Democrats appear to be have lost white Christians in the United States, although the biggest surprise to many continues to be that they ever had them at all.
As the 2020 election nears, Democratic politicians and party officials are working to counter the perception that their party has a “religion problem.” They’ve hired faith outreach directors, met with religious activists and courted the votes of a wide range of faith groups throughout the primary season.
Never mind that their stated values run counter to those of most religious traditions.
Perhaps for that reason the party still has failed to win over the largest religious demographic in the country, Religion News Service reports: white Christians.
Much has been written about President Donald Trump’s support among white evangelicals in the 2016 election, when he won 80 percent to 81 percent of the group. But less attention has been paid to how Trump also swept all major categories of white Christians. He won 60 percent of white Catholics on Election Day, according to a Pew analysis of exit polls, and a January 2017 Public Religion Research Institute survey found 57 percent of white mainliners had a favorable view of the president around the time of his inauguration.
Trump’s success with white Christians outpaces most other Republican presidential candidates in recent memory. It also reflected a larger shift in party affiliation along religious lines. According to Pew, 48 percent of white Christians identified as Republicans or leaned toward the party in 2007. By 2014, that number jumped to 56 percent.
The change signals a steady increase of broad-based white Christian support for the Republican Party and its candidates.
Political scientists credit to a complex mix of religion, identity and race, but it’s more likely Trump simply understands and supports their values.