the candidate faith strategy

As we discussed, Pres. Bush was particularly skillful at wooing evangelical voters, but McCain less so.  In a Times article from last summer, McCain is uncomfortable with overt faith expression (perhaps not untypical of men of his generation). He differs from Bush in drawing a line between the secular and sacred worlds, whereas in the evangelical and other faith traditions these would be regarded as much more tightly integrated.  In my analysis yesterday of journalists’ treatment of candidate faith, I wanted to argue that journalists misread Bush and the Republicans as being the choice of voters “of faith.”  Although “moral issues” voters were said to prefer Bush in 2004, “moral issues” was defined narrowly to mean abortion and gay marriage.  If moral issues are defined more broadly to include social justice, war, and environmental stewardship, then journalists must broaden the “Frame” of what constitutes “faith-based” voting and not stick with a simplistic view that prematurely assigns moral issues voters to the Republicans (a frame which was made more difficult in any case by the selection of the more “faith-reticent” McCain as the nominee).

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