July 14, 2006

How can the Democratic Party be Godless?

If the backbone of the Democratic Party is churchgoing African Americans.

African-American Protestants and Latino Catholics were solidly Democratic in the past two Presidential elections. In 2000 Al Gore percentage of the Protestants African-American vote was at 91%, Latino Catholics was at 65%. John Kerry slightly under performed in both groups in 2004 compared to Al Gore, but African-Africans again overwhelmingly supported Democratic Presidential candidate at 88% of their vote. The most loyal voting block for the Democratic Party is African-Americans.

Recently, Senator Barack Obama created a dispute with in the liberal community over this speech about religion and politics. The point of this diary is not relive this battle, but to point out to the Democratic Party and particularly Liberals not to cede or buy into the Conservative argument of us being secularist coastal elites without pointing to our base. When Conservatives and the media use rhetoric such as religious gap, morals, Godless and so on to attack Democrats they disregard and disrespect our churchgoing religious base, the Black Church.

Oliver Willis is correct, the Religious left already exist.
I’m extremely skeptical of these new efforts to create a “religious left”, not just because such things have to be organic, but because the religious left already exists in the black church and is the backbone of the Democratic party. Without the black vote, there’s no Democratic party, and the Dems wouldn’t be in contention in any national election. And those black Americans are among the most devoted churchgoers around. The MSM buys in wholesale to the con caricature of the left as secularist coastal elites, but the truth of the matter is the church is central to the left’s political force. It’s not a coincidence that the greatest ever American advocate for human rights happened to be a left-wing Baptist pastor.
There is a big double standard in effect. The media mentions the gap between white Evangelicals and the Democratic party without citing the bigger gap between churchgoing Africans-American and the Republican party. Africans-American vote is rarely described in religious terms. It does not play into the Conservative narrative of secularist coastal elites, Liberals and Democrats.

I might be over simplifying this complex issue, but religious voters does not solely belong to the Republican party not matter how much Conservatives claim otherwise. Our base is just as religious as the Republican base, but there is a difference Democratic Party welcome all Americans no matter of there religious believes or not the Republican party has a litmus test.


At July 20, 2006 8:24 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

This is a great post, and you are totally right. To say religion if devoid in the Democratic party is just plain wrong.

However, I will say there is one distinction that I think "explains" (I didn't say justifies) the portrayal as the Republican party being the "God-party." Both Democrat and Republican "bases" have high percentage of evangelical or religious influence. But the difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that the Republicans politicians don't seem to have a problem admitting that religion is a profoundly important part of their life. Now I am not saying that it is a profoundly important part of their life, for all I know they just do it to make evangelicals and the world think it is. But the Democratic party seems to have a harder time admitting religion is a part of their active life and that is why I think even though their base has strong religious ties, the party will never be labeled as the "Religious left."

Bush/Kerry was a prime example of this in '04. When asked what role religion played in their lives, Bush confidently (although he could have been lying) that religion was a very important part both in his personal life and in his political decisions. Kerry on the other hand bumbled around the question, trying not to offend, but in the end, basically sending the message that yeah I go to church from time to time (like most Americans), but my faith essentially stays at the door (like most Americans). It didn't matter if his voting populous was religious (which it was), he portrayed his candidacy and his party as a being fairly "non-religious."

Well I think I have bored you enough with my rant. I truly have appreciated your blog.

At July 20, 2006 8:52 PM, Blogger jwookie said...

Most conservatives will argue with you that blacks and Latinos don't vote Democrat because of religion but because of history, race, and minority rights groups.

You could say Kerry "underperformed" in the black and Latino groups or you phrase it the Republicans are winning the minds of those ethnic groups. Historically Democrats have had more to offer to minorities. Being on the right was being in support of slavery and against civil rights. John Kennedy was nearly as important in many black homes as Martin Luther King Jr.

Sociologists also see strong trends in family voting. If one's parents, grand parents, and great grandparents all voted Democrat the current generation more often than not votes the same way. Hell all their friends and neighbors probably vote the same way too. How many stories have you heard about the lone political opposite in a family and how often are they spoken about like the "black sheep" (pardon the pun) of the family? I think more blacks are voting Republican, not because they're leaving the party but because the party left them. Someone who held the same beliefs as Kennedy did would today be considered a Republican. Strong military, lower taxes, anti-affirmative action, just to name a few.

Finally, I think the minority extremist groups like mEChA, NAACP, etc. actually do more harm to the Democrats ethnic voting blocks than good. Despite large turnout for recent illegal immigration rallies, the average Latino at home doesn't agree with the group's political philosophies. Most polls have shown a majority of Latinos in favor of stronger border enforcement and against illegal immigration in general.

Are their religious people who vote Democrat? Of course. I just don't think it's their religion that drives them to vote Democrat, as you could say for religious people who vote Republican.


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