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Yet Another Open Letter to Chris Matthew Sciabarra
I told you so eh? Well yes, you did tell us that Bush would win, but what you have wrong are the reasons why.
First of all, contrary to the popular myth, the total evangelical vote in 2004 was nearly identical to that of 2000. You can nit-pick the statistics state by state, but the total numbers would still belie the argument of the so-called 'evangelical' turnout. Of those in 2000 who stated that they attended church at least once a week Bush's increase was a miniscule 1%. He did however gain 5% from Catholic voters.
Second, the number of people who identified themselves as pro-life in this election was once again identical to that of 2000: 42%. The issue of partial-birth abortion was also a total non-factor. And although the issue of stem-cell research was cited as a factor, it was done so 93% of the time by persons who had already identified themselves as evangelicals.
Last, the percentage of people who placed 'moral values' as their primary reason for voting for Bush was a mere 17% (of whom four-fifths voted for Bush), leaving 83% voting for other reasons. Also, remember that the term 'moral values' is enormously vague. For many Americans issues such as the War on Terror, taxation, affirmative action, school vouchers, welfare, gun rights and many others, fall under the umbrella of this term. It is an over-simplification to suggest that those that cited moral values as a primary concern were overwhelmingly responding to 1 or 2 issues.
Where Bush picked up the strongest increase was among women voters (the 'security moms') up 5% from 43% in 2000 to 48% in 2004. This 5% swing among 52% of the electorate had an enormous impact. Also way up was his Hispanic voters, up 9% from 35% in 2000 to 44% in 2004. Among Asians he gained 3% and among Blacks he gained 2%. (Source: CNN.com/election.)
If one had to pinpoint the exact group that had the greatest impact on his victory it would be women, followed closely by Hispanics. So for those Bush-haters out there, if you want someone to blame, blame Sally and Jose. The people wearing crucifixes voted as they always do.
Consider this possibility: That the American electorate responded not to any 'evangelical fervor' or to the exhortation of Jerry Farwell, but perhaps, just maybe, they responded to their reason.
Isn't it even remotely possible that Bush won because the majority of Americans knew he was the stronger leader? Isn't it even remotely possible that the majority of Americans could sense that he was the more genuine and honest choice? Is it beyond the realm of comprehension that the majority of Americans were responding to his much stronger and proactive approach to terrorism? Is it not also more than likely that the majority of Americans viewed the alternative (Kerry) to him with revulsion and fear?
I sincerely hope that the extremists of both left and right come to the same conclusion as you have. If so, the nation will not be saddled with a Hillary Clinton in '08, and the Farwells of the world will be waiting till hell freezes over for homosexuality or abortion to be made illegal again. The hedonist/socialist left would fail, from its once again underestimating the intelligence and convictions of the American people, without ever doing any introspection about the possibility that it is their ideas themselves that are at fault. And the fundamentalist evangelicals will yet again, be left ‘standing at the altar,’ by overestimating their actual influence on the Republican Party, and the other far more moderate Christian Americans who represent the true majority of American Christians.
Consider this possibility: That the majority of Americans were not responding to their hostility, prejudice or religious fundamentalism, but rather to that which is most noble about them. I suggest to you, Dr. Sciabarra the unthinkable, the miraculous, and the unimaginable: that the American electorate voted for Bush in the majority, because it was the more intelligent decision.
George "Doubting Thomas" Cordero
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