Monday, October 09, 2006

A Home For Disaffected Evangelicals

A line from a recent post at MyDD caught my eye:
This scandal has the potential to develop into a long-term voter retrenchment problem for the white, conservative, evangelical Republican base. A lot of them may just go back to not participating in politics altogether.
Perhaps its because one of my best friends is a minister or that I grew up evangelical myself, but I think Dems shouldn't fear wooing some of the disaffected evangelicals.

I think a progressive agenda is more likely by working with evangelicals than, say, libertarians. I'm not advocating a full sail accomodation of all that the religious right has claimed to be fighting for by any means. But I'm definitely a values voter: I vote Democrat because I think they have a demonstrated commitment to civil rights and combating poverty. I wouldn't care about politics if I didn't think that Democrats could reduce poverty, increase health care coverage for children, etc. So yeah, I want to legislate some of my "values". I know many evangelicals who really care about those issues as well and the Democratic Party is the natural home for them until the GOP stops cowing to the Libertarian wing. Dems/Progressives can work on these issues and work together to address some of the other issues.

Abortion. Not everyone gives the same value to a bunch of cells as to a mother. Some people do. So why not work on reducing the need for abortion and the total number. The GOP hasn't been that effective in this. During Clinton's presidency, the abortion rate went down--and choice was never in jeopardy. Based on results, the GOP has historically been utter failures at reducing the number of abortions. A smart, comprehensive policy can protect choice and reduce the number. Both sides win. You won't get that with the current GOP.

There are straightforward and similar compromises where both sides win to much of the current majore divisions. If that were to happen, the GOP would be left with the libertarians and the neocons and be relegated to the dustbin of history unless they seriously modify their positions.

That said, I think it's important for progressives to understand and hold steady on their principle of protecting choice and on other issues. Compromise is not weakness and need not be an either-or position. I guess I say this because I'd rather progressives or Dems align with evangelicals before they align with libertarians. The property rights fetish seems much less willing to compromise than evangelicals. And I do see an end to the current GOP as we know it looming in the near future and the Democratic coalition needs to start planning for that realingment now.

I'm also curious what others think.

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