Where's the Evangelical Candidate?

For the past two elections, the evangelical constituency has backed President Bush, even as their opinion of him has declined. While he has yet to do anything concrete to forward the evangelicals' agenda, he remained the evangelicals' choice for president given his sense of religiosity and the values that he espoused. Since the election of 2004, the evangelicals' opinion of Bush has further diminished, and it is impacting their entire view of the GOP. Although Bush is not a candidate for the 2008 election, due to his performance the evangelicals have become disenchanted with the Republican Party. While it is unlikely the evangelical bloc would switch to the Democratic Party, this group of voters is reaching the point where they are threatening to stay home from the polling booths in November 2008. Although the evangelicals are disillusioned with the Republicans and the current potential nominees for president, in a recent interview, Dr. Richard Land, the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), indicated that "with Hillary Clinton looming on the horizon, electability is a very important issue." Thus, the evangelicals might be driven to the polls not because they want to directly forward their own agenda, but they want to prevent a more liberal one from becoming viable. However, even if they were to vote Republican, who would be their candidate?
In an article in OpinionJournal, the candidates thus far are presented as "Rudy Giuliani, a twice divorced, pro-choice, supporter of civil unions; Mitt Romney, a Mormon who as recently as his 1994 Senate campaign against liberal icon Sen. Ted Kennedy was pro-choice and wishy-washy on gay marriage; John McCain, who voted against the gay marriage amendment and who crafted the campaign finance laws that have done much to damage the anti-abortion efforts of religious conservatives; or perhaps Fred Thompson, who supported McCain-Feingold and says that gay marriage is a state issue." Since the evangelical constituency is bonded by their common interest in a socially conservative agenda, all of these candidates are far from ideal. While some candidates have tried to ameliorate the situation by meeting with prominent evangelical leaders, it is still far from clear who will obtain the evangelicals' support in 2008.

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