Interesting story from the Washington Post about Ken Cuccinellli’s failure to turn out white Evangelical Christians. According to the article these voters made up 27% of the electorate in the election as opposed to 34% in 2009. Given McAuliffe’s margin of victory if they had turned out at 2009 levels Cuccinelli would be the governor-elect now.
So what happened? The state’s demographics are changing but the Post’s point is a much larger point that should trouble the GOP in Virginia and many. Namely, Christian conservatives just aren’t the electorally potent force they use were in past elections. If Mr. Anti-Sodomy Law Ken Cuccinelli cannot turn these folks out against Bill Clinton’s best pal you do have to wonder if anyone can.
Why this is so important is because White Evangelical Christian conservatives have been a key comment of the GOP coalition for decades. They were a key component of Reagan’s coalition in the 1980 election and helped the GOP grow in the South.
In addition, many credit them with helping the GOP take the House in 1994 and the Values Voters were a big reason Bush won Ohio, and reelection, in 2004. If they continue to decline in the electorate the GOP is going to have new voters to take their place or the White House will be out of reach.
Who will those new voters be and how will the party appeal to them? The answers to those questions will shape the GOP not just in 2016 but possibly for a generation.