Last week, James Dobson and other evangelical leaders announced that if Rudy Giuliani won the GOP nomination, they would seek a third pary candidate to support. This announcement fell like a ton of bricks on the Republican Party. If the evangelicals followed through with this threat, it would certainly give the election to Hillary. Making it the second time a Clinton was elected due to a split vote on the right.
As a result of this, the right side of the Internet has been afire with articles calling for evangelicals to unite and rally behind Mitt Romney. This is a no brainer for the evangelical community, despite the fact that the religion many of them view with hostility and misunderstanding is the very one to which Mitt belongs and was a leader in – Mormonism. Why is it a no brainer? first, it’s a choice between Hillary, Rudy, and Mitt. One of these three WILL be our next President. So, that’s an easy choice.
Second, Mitt has the same values as most evangelicals. He is pro-life, is a family man and never been divorced, is fiscally conservative, and actually attends church. Two of those is more than the other three GOP front runners can say.
Third, he can win. Currently, Mitt is not polling well nationally in the GOP or in head to head match ups against Hillary. Many people think that Mitt would fair horribly against Clinton. This is just not the case. Let’s look at how he has faired so far in elective politics. In 1994 Mitt took on Ted Kennedy in a Senate race. This in a state where Kennedys are a staple like milk and butter. Mitt was completely unknown, yet Kennedy had to fight and actually campaign and spend money to win. So while, Romney lost, he lost in a state that is about 80% democrat against a hugely popular and powerful Senator by only about 10 points.
Then in 2002, Mitt ran for governor of Massachusetts. He won in a surprising landslide fashion. Again, a Republican in a hugely democratic state. As governor he lead as a conservative- pro-life, pro-family, fiscally conservative – everything a conservative should want.
Now, look at the Primaries. Everywhere Mitt is actively campaigning he is either leading or improving. He has Iowa virtually locked up, is leading New Hampshire and Nevada, and is neck and neck with Giuliani in Michigan. Not only that but he is currently surging in South Carolina and making a move in Florida. Why is this happening? Because as voters get to know him they like him and realize that he is easily the smartest and most capable person in contest. And don’t think the Democrats are not aware of this, there is a reason he gets by far the most negative coverage of all the candidates.
So what does it mean for the state of the race if the evangelicals do indeed endorse Romney? It would virtually guarantee a Romney victory. South Carolina and Florida would likely surge into Romney’s camp. So even if Romney lost New Hampshire, which is less likely to be impacted by the evangelicals, he would pretty well win the rest of the states leading up to super Tuesday in February.
Personally, I am not a fan of the evangelical movement, but I sort of view them as a necessary inconvenience. I think it would be extremely beneficial and healthy for the GOP to break free from the religious right. I find it astounding that our country is more bigoted towards religion and Mormonism today than they were in the 60’s when George Romney ran for President.
Finally, a thought on Giuliani. Like many evangelicals, I don’t think I can vote for Giuliani in the general election. For me it is not so much an issue of his pro-choice views, but it is simply that I don’t believe he is the kind of man that I trust in as President, I want someone that in my gut I believe is a good person. So, the problem that Giuliani has with the a good portion of the GOP is real and will toss the election to Hillary.