Discover more from Weekend Reading
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Sources of MAGA Madness and Congressional Kakistocracy
How White Christian political might made the Republican Party hard right, in 8 charts
The Republican majority in the House continues to scale new heights of dysfunction and disregard for democratic norms. Unfortunately, that dumpster fire continues to distract most observers from recognizing or wholly acknowledging the consequences of another step forward for the MAGA movement. While “only” two-thirds of the Republican Caucus voted against the electoral votes on January 6th, 2021, the entire Caucus has just installed Mike Johnson – who played a pivotal role in legitimizing Trump’s election-denying crimes – as Speaker of the House, just two heartbeats away from the presidency.
As this post will make clear, we should not be surprised to see an election-denying Evangelical Christian who favors a national abortion ban, Bible courses in public schools, and “covenant marriage,” and who believes that LGBTQ people are living an “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle,” elevated to the Speakership.1 That’s because the primary driver for both the GOP Caucus’s dysfunction and its incipient fascism has been building in plain sight for at least the last dozen years: the political might of organized right-wing Christianity, successfully redeployed against establishment Republicans (“RINOs”).
The (Political) Great Awakening: It’s the White Christian Nationalism, Stupid
MAGA and the Religious Right share a commitment to what experts call white Christian nationalism (abbreviated as WCN in this post), a movement to enforce traditional hierarchies of race and gender and make the United States an officially Christian nation. (See Appendix V for further reading on WCN.) When thinking about “white Christian nationalism,” some might imagine only fringe fanatics like the tiki-torch marchers in Charlottesville. But the expression of WCN ideology is not always that vulgar – it’s often preached from the pulpits of megachurches, and an adherent now wields the Speaker’s gavel of the House of Representatives.
As the eight charts below will clearly show, the congressional districts with the highest concentrations of Evangelical voters (the overwhelming majority of whom support Christian nationalism2) are also the districts where the MAGA movement has been most successful at “hacking” the GOP primary process, driving out more-qualified “establishment” or “RINO” Republicans through historic numbers of primary challenges and early retirements. Those incumbents have been replaced by only the most fervent WCN ideologues, who often have no experience or interest in governing. The inevitable result is the least qualified, least experienced majority caucus since at least the end of World War II. In short, a kakistocracy, or government by the least competent.3
Crucially, this transformation was nearly complete before Trump came on the scene. White Christian nationalists – who were once reliable votes and loyal foot soldiers for almost any Republican candidate since the 1970’s – rebelled when John McCain and other establishment Republicans treated Obama’s win as legitimate. Since then, the political muscle provided by the WCN’s extensive church-based infrastructure in congressional districts, and its national reach through Christian broadcasting and national organizations, has turned MAGA into a ruthlessly successful RINO-hunting machine.
Thus, by the time Trump was sworn in, two-thirds of the Republican Caucus had been elected since 2008 – nearly the most rapid turnover in post-War history, compared to just half in the fourth cycle after the Gingrich revolution. Now, those elected since 2008 constitute 85 percent of the current Republican Caucus, which is also nearly unprecedented.
So, as you read this post, ask yourself: In their panic about a “Great Awokening” capturing the Democratic Party, has the media completely missed the actual Great Awakening that has fully captured the Republican Party?
Thanks for reading Weekend Reading ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
This post has three parts: 1) The charts – which I hope will convince you that, in fact, Mike Johnson becoming Speaker is better understood in terms of the ongoing white Christian nationalist takeover of the American government through MAGA (rather than, as it has been, the quirky result of a bickering caucus); 2) An explanation of the most important reasons the Christian coup has remained hidden in plain sign for so long; 3) A longer elaboration on the “Kakistocracy Caucus” data outlined in Chart 6. Additional data, methodology, and further reading can be found in the appendices.
Finally, to be clear, I’m not arguing that Evangelical density alone explains everything, or that all Evangelicals are necessarily white Christian nationalists. Of course, there’s more to it than what I’ll describe here. (After all, this is just a Substack, albeit a notoriously long and comprehensive one.) For instance, Fox and the right-wing media echo chamber offer tasty carrots to reckless bomb throwers and wield a big stick against those who don’t toe the ideological line.4 But those developments were also driven by the WCN movement.5 In addition, this approach necessarily leaves out the very important role of Roman Catholic white nationalism as there is no comparable data by congressional district. But their role in the overall Christian Coup has been central, especially on the Supreme Court.
