Remember when Evangelicals were the staple of the Republican coalition? Turn them out and you could win any national election. Well, they are fast becoming the fringe of the GOP, based on recently released research from focus groups conducted by Stan Greenberg, James Carville and Erica Seifert for Democracy Corps.
The GOP is now roughly split into three factions: one-third Evangelical, one-quarter Tea Party and one-quarter moderates. These focus groups, which were purposely assembled homogeneously to encourage participation, were chosen because they comprise the base of the Republican Party.
True, the Tea Party has its own goals and it’s wreaking havoc on the Republican Party and the nation. But what’s striking about the insights gleaned from the groups is that both moderate and Tea Party Republicans view the Evangelical agenda as a total distraction.
Evangelicals are apparently beside themselves over losing the culture wars. According to the memo, they “believe their towns, communities and schools are suffering from a deep ‘culture rot’ that has invaded from the outside.” Their main focus is homosexuality, but they’re also concerned about the decline of small homogenous towns.
But the Tea Party folks couldn’t care less about social issues.
Gay marriage. Abortion. “Who cares?” said one Tea Partier from Roanoke.
Another Roanoke Tea Partier agreed: “I think it’s not important.”
A Tea Party man from Raleigh who said he didn’t support same-sex marriage also said it wasn’t the job of the government to intervene.
“I personally don’t agree with gay marriage, but I don’t think the government should say who can get married and who can’t. It’s not their business,” he said.
Similar to the Tea Party faction, Republican moderates also showed apprehension about the Evangelical agenda.