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National update: Grumpy old men

The results from a national survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), released earlier this year, reveal the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as white evangelicals — the core of the MAGA sect — continues to decline. In 2006, white evangelical protestants made up nearly one-quarter of all Americans. By 2016, that number had dipped to 16.8%. Today, only 13.6% of Americans identify as white evangelicals.

This shrinking segment of the population is largely composed of MAGA supporters — including legions of grumpy old men and perhaps some equally irritable women, whose status in this group is clearly not equal to that of their menfolk (see Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization).

In normal times, this would be good news. Yet, as the PRRI survey revealed, evangelical Christians seem not to care their numbers are in decline. Far from reaching out with offers of legitimate Christian values to Americans outside their sphere, they appear to be doubling down with diehard support for anti-abortion laws, LGBTQ-bashing, outright racism and Donald Trump.

Equally unfathomable is why the mainstream of the Republican Party continues to bask in the support of this diminishing segment of our population — at the expense of us all. According to Ballotpedia, Republicans hold 54.93% of state legislative seats, while Democrats occupy 44.5%. Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s mansion in 22 states.

This is why the 2024 election is so important. Not only will it be vital to make sure Democrats control the White House and Congress, but we can help determine who makes up North Carolina’s General Assembly and who will be our next governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

As was true in past elections, North Carolina is once again considered a swing state whose electoral fortunes are tied to the fate of the entire nation. We have an opportunity to replace the red tide of Republican encroachment with a blue wave of Democratic progress.

The strength of any national political party lies in the vitality of its base. Without the support and commitment of citizens at the local level, national political organizations cannot succeed. It’s important for Democrats to unite at every level — especially at the precincts, whose members make up the strength of the party at the county, state and national levels.

The road to electoral success will be bumpy. It won’t be easy to overcome the zealots who make up today’s GOP — even though their numbers appear to be diminishing. But that’s no reason to ignore the need to organize in common cause and send the grumpy old men and their allies into retirement.


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