PART I: How White Christian Nationalism Hacked Congress, in 8 Charts
I will start off with the charts highlighting the main points; the rest of the post and appendices will offer more detail and context. I use Evangelical church population density6 to classify the congressional districts that are most ripe for WCN/MAGA candidates.7 When I refer to the “Most Evangelical” districts, I mean the districts that are in the top two quintiles of Evangelical density, and by “Least Evangelical” I mean the remaining three quintiles.8 (For more on the rationale for this, see Appendix I.)
Chart 1: The WCN Primary Hack
From 2010 through 2022, a historically high number of House Republicans were defeated in primaries, with the vast majority of successful challenges happening in the Most Evangelical districts. Indeed, since at least 1968 to this day, successful challenges in the Least Evangelical districts have been rare. They also used to be rare in the Most Evangelical districts – until 2010.9
Consider that over the last seven cycles, candidates needed an average of only 55,000 votes (about 10 percent of eligible voters) to defeat incumbents in those Republican primaries. But they also needed to raise an average of $2 million to do it – and required even more from disclosed independent expenditures and undisclosed dark money. In other words, to get to Congress, they didn’t need many voters, but they did need local and national institutional support.
Since all but 20 members of the Caucus represent a reliably Republican district ,10 the white Christian nationalist movement effectively gets to “hack” the Caucus by deciding who goes to Congress, or at least exercising a veto over who is on the ballot. By wielding disproportionate influence on the Republican primaries, the white Christian nationalist movement also wields disproportionate influence over who goes to Congress and who doesn’t.
Chart 2: The WCN/MAGA Lock on the Republican Caucus
Representatives from the Most Evangelical districts have a tight grip on the Republican House Caucus. In the following chart, each bar represents a congressional district; those held by Democrats are blue, and those held by Republicans are red. The seats with the greatest Evangelical density are overwhelmingly Republican, and those with the lowest are Democratic.
Republicans represent nearly every one of the highest density Evangelical districts (93% of the top quintile). Additionally, the overwhelming majority of the Republican House Caucus (70%) represents the Most Evangelical districts (top two quintiles). Thus, we can see that a group that represents about 15% of the US population commands 70% of the districts comprising the majority party in the House of Representatives. See Appendix III for more on this data.
Chart 3: The Stages of the Conquest
It wasn’t always the case that the GOP House Caucus so overwhelmingly represented the Most Evangelical districts. Before the Gingrich revolution, only 43 percent of the Republican Caucus represented the Most Evangelical districts, barely more than the top two quintiles definitially account for (40 Percent). There was almost no increase in the share accounted for by the Most Evangelical Districts in the Reagan Era, but it soared in the Gingrich and MAGA Eras and now accounts for 70 percent of the Caucus.
Republicans’ dramatic increased success in the Most Evangelical districts is one of the most important (but never acknowledged) elements driving the widely understood realignment of the parties. (For more, see Congressional “Class Inversion” or Sectional Reversion?)
Chart 4: The Republican Caucus Races Right
The DW-Nominate scoring system is the most commonly accepted measure of the ideology of members of Congress.11 A higher positive number means more conservative, and a lower negative number means more liberal. Between 2008 and 2022, the score for the Republican Caucus as a whole increased from 0.46 to 0.55. This is unsurprising and has been reported widely. Indeed, as Lee Drutman and others have shown, the Republicans have moved so far right they are in “uncharted territory.” The Republican Caucus is racing right because (a) a greater share of the caucus is from the Most Evangelical districts (Chart 3) and (b) those representing the Most Evangelical districts are substantially more conservative than their predecessors. Indeed, representatives from the Least Evangelical districts are only slightly more conservative in the MAGA Era than they were in the Gingrich Era. (Before the Reagan Era, the average Republican nominate score was .28 and .32 in the Least and Most Evangelical districts, respectively.)
It is also worth paying attention to the horizontal blue bars, which reflect the change to Democrats’ nominate scores. As you can see, Democrats have moved to the left in the Gingrich and MAGA periods as well, but only half as much so.
Chart 5: White Christian Nationalism Is Driving Election Denial and MAGA Extremism
The “most MAGA” Republicans – the election deniers and the ideological militants – represent the Most Evangelical districts - 75 percent of election deniers (the graph on the left, where red bars represent election-denying Republican members and gray bars represent is the other Republicans), as well as 74 percent of the far-right Freedom Caucus (the graph on the right, where red bars represent Freedom Caucus members, gray bars represent those in “moderate” caucuses, and blank spaces represent those who are not in any of those caucuses).
