You’d think that a guy like Ted Cruz has absolutely no shot at winning the presidency, but coming to that conclusion means ignoring one of the most recent disasters in American history. That disaster, of course, was George W. Bush.
George W. Bush was able to win the election in 2000 by pandering to one specific block of Republican voters, and that was the religious right. Of course, we all know that Bush did not actually win the 2000 election, but the only reason that it even came close was because Bush cast himself as the most religious choice in that election, posing as the so-called “family values candidate.”
Fast forward 15 years, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing happen with Ted Cruz. While most of the Republican field is in the middle of a competition to see who can offend the most races, Cruz is meeting with religious leaders, securing multi-million dollar donations to his Super PACs.
Just last month, Cruz received a staggering $15 million dollar donation for Super PACs supporting his candidacy from religious institutions. Speaking at conservative religious institutions like The American Family Association, Cruz is telling his uber-religious supporters that mobilizing Christian voters is the only way to secure America’s future.
Just one week ago, Cruz hosted a Rally for Religious Liberty in Iowa, hoping to mobilize the religious fringe in that state ahead of the upcoming caucus.
But there’s a very big difference between the atmosphere of Bush in the 2000 election and Cruz in the 2016 election in terms of the religious right. While its true that Christian Conservatives are attempting to mobilize greater numbers after several election cycles of staying more silent than usual, the main difference today is that atheism and agnosticism are no longer seen as social stigmas, at least not to the extent that they were just a decade ago. The rise of social media and citizens media has given non-religious people a place to air their opinions, as well as to team up with like-minded individuals, letting them know that they are not alone.
So the religious right may be trying to make a come back, but religious affiliation in the United States is falling, and religious talking points are not going to be enough to convince voters to support another Texas political dimwit. We still remember how it ended the first time…