Millions of Americans have voiced their support for Phil Robertson over the past week. Where the liberal left met his comments about homosexuality with indignation, social conservatives saw Robertson’s outspokenness as a basic affirmation of the Bible.
With social media pages like “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” boasting more than 1.7 million likes and petitions like “Pleasesupportphil.com” boasting tens of thousands of signatures, support for the Duck Dynasty patriarch has generated a call to action that few social movements in history could ever boast accomplishing.
It’s the kind of reaction that anyone who has ever run for office could only dream of.
And yet despite the obvious enthusiasm and energy of the social conservative demographic that wants to stick a finger in the eye of the liberal elites who routinely denigrate and slander them (even as they make billions of dollars off of them with Duck Dynasty and associated merchandise) this is the same demographic that is consistently ignored by the political party that claims to represent them.
Should we pin the blame on the Republican Party, which by trying to target different and “more diverse” demographic groups over the past few election cycles, has forgotten about the base? Or should we pin the blame on those of faith who are not motivated to rise up and show the same passion for a candidate as they do for Phil Robertson?
There are more then 46 million citizens today who polling indicates are driven by their Christian faith, and yet in the 2012 Presidential election little to no emphasis was put on their vote. That’s why traditional red states like Indiana which saw a 6% decrease in the Evangelical vote from 2008 and Kansas saw a 7% drop in the Evangelical vote from 2004. The faith voter is simply choosing to not show up on Election Day.
Even though a motivated Christian electorate made up one-quarter of the 2012 election, when the dust had settled, GOP bigwigs immediately started talking about how they were going to target traditionally left-leaning demographics – Hispanics, single women, and African-Americans – while ignoring the easiest group to recruit.
Not only did key Republican leaders ignore the faith voter potential, in many cases they blamed them for the loss because of their decision to stay home. Maybe instead of blaming those who feel disenfranchised by a party that has left its traditional social roots, the GOP undertake an initiative to woo them again. Instead of blaming the victim, the GOP might undergo some self-reflection.