See Appendix IV for more on this data.
Chart 6: The Kakistocracy Caucus
There are several ways to quantify how inexperienced and ill-equipped today’s MAGA House Republicans are to govern. Moving through Chart 6 in clockwise order, beginning in the top left:
Republican representatives now have the least experience in Congress on average than either party since the end of World War II.
Compared to the last caucus of the Gingrich majority, the 2020 Republican Caucus has far less prior experience in business, law, or public service – fields that tend to be good precursors to serving in Congress.12
When Republicans have been the majority, their committee chairs in the current era have been notably less experienced than during the Gingrich years, and have never had as much experience as Democrats.
Similarly, whey they have held the majority, MAGA Era leaders have been less experienced than Gingrich Era leaders, and again, have been far less experienced than Democratic leaders when they have had the majority. And now, Johnson, a fourth-termer, becomes the least experienced Speaker in 140 years.
Read on in the post for more about this data.
Chart 7: Local WCN Power = More Votes for MAGA
We should expect white Evangelicals to provide about the same level of support to Republicans wherever they live. In Chart 7, the horizontal bar at zero represents Trump’s margin of victory with all white Evangelicals nationwide – about 50 points, or 75-25, according to Nationscape.
But, as you can see, the likelihood of a white Evangelical voting for Trump in 2020 very much depended on how many other white Evangelicals there were in their congressional district and in their state.
There was a whopping 35-point spread in the margin of Trump support between white Evangelicals who lived in the most Evangelical-dense states and districts, and those who lived in the least dense states and districts.13
That’s roughly the size of the much-ballyhooed diploma divide. In other words, the difference in support for Trump between whites with and without a college degree is about as large as the difference between white Evangelicals who live in the most WCN-dominant areas and those who live in the least WCN-dominant areas.14
Chart 8: The Most Evangelical Districts Elect the Most MAGA Representatives
The shift of white non-college voters to Republicans and white-college voters to Democrats since 2008 is one of the most frequently referenced truisms in American political reporting. In previous posts, I’ve shown that while there is certainly correlation, causation is wildly exaggerated and other explanations are ignored. And much attention is properly paid to the urban-rural divide. So, while it is true that both “divides” are accurately associated with the demographic and geographic shifts in both parties’ congressional bases, Chart 8 shows those factors do very little to explain why Republican members of Congress have become so much more conservative.
The top two panels in Chart 8 show that holding the educational attainment or the urbanicity of congressional districts constant, the representatives elected from the Most Evangelical districts compile much more conservative voting records than those from the Least Evangelical districts, according to the Nominate system. This reflects the already-described WCN hack.
The bottom right panel of Chart 8 shows that the extent of those differences in voting records between the Most and Least Evangelical districts, holding constant educational attainment, grew substantially after 2008, when organized WCN in those districts became active and effective in primaries. Indeed, the remaining Republicans from the “least-least” are now substantially less conservative than they were in 2008, while those from the least white non-college, but the Most Evangelical districts have not changed much. In the final panel, we see the number of seats gained by Republicans since the 111th Congress, with the overwhelming number coming from those “most-most” districts that were the most white non-college and the Most Evangelical. They actually lost seats in the Least Evangelical districts, even if those districts were also the most white non-college districts.
Part II: The Christian Coup, Hiding in Plain Sight
In this Part, I want to explain why most of our media and experts have ignored the Christian Coup in Congress.
Reason One: Don’t Look Behind the Curtain
Imagine movie critics who either did not know, or did not care to know, that movies have producers, script writers, directors, financiers, or casting directors, and so based their reviews on the premise that it was the actors alone who created the storyline, dialogue and mise en scene, and that the most successful actors were those who best understood the audience. That is essentially how all politics is covered in 21st century America.
In other words, there is an interest group competition for control of each party that takes place at the candidate selection level. That competition is even more consequential for the policy priorities of each party than voters’ (actually quite malleable) preferences. Today’s House Republican Caucus reflects the fact that the MAGA/WCN faction has crowded out the more traditional pro-business faction in primaries across the country. This has fundamentally realigned not only the Republican Caucus but also our entire politics, as the GOP loses more moderate districts while consolidating its power with WCN districts. (See, for example, Dan Cox and Geoff Diehl.15)
I’ve talked to plenty of recognized experts on politics who can rattle off statistics about the segmentation of the Republican electorate – like how many white or Latino non-college voters are Republicans, or how highly those voters ranked issues like the economy or abortion in a survey. Yet those same experts have little or no ability to offer a similar taxonomy of Republican donors or other interest groups – like which industries are involved, what their priorities are, why they support the candidates they do, why those candidates advance their interests, and how their involvement influences voters’ choices.
