“Values Voters” Loud and Proud

I’ve only begun to sample the rhetorical fare offered up at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit, but will offer some reflections in the course of this week. The immediate impression you get, however, is that the Christian Right activists represented heavily at this event are in less of an accomodationist mood than ever. If you want their support in running for president, for example, you better hit the requisite notes precisely and at considerable volume. 2016 will not, it appears, be a cycle where calculations of electability trump every other consideration in these precincts (e.g., in 2008, when Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president).

Event majordomo and chieftain of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, underlined the mood:

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council Action which sponsored the annual conference, said that values voters are looking for leaders who “say what they mean and mean what they say.”

“They are looking for leaders who will take clear, unequivocal stands on the challenges facing our nation, not nuanced politically correct speeches. This is evidenced by those who finished top of this year’s straw poll,” he said in a statement.

True dat. Fully two-thirds of registered attendees expressed support for hypothetical presidential candidacies by pols overtly aligned with the Christian Right: Ted Cruz (25%), Ben Carson (13%), Mike Huckabee (12%), Rick Santorum (10%) and Bobby Jindal (7%). Chris Christie was 19th, behind Joe Biden.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.