The WSJ’s Naomi Schaefer Riley interviews Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He can’t support Giuliani, could support Romney, and rather likes Fred Thompson.
"Evangelicals would be very happy if Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback or Duncan Hunter were the nominee, but the problem with those three guys is they don’t give any indication they can win." And he adds, "With Hillary Clinton looming on the horizon, electability is a very important issue."
If Mr. Giuliani does somehow win the nomination, Mr. Land predicts that "you will see a drop in evangelical participation in the presidential election and in races below that." Sounding more like a preacher warning of a coming plague, Mr. Land says, "even if the alternative is Hillary," a lot of evangelicals will stay home.
Returning to his political wonk persona, Mr. Land notes that in 2006, about a quarter of voters identified as white evangelicals, and 70% of them voted for Republicans. The three quarters who didn’t identify as white evangelicals voted 61-37 for Democrats. Which means, according to Mr. Land, "that Republicans can’t win elections just with evangelicals, but without them, Republicans face a loss of apocalyptic proportions."
I’m not certain that I agree with the last point, as it assumes that no Republican could do better than GWB did with non-evangelical voters. Wouldn’t Giuliani do better than GWB with non-evangelicals, especially since evangelicals seem to be allergic to him? And doesn’t HRC have her own problems with folks other than evangelicals?