We think of voters as the deciders of elections – but we rarely talk about how voters’ choices are either influenced or constrained by the producers. One of the most important examples of this is which candidates are on the ballot for voters to choose from in the first place.
As Katherine Stewart’s essential reporting has documented, white Christian nationalism employs a “vast machine” to advance its interests in America. It is a massive political organizing network, led by organizations like the Family Research Council with tens of millions of dollars in annual funding, that turns pastors into GOTV operatives for Republicans, supported by sophisticated data and voter targeting infrastructure. According to a Pew survey, 71 percent of white Evangelicals reported that their pastor delivered at least one sermon on politics in the 2020 election, and nearly a third of Evangelical churches went as far as to put political material on their websites.
It’s worth noting that white Christian nationalism is still not the sole power in the Republican Party. WCN is part of a revanchist coalition with right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers and Betsy DeVos. The billionaire wing shares the WCN ideological commitments to a point, and in fact has been providing it needed funding all along. In return, the religious right has actively backed the plutocratic agenda, finding biblical justifications for free market capitalism, and aggressively attacking labor. For example, the Family Research Council poured resources into defending Scott Walker’s bill to gut public employees in Wisconsin. (For more on the symbiotic relationship between white Chrisitian Nationalism and the plutocratic right, see Appendix V.)
However, corporate America still needs a stable society to do business in, and that segment of the alliance has started to balk at the Kakistocracy Caucus. (Doubly so for wealthy business interests that are Republican-aligned but not particularly ideological.) We’ve seen examples of this dynamic playing out in the Supreme Court’s Moore v. Harper ruling, for instance, as well as the kind of “reasonableness” on the debt ceiling that cost McCarthy his job.
Reason Two: It’s the House of REPRESENTATIVES, not a National Constituent Assembly
Mainstream discourse is so focused on analyzing and segmenting the policy preferences of national voters that it misses the bigger picture – that members of Congress represent particular people, institutions, and business interests in particular places. That members of Congress work in a body called the House of Representatives should be a dead giveaway. Members of Congress don’t decide what to do by reading national polls; indeed, most of them go back to their districts almost every week, which is why they usually have a three-day work week in DC.
The United States has one of the most stubbornly federalist systems of government – yet the media and most of academia cover politics through the lens of national surveys, as if sub-national borders are inconsequential. (In All Politics Are Local, All Political Data Are National, I showed that – shocker – voters of nearly every demographic, not just Evangelicals, have significantly different partisan preferences depending on where they live.)
It may come as a surprise to most opinionators, but the Constitution does not allocate seats in the House to white non-college voters and “non-white” voters – but it does to voters in Tupelo and Akron.
Reason Three: We Don’t Talk About Bruno
In our discourse, the weaponization of right-wing Christianity is the elephant in the room, or the uncle in the walls. Even today’s New York Times profile of Mike Johnson, which details his extreme religious views, makes no mention of how prevalent those views are in the Republican Caucus now, nor the WCN movement that put him in the Speaker’s chair.
Certainly, part of the media’s reticence to discuss it derives from the politics of naming any faith in political stories – an almost certain backlash from those in that faith who protest (accurately) that what is being said about those with their faith is not true of them, or the principles of their faith, or the important role leaders in their faith played in progressive movements. (On the other hand, I can’t imagine that the media gets much backlash from those without college degrees who feel that what is being said about them as a group is not true of them, others they know, or the historic role of non-college Americans.) The problem is that the media’s reticence hides from view the enormous influence wielded in our politics today by faith leaders who weaponize their faith and exploit their tax advantages.
With good reason, the media is often criticized for the vast disconnect between the demographic or educational backgrounds of national political reporters/experts and those of the voters they cover or seek to explain. Some of the sharpest criticism of this kind comes from reporters and experts themselves. Yet for all the time they spend kvetching that their colleagues are so hermetically sealed in their coastal elite education bubble that they can’t relate to the more conservative social values of hard-working non-college voters, they don’t realize that they themselves are in a hermetically sealed secular bubble that gives them no appreciation for the profound daily role religion has in very many Americans’ lives, including non-college Americans. Such a mental model has no place for the valence of religion in politics. Voters’ positions on “social” issues are seen as selections made from an ȁ la carte menu, rather than derived from the prix fixe combination of religion and community that orders their lives and infuses their politics.
Moreover, with the near disappearance of local papers feeding national ones, those same groups of reporters and experts have no experience with the practice of local politics, and little exposure to the enormously influential role of religious leaders in devout regions of the country.
Part III: The Kakistocracy Caucus
MAGA Republicans are not only further right wing than their predecessors; they are also much less competent than their predecessors This is because, systematically, ideological purges have eliminated the most competent among them. It’s not just that MAGA Republicans don’t want to govern; it’s that they don’t know how. And it’s not just that they don’t know how; it’s that they don’t need to know how in order to accomplish their movement’s political objectives. These objectives are mostly being accomplished through courts and state legislatures (unless and until WCN/MAGA can capture the White House and both houses of Congress again).
There are several ways to quantify how inexperienced and ill-equipped today’s MAGA House Republicans are to govern.
Before Christian nationalists turned their attention to Republican primaries, typical resumes of those getting the Republican nomination for Congress included service in the state legislature, other local offices, or corporate law. For those seeking the Republican nomination, the non-negotiable prerequisites were absolute commitment to cut taxes and slash regulation – and some evidence of competence. Lip service to the Christian nationalist agenda sufficed. But that flipped beginning in 2010. Suddenly, the only non-negotiable boxes were absolute fealty to the Christian nationalist agenda, which included seeing Democrats as too evil to compromise with.
We can see this sea change clearly in the occupational background of Republican members of Congress from the Congress elected in 2008 to the one elected in 2020. As you can see, the percentage of the caucus that had either business/banking, legal, or public service experience decreased by at least 10 points in this period, according to the Brookings Institution.
At first this worked out; there were still enough Republican “adult” holdovers who were elected before 2010. And the business interests had little reason to be concerned; after all, when Obama was in the White House, their only major expectation for the Republican Caucus was that it prevent Democrats from enacting anti-corporate legislation. Beyond that, even after Trump was elected, the business wing’s only feasible legislative goal was more tax cuts.
Less Congressional Experience
In addition to coming to Congress with thinner resumes, the average tenure of today’s Republicans is historically low. The following graph shows the average number of terms that members of each party had in the Congresses elected in those years. The blue line is for Democratic representatives, who in almost every Congress average at least one more term. The bars are for Republican representatives.
Typically, after a major victory, the average number of terms served by representatives from each party decreases; this is logical, since all of the new members bring down the average. For example, Democrats won big in the 1974 midterms, lowering the average number of terms in 1976 because so many had so recently been elected. But then, the average increased steadily as new members were re-elected. You see the same expected pattern after the Republican class that swept in with Reagan in 1980, and in the Gingrich class in 1994. But no similar increase in experience has followed the 2010 MAGA election. Indeed, more than a decade later, the average service for Republican representatives now is nearly the lowest it’s been for either party since the end of World War II.
Historically High Churn
The reason that the average number of terms served by Republicans has stayed so low is what I call “churn,” or the number of freshmen elected over a seven-cycle time span. (Seven cycles is the length of the current Republican phase, 2010 through 2022.) Currently, the churn in Republican membership is the highest it's been since the end of World War II. The blue line represents the number of Democratic freshmen in the previous seven cycles, and the red bars the number of Republican freshmen elected in the same period.
This, is of course, explained by the unprecedented number of successful primary challenges (Chart 1 above) – as well as a spiking in the number of retirements in this period, as many Republican members bowed out to avoid such primaries.
Purging Experienced Leaders
Another way to look at MAGA’s disdain for experience is through what happens to those in leadership positions. Obviously, what’s happening now is essentially unprecedented. In the 32 years beginning in 1955, there were just four Speakers, and they seamlessly passed on the gavel as they retired at 79, 79, 74, and 6816. Since then there have been four Democratic Speakers, of whom Jim Wright is the only one not to have finished his term – owing to the opposition party’s campaign by Newt Gingrich. In the MAGA era, first Boehner and then Ryan, fed up with their caucus, left well before congressional retirement ages.
In his memoir, Boehner wrote:
“It was a story I would see played out over and over again in the next few years. It wasn’t about any so-called principles—it was about chaos. But it was chaos that developed in a predictable pattern: the far-right knuckleheads would refuse to back the House leadership no matter what, but because they were “insurgents” they never had the responsibility of trying to actually fix things themselves. So they got to “burn it all down” and screw up the legislative process, which of course allowed them to continue to complain loudly about how Washington’s spending problem never got solved. That kept their favorite straw man alive to take more hits. And every time they punched him, they got another invitation to go on Fox News or talk radio, or they got another check from their friends in outside groups like DeMint’s outfit. It was their own little private stimulus plan.17”
This can be seen clearly in the average experience of Democratic and Republican leaders and committee chairs. Starting in 2010, the average number of terms served by a Republican committee chair (right hand chart) took a nosedive and then kept declining. The average number of terms served by a Republican majority leadership (left hand chart) inched back up after the initial decline, but didn’t recover as quickly as during the Gingrich years.
Finally, we can only imagine how this is playing out at the staff level if the Trump administration's experience is necessarily reflective of MAGA kakistocracy - think Rudy Guiliani and Sydney Powell.
Our politics has long been far more responsive to the preferences of the wealthy and connected than to the concerns of everyday Americans. The leadership of the white Christian nationalist movement (which often cynically exploits the sincere belief of its followers) also tends to be wealthy and/or connected – and, in our increasingly secular society, perhaps even less responsive to most Americans’ concerns than other interests.
So why do political journalists continue to pretend that our democracy operates with the genuine consent of the governed? Why do they obsess over opinion polls and narrating statistical noise from survey crosstabs? Why does our media engage in increasingly far-fetched Procrustean yarns to explain what is happening to us as if politics works the way our civics textbooks say it should, when it manifestly doesn’t?
Most Americans don’t think our democracy represents them and have rapidly dwindling faith in our institutions. This is because they are paying attention to their daily lives, and how little the government is visibly doing to make their lives better in a meaningful way. For all the justified distress over weaponized disinformation, perhaps the more damaging lie is to maintain the pretense that we are a functioning democracy, or that the Republican Party is a legitimate democratic actor and not the political arm of an increasingly successful fascist movement.
Johnson explained his ascendance: “I don’t believe there are any coincidences. I believe that scripture, the Bible, is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority, he raised up each of you, all of us. And I believe that God has ordained and allowed us to be brought here to this specific moment and time.” Als, see, for example, Christian Nationalism in the Speaker’s Chair, and What everyone should know about the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson
A recent survey by PRRI, in a joint project with Brookings, found that nearly two-thirds of white Evangelical Protestants are supportive of Christian nationalism, much higher than any other group surveyed. And less than 10 percent reject it.
The term “kakistocracy” was widely used to describe the Soviet Union owing the relentless purging of its most competent, leaving only the most sycophantic to survive and enrich themselves. The term was revived to describe the Trump Administration for fairly obvious reasons, even if Twitter firings replaced firing squads as the employment separation strategy of choice.
See, for example, Yochai Benkler’s Network Propaganda.
As the best accounts of the rise of right wing media make clear (see Nicole Hemmer’s Messengers of the Right and Partisans), this came about both through the early success of Christian broadcasting and right-wing talk radio.
Evangelical density is calculated using ARDA Religious census data of church-reported Evangelical congregants, excluding Black churches and including Latter Day Saints (LDS). Special thanks to Mark Setzler at High Point University for his guidance to WER researchers working with the ARDA data. The methodology used to calculate Evangelical density by CD is similar to that used in his paper “Religious Differences among Congressional Districts and the Success of Women Candidates.“ Politics & Gender 12(3): 518-548. (2016)
I define Evangelicals as those attending or belonging to a non-Black Evangelical Church or a Latter Day Saints (LDS) temple. The density is based on reported attendance/membership from religious institutions in each district, not necessarily the district in which the attendees reside. (See Appendix II for more on why Latinos are included.) I will use the term white Evangelicals for exclusively white Evangelicals, in cases where that distinction is made in the source polling data.
Because the distribution is a hockey stick, the bottom 60 percent can properly be called “least.”
Likely much further back than 1968, but that’s when my dataset of successful primary challenges begins.
Based on Cook ratings of solid and likely Democratic or Republican seats. This is a result of both geographic sorting and gerrymandering.
2020 is the most recent year for which this is available in a format that is comparable with 2008.
Note that this one chart is based on polling, so the definition of “Evangelical” logically must be based on self-identification, as opposed to the church-reported definitions elsewhere in this post.
Pew’s validated voter study puts the gap at 42 points, while Catalist puts it at 36 points.
The Republican nominees in Maryland and Massachusetts for governor in 2022.
Rayburn, McCormack, O’Neill and Alpert.
Boehner, John. On the House (p. 159). St. Martin's Publishing Group.