How Democrats should talk to evangelicals

Interesting piece in today’