I don’t know how it took me so long to figure this out, but I think I’ve finally done it. Strangely, it was a web-adapted report from Tom Brokaw, containing virtually no information I didn’t already know, that tipped me off. Soft, out-of-touch liberals are always asking themselves: How could America have elected a president who seemed so unqualified in 2000? And how could the country have re-elected a president who seemed like he had done such a bad job in 2004? Many answers have been bandied about: cheating, dirty politics, demagoguery, Clinton backlash, the inherent lack of marketability of the alternatives. And there’s some truth to all of those. But the more I think about it, the more I come to realize there’s only one real answer.
What if a Jewish candidate ran for president? As someone with a long personal history of Jewish experience, I can tell you that pretty much every Jew in America would vote for him. Politics wouldn’t matter — only pride. Short of a big Jewish political faux pas — suggesting he’d institute an anti-Israel policy, for example — that candidate would be guaranteed a good 90 percent of the Jewish vote.
But Jews are only about 2 percent of the American population — as a group with a long history of civic responsibility, they’re about 4 percent of the voting public. Evangelical Christians are almost 25 percent of the population. And sure enough, 78 percent of evangelicals voted for Bush in 2004. They voted for one of their own. Seventy-eight percent of 25 percent is a pretty insurmountable number, and it’s likely that 78 percent of that group will always vote for an evangelical for president if one is running. Now, it might occur to you that Catholics are a huge voting bloc, and they didn’t come out en masse for Kerry in ’04. But Jews and evangelicals have one thing in common: a persecution complex, which Catholics don’t have. It makes them band together. Remember also that the very definition of Evangelical Christianity implies that religion is the most important thing in an one’s life — arguably, nothing else is important at all except in how it connects to Christianity. The only thing that matters in choosing a president is how good he’d be for the cause of Jesus. And who better to raise the banner of Christ in America than someone who has the exact same opinions and ideas about Christ as you? Someone who labels himself just like you do?
That’s it. No national-security issues, no moral issues, even. They vote for him because of what he is. And any other candidate who has the same thing is going to be elected, too — every time. When Bush was running for president in 1999 and 2000, the evangelical movement made a big deal about how they were going to elect the first born-again president (even though Jimmy Carter was born again, but don’t look for anything “reality based” here). We may very well have seen our last non-evangelical president, at least for a long time.