but from the FundiEvangelically-orthodox wing: without their narrow application of "ethics" the GOTea may well become more approachable once the messianic push to "save America" is excised from their ranks.

    Having a "Christian Republican" party sprout from the schism would be useful too, especially as the FundiEvangelicals stamp angrily away from the mainstream (of both the US citizenry and Christendom): the more sunshine we can pour on the snake-oil that FOF, FRC et al are pushing the faster we can send that variety of wingnuttery into remission.

  • Josef K on March 28, 2013 10:34 AM:

    Sorry, but I don't see this happening. Don't get me wrong; I'll dance a jig if Huckabee (btw, are we sure that's really his name and not a cruelty joke?) actually initiates an evangelical exodus from the GOP, thereby relegating them all to the electoral margins for at least another generation.

    But I really don't see it happening for two reasons. First, Huckabee's a politician, and so knows an incoherent mass of evangelical in various stages of radicalization cannot and will not command the kind of political leverage they would otherwise enjoy within our electoral system on their own; they need the infrastructure the GOP provides to harness whatever influence they have.

    And second, I honestly don't think Huckabee commands the kind of respect and devotion his little pronouncement suggests. If memory serves, Huckabee himself is Southern Baptist, so I'm not sure he carries much weight with American Methodists, Presbyterians, Adventists, and certainly not with Catholics. I imagine if he stands up and says "we're leaving", we're going to be underwhelmed by the number who follow.

    Then again, crazier things have happened lately.

  • azportsider on March 28, 2013 10:52 AM:

    If the Huckster were the only tealibangelical making this "threat," it probably wouldn't amount to much, but it seems to be a developing meme in the religious right fever swamp. Only a couple of days ago Gary Bauer made the same "threat." I personally would love to see it. Nothing like watching your enemies divide and conquer themselves while you pop some more corn.