Midterm elections are all about turning out base constituencies. Over the last few decades, there have been few more reliable voters for Republicans than white evangelical Protestants. This year, however, GOP candidates may be getting less help from this group—not because white evangelical Protestants are becoming less supportive or less motivated, but simply because they are declining as a proportion of the population, even in Southern states.
White evangelical Protestants have remained a steadfast Republican constituency in both presidential and midterm congressional elections ever since the Reagan presidency, which marked what political scientists Merle and Earl Black dubbed “the great white switch.” In 2008 and 2012, roughly three-quarters of white born-again Christians supported GOP nominees John McCain (73 percent) and Mitt Romney (78 percent). In the 2010 midterm election, similar numbers of white born-again Christians (77 percent) supported the GOP House candidate in their districts.
During the heady days of evangelical prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, white evangelical Protestant leaders frequently noted the decline of their more liberal mainline Protestant cousins, but now white evangelicals are seeing their own populations shrink. In recent years, for example, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest evangelical denomination in the country, has reported steady declines in membership and new baptisms. Since 2007, the number of white evangelical Protestants nationwide has slipped from 22 percent in 2007 to 18 percent today.
A look at generational differences demonstrates that this is only the beginnings of a major shift away from a robust white evangelical presence and influence in the country. While white evangelical Protestants constitute roughly three in 10 (29 percent) seniors (age 65 and older), they account for only one in 10 (10 percent) members of the Millennial generation (age 18-29). In the last few national elections, however, because of high levels of voter turnout, white evangelical Protestants have managed to maintain an outsized presence at the ballot box according to national exit polls, representing roughly one-quarter of voters.
But the fact that there are currently five Southern states—Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina— where polling shows that the Senate race margins are less than five percentage points indicates that 2014 may be the year that the underlying demographic trends finally exert enough force to make themselves felt. These changes are evident in analysis based on the American Values Atlas, a massive interactive online map of demographic and religious diversity in America based on 45,000 interviews conducted throughout 2013, created by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Social Science Research Solutions.
White Evangelical Protestant Decline in Five Key Southern States (2007-2013)
In Georgia, where Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn is battling Republican candidate David Perdue for retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss’s seat, white evangelical Protestants made up 30 percent of the population in 2007 but that number is currently down to 24 percent.
The proportion of white evangelicals in Kentucky has plunged 11 points, from 43 percent to 32 percent; here Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces the Democratic Alison Grimes, the secretary of state.
In Louisiana, where Republican Representative Bill Cassidy is up against three-term Democrat Mary Landrieu, white evangelicals have slipped from being 24 percent of the population to 19 percent.
Arkansas and Georgia have also witnessed significant declines in the numbers of white mainline Protestants, who also lean toward supporting Republican candidates in the South.
Two forces account for the declining proportions of white evangelical and mainline Protestants: the growth of non-black ethnic minorities and, perhaps surprisingly, the growth of the religiously unaffiliated across the South. Notably, each of these growing constituencies leans decidedly toward Democratic candidates. For example, in 2007, the religiously unaffiliated constituted 12 percent each of the populations of Kentucky and North Carolina. By 2013, the percentage of unaffiliated Kentuckians had jumped nine points to 21 percent, and the percentage of unaffiliated North Carolinians had jumped to 17 percent. While increases in the proportions of the religiously unaffiliated in Arkansas, Georgia, and Louisiana fall short of statistical significance, the patterns all point in the same direction.
So what does this mean for the 2014 elections? Certainly, events on the ground are still paramount; the campaign machines and peculiarities of candidates matter. And in low-turnout elections such as the midterms, the real weight of these demographic and religious shifts will not yet be fully felt at the ballot box. White evangelical Protestants have a strong turnout record, while non-black ethnic minorities and particularly the religiously unaffiliated are much less likely to vote. PRRI’s pre-election American Values Survey found that while two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants report that they were absolutely certain to vote in the November elections, less than half (45 percent) of the religiously unaffiliated report this kind of certainty. But the underlying trends indicate that at least one reason why there are a number of close elections across the South is the declining dominance of white evangelical Protestants, the most stalwart of GOP supporters.
1. Everyone In Rochester Eats Garbage And Loves It
Source: Flickr user Eugene Peretz
The finest of Rochester delicacies is, without a doubt, the Garbage
Plate. Take a moment and think of every cheat food you can think of. Now
pile them on a platter and add Rochester hot sauce. That’s the height
of comfort food that is the garbage plate.
2. In Rochester Abbott’s Custard = Summertime
Source: Abbott’s Frozen Custard via Facebook
Just started juicing? Going full vegan? Paleo diet? Here comes
Abbott’s to ruin all of that for you right now. Rochester loves Abbott’s
not simply because of their delicious custard, but because when that
open sign turns on, it means winter is finally over (probably)!
3. To Folks In Rochester Wegman’s Isn’t Simply A Grocery Store, It’s A Way Of Life
What can be said about Wegman’s that hasn’t already been shouted from
the mountaintops? It’s unlikely that there’s a grocery store anywhere
with as strong a following. If you moved away from Rochester, it’s the
first thing you miss most about the city.
4. In Rochester “The Boss” Isn’t Springsteen, It’s A Tasty Sauce That Goes On Everything
The commercial says it all—Boss Sauce goes on everything. You know
it’s popular if it comes in a giant glass jug like the one at 0:25. Country Sweet is an alternative, just not an acceptable one.
5. Top Three Words That Prove You’re From Out Of Town: “Soda,” “Freeway,” and “Hamburger”
Here’s the quick rundown, to try and fit in with the rest of the crowd in Rochester: A: “Soda” is what you cook with. “Pop” is what you drink. B: “Freeway” is some kind of West Coast atrocity. You drive on the “Expressway” C: You might think you’re eating “Hamburger” but everyone knows its just “Ground Steak.”
6. Your Best Friend's Name Is Now Genny And She's A Beer
Source: Genesee Brewery via Facebook
If you walk into any bar in Rochester and order a Bud, Keystone or
Miller, you’re making a mistake. Genesee, founded and brewed right there
in Ra Cha Cha makes a light beer called Genny that is every bit as
good, if not way, way better than the industry big dogs.
7. Two Feet Of Snow? 45 Degrees? Hooray, It’s Rochester Shorts Weather!
Source: Flickr user Nazareth College
The fact that Rochestarians actually take to the icy streets wearing
essentially beach gear actually makes sense when you consider people in
Milwaukee and Chicago were doing the same thing right after the Polar
Vortex passed. But that was just one year. Rochester pulls this stunt
every winter—now that’s hardy.
8. Let’s Be Real, You Were Probably Wearing The Shorts Underneath Your Winter Coat
Rochestarians also know to be ready for anything, weather-wise. Sure,
it looks like it’s going to be a balmy 70 degrees today, but when
you’ve lived here long enough you know that you’ll want to pack a some
snow pants and a parka, just in case.
9. What’s The Best Pie Filling? Cherries, No. Peaches, No. Grapes—Can We Have Seconds?
Source: Flickr user K. B. R.
Fall means pumpkin spice to the rest of the country, but here in
upstate New York, just a stone’s throw from Naples where the Greatest
Grape Pie in the World is judged annually, the sweet smell of sugary
Concord grapes is what really gets folks Instagrammin’.
10. The Phrase “White Hot” Makes Folks In Rochester Drool
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The white hot is the premier sausage of Upstate New York, and it got
its start in Rochester. Made from quality cut meats, it’s rare for a
Rochesterian to have a white hot with just a bun—they prefer them on
their garbage plates.
11. If Your Buddy Just Drove Through The Can Of Worms, Get ‘Em A Stiff Drink
Source: Wikimedia Commons
If you’ve ever seen an aerial view alone of the Can of Worms (i.e.
the highway connection between 490 and 590), you have massive pity for
anyone unlucky enough to regularly commute through it. It was definitely
not anything you’d send a student driver down.
12. You’d Have To Be Looney Not To Have A Few Canadian Bucks On Hand
Source: Flickr user Jamie McCaffrey
Rochester’s proximity to the Great White North means that it’s easy
to take a trip to Toronto if you like (it’s almost equidistant to NYC,
and in some people’s opinion, better). And if you ever want to go to
Niagara Falls, you’ll want to have a little Canadian change rattling
around in your jeans.
13. People In Rochester Wish That Halloween Happened In July So It Wouldn’t Get Snowed Out
Source: Flickr user Tobin
Sure they can have their primary “sexy” costume set to go, but folks
in Rochester know they always need a winter-friendly “Plan B” costume
ready, too. May we suggest a space heater or a polar bear, should Mother
Nature have her way.
14. Calling In For Work Or Skipping Because Of 18 Inches Of Snow Will Get You Laughed Out Of Rochester
Source: Flickr user Onno Kluyt
After a snowstorm, anywhere else, kids would be rallying around the
radio to see if school will be cancelled, but in Rochester they grit
their teeth and bring out the heavy-duty shovel. It’s a familiar scene
you’ll see all the way down the block.
15. Red Wings Hockey? You Must Not Be From Around Here
Source: Flickr user Thomas Belknap
As far as fans of the local minor league team are concerned, the
Detroit Red Wings are the inferior sports team (more about hockey
later). Y’all remember Cal Ripken, Jr.? He totally played for them
before going up to the Orioles.
16. No, Rochester Doesn’t Have An Accent—Pennsylvania Has An Accent
Source: Youtube user JennaMarbles
If you think that the vowel shift on words like “aunt,” “pajamas,”
and, fittingly, “accent” sound word when a true Rochester native says it
sounds weird, you’ve never heard someone from PA say “yinz.”
17. If Your Neighbors Mention Vinnie And Angelo, They’re Talking About These Clowns
Source: Youtube user logoman57
Back in the ’90s, anytime you plopped yourself in front of the tube,
you were sure to catch Vinnie and Angelo harassing some old woman in a
bid to get you to buy a new Dodge. Their car dealership was almost as
famous as their commercials—a sampling of their whimsical hijinks is
included here for reference and nostalgia purposes. Trust me, if your immediate friends don’t know about them, they’re probably transplants like you.
18. Ra-Cha-Cha Is A Perfectly Acceptable Thing To Call Your City
Source: Flickr user Ryan Hyde
Lilac City, Kodak City, even the occasional Rochiggity come out, but
Ra Cha Cha is definitely the most fun you can have while referencing the
19. If You Visit NYC, People Won’t Have Any Idea Where Your Accent Is From
NYC may as well be its own universe as far as Rochestarians are
concerned. If you ever make a trip downstate, get ready for 20 questions
about where you’re from—you’d think the folks on Manhattan had never
made the trip upstate. Oh wait, that’s probably true.
20. If You’re Waking Up With The Wease, You Aren’t Heading To Weggies For Cough Drops
Source: The Wease Show on 95.1 The Brew via Facebook
Brother Wease has been a local staple for the past 20 years of
Rochester’s 95.1 The Brew. It’s not morning in Rochester without him.
21. Wait, You’re Telling Us Your Version Of Hot Sauce Doesn’t Have Meat In It?
Keep your Frank’s and Tabasco—Rochester knows how to step it up in
the tastiest way possible. It doesn’t get much more Rochester than being
the go-to topping for garbage plates, burgers from Bill Gray’s, and
that get bottled and sold at Wegman’s.
22. If You’re Heading Downhill On Lake Road—You’re Accelerating
This will probably take a few tries before it makes sense, but if
you’re heading downhill on Lake Road, it doesn’t make sense to brake—let
gravity save you a little gas. You’ll be cresting the next hill if you
build up enough momentum. Consider this a tip from the locals.
23. Getting A Whole Christmas Tree Isn’t Necessary In Rochester—Just Put The Lights On A Pole
Source: Youtube user RocPic.Com
Maybe it all started as an environmental effort—there were just too
few evergreens to go around—but the Liberty Pole at the center of town
gets strung up with a web of pretty lights, just as if they were hung
from the branches of some giant tree elsewhere. In many ways it’s
better—it’s just part of what makes Rochester the city it is.
24. You’ll Agree—Rochester Has The Best Cheeseburger
Source: Bill Gray’s via Facebook
Bill Gray’s can put a garbage plate on a bun, but it still doesn’t
compare to their cheeseburger. Started out of a little suburb of the
city, Bill Gray’s now has spots to pick up your favorite ground steak
burger all over western New York.
25. Folks In Rochester Aren't American, They’re Amerks
Source: Flickr user Lets Go Amerks!
The people of Rochester pledge allegiance to the local hockey team the Americans… aka The Amerks.
26. The Very Best Thing About Being A Kid In Rochester Is Going To The Strong Museum
Source: Strong National Museum of Play via Facebook
The Strong Museum is widely held to be one of the best children’s
museums in the whole darn world. What makes it so great? The nation’s
best self-described museum of play has a Lego exhibit, a butterfly
sanctuary the world’s largest collection of electronic games. We really
want to go.
27. Folks In Rochester Can’t Imagine Living Anywhere Else
Source: Flickr user Patrick Ashley
If you grew up in this beautiful city, eating garbage plates and Bill
Ray’s, going to The Strong Museum and rooting for some of the finest
minor league sports in the land, you’d want to come back, too. And
everyone knows that if you grow up in Rochester, even if you want to
leave sometimes, you always know you’ll be coming back. What have you had to explain to out-of-towners about Rochester? Tell us in the comments below!
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might ask? Movoto is an online real estate brokerage based in San Mateo,
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"Frog Hospital" Publisher, Fred Owens in Madrid's Plaza Mayor
Thanks for Frog Hospital.
Your Plaza Mayor photo is splendid.
Glad to hear all is well with you.
My scientist friends - including a Stanford hydrology professor - tell me that hot, dry climate changes now taking place in the American southwest are likely to extend as far north as The Bay Area.
At the moment, I am still in Rochester where local television (I have not had TV for 19 years) is running an advertisement for a Christian "mingling" service: 'Sometimes God takes the initiative. And sometimes God expects you to take the initiative.' The advertisement concludes with this exhortation: "Now, it's your turn!"
Recently, I realized that we humans easily confuse statistical "outliers" with "Divine Providence."
I once contracted with a "drive-away" car company in San Francisco to deliver a pristeen Datsun 280Z to Colonel Mark Fish at the Fort Sheridan Ramada Inn north of Chicago.
I arrived in pre-dawn light and asked the receptionist to ring the Colonel with the news that his car was in the parking lot.
Unexpectedly, the clerk - a confused look on his face handed me the phone.
No sooner had I said "Colonel Fish?" than I got this stentorian reply : "I don't know who the hell you are or what kind of joke you think you're playing! But I DO NOT APPRECIATE being wakened by unknown pranksters at 5 a.m.!"
It had been my plan to transact the transfer, then hitchhike to Ann Arbor for a few days with Michael John Morgan who was doing his poly sci doctorate at UM.
I retreated to a bank of pay phones and called Michael, suggesting he bring his Super 8 camera gear to film what was about to unfold now that I had delivered a $50,000.00 sports car (with Hawaiian plates) and the owner not only refused to take possession of the vehicle but was furious at my supposed prank.
While talking with Michael, the PA system bellowed: "Mr. Archibald. Mr. Alan Archibald. Please come to the reception desk."
I told Micheal I'd get back to him, hung up, and proceeded to Check In.
"I am so sorry Mr. Archibald!" the Ramada agent began. "As it happens we have two Colonel Mark Fish's staying with us this evening."
I suspect the latter... although I understand how easily analogous circumstances might persuade people -- even myself! -- of the former.
I still believe in sub-omnipotent "providence" but encourage you to contemplate the striking congruence between "one in a trillion" events and homo sapiens' widespread belief that such anomalies "must" have been intended by the intervening "hand of God."
Now, it's our turn.
Do we expect God to "take out the trash" forever?
Not exactly the sort of "personal responsibility" we've come to expect from this generation's Pharisees.
"Yeshua Excoriates Fellow Pharisees: "The Woe Passages"
PS I am glad you pointed out that the conquering Moors did not require Christians to convert to Islam. I would have been even happier had you noted Isabella y Ferdinando's ultimatum to Islamics: "Convert or emigrate." In this regard, the following history is essential:
"1492: Caliph Bayezid II Offers A Home To All Jews and Islamics Expelled From Spain"
I was fortunate to get a plane ticket
to Madrid for ten days, in the company of my daughter who works for Boeing.
My daughter left from Seattle and I
left from Los Angeles. We arranged to meet in Madrid at the B & B at 5
Calle Los Estudios, only a few blocks from the La Latina subway station.
I took the subway from the airport, rather
than a cab. A cab would have been 25 to 30 Euros. The subway was only 5 Euros.
I navigated successfully, making two
changes, finally getting on the Green Line to La Latina, which is a sort of Left
Bank neighborhood, site of the famed La Rastra flea market.
I greeted my daughter, entered the B
& B, cleaned up from the journey, and then we headed to the street for a
coffee, café con leche.
I enjoyed being in Spain. I spoke
Spanish to everyone. They were glad to hear me say it. I was very glad to
understand them. There is something about the Castilian dialect that is music
to my ears.
La Latina is a densely crowded
district. There was a constant stream of local people walking in every
direction past the café. Walking and talking.
I observed the man sitting in the lottery
booth, hardly bigger than an old phone booth. It is the world’s dullest job, I
I introduced myself by name to waiter,
which is not the custom, but it is my custom, and we struck up a
conversation. He was a handsome young man and muy agradable.
He welcomed us to Madrid and we felt
relaxed and grateful to be there.
I have so much more to say about my
journey, but pressing financial obligations require my presence at work this
week, so I will have to postpone this composition.
I can add this small piece about the
Iberian people -----
Local Iberian shaman
hosts American visitor at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
bit of history. It was the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks who discovered and
settled Iberia many centuries before the time of Christ. Ready to greet these
visitors when they came ashore were the Neolithic Iberian tribes with their
druids and masks.
the Romans came to conquer, to build roads and viaducts and cities, to unify
this vast province, and to impose the Latin language on the local people.
the Iberians became assimilated to Roman culture, and the Latin language
developed a local dialect which became the precursor to Spanish.
Roman Empire crumbled and the Visigoths invaded and took over and founded a
Christian kingdom which ruled Iberia for some centuries.
the 700s, the Arab/Moslems crossed over from Africa and swept the Visigothic
rulers aside, ruling Iberia, or parts of it, for 700 years. They did not
enforce a conversion to Islam, but it helped you get ahead in the world,
if you crossed over from being Christian.
Isabella and Ferdinand drove the Moslems out of Spain and back to Africa. Many
people found it convenient to convert back to Jesus -- "convenient"
these monarchs, our beloved Isabella and Ferdinand, funded the expeditions of
Christopher Columbus to the New World.
matter what you think of the Admiral and his voyages, it is good to place him
in a historical context. It is good to remember that the Iberian people have
always lived in Spain, having been invaded and conquered more than once.
this old fool still dances in the Plaza.
am back in Santa Barbara. The punishing drought continues and the garden is
suffering. We pray and hope for rain.
am reading Bleak House. I am halfway
through this masterpiece, but the plot is eluding my understanding. I must stop
the reading and consult an Internet source, some sort of Wikipedia cheat sheet
on the story. Normally I let Dickens write as he pleases, but this time I need
All is Well
is well on the home front. Good health, good family, good friends. We’re
beginning to make Thanksgiving and Christmas plans.