Monday, October 12, 2015


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     As we move into the 2016 primary election cycle, the focus turns to who the nominees for the two major parties will be in next year’s open presidential race.  Former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite on the Democrat side.  On the GOP side where the field is large and the campaigning is spirited, the favorite is not yet clear.  Donald Trump continues to lead most polls, but four months before the first primary(Iowa caucus), it’s still too early to declare the Donald the nominee. 
     Much has been made about poll results and while polls are historically accurate, they obviously only reflect the views of those polled.  Many of the polls being referenced in the media today are not concentrating on the ‘primary’ voter and are polling all Republican voters. 
     Primary voters are a very special group.   They show up and vote in every election, including primaries.  According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, turnout in the 2012 presidential primaries were the lowest on record- only 15.9 percent of the eligible citizens to vote in the primary actually showed up.
     “Turnout reached record lows for presidential election years in 15 of 41 states which held statewide primaries in both parties. Democratic turnout dropped to record lows in 26 of 41 primaries. In the 46 states where Republican primaries were held, there were eight record lows and three record highs,” the group said.  What is driving the apathy in voters?  Why are they staying home?  The simple answer is that many don’t see any difference in their government no matter who is elected.  But those primary voters still show up and vote.  Who are these primary voters and what is important to them?   
     According to the United States Election Project, the typical primary voter is 50 years or older with a college education.  In the GOP, the primary voter is often motivated by their values.  Traditional marriage and abortion are important issues to the typical GOP primary voter.  They are concerned about the economy and the overreach of government, but their top issues are values oriented.
     That is why you will often see GOP presidential candidates quoting scripture at a debate or in a speech and citing the importance of their faith.  You seldom see that on the Democrat side.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the Democrat is not a Christian or that faith isn’t important to them, but that is not important to the Democrat primary voter.  Value voters are almost exclusively on the GOP side.  Trying to connect/identify with the voter is the ultimate goal of a presidential candidate, so you will see more Republican presidential candidates talking about their faith than Democrats. 
     Two weeks ago, a Value Voters Summit was held in Washington D.C. and Senator Ted Cruz won the straw poll, for the third year in a row, with Dr. Ben Carson finishing second.  That makes sense because many of the attendees identify with both of them.  For Cruz, the son of a Baptist preacher, and Carson, a devout Seventh-day Adventist, talking about their faith comes natural and not rehearsed. 
     Value voters can detect a ‘panderer’ very quickly, but that doesn’t stop every GOP primary candidate- at all levels- to try and convince ‘values voters’ they attend church three times a week, tithe, read the scriptures, pray, and that God is the most important thing in their life.  Sometimes the attempts by candidates are humorous when it becomes apparent their devotion is nothing but theatre, but it is more tragic when primary voters are taken in by people with less than stellar ethics and or convictions. 
     Truth is, everyone has a belief system and that belief system is primarily what guides their decision making process.  The job of the every voter is to determine what a candidate’s belief system is- what is their worldview?  Elected officials should be basing their decisions on the principles and precepts found in God’s Word.  They should be for the things He is for and against the things He is against.  If our elected leaders let that be their guide, perhaps God will forgive America of our wickedness and heal our land.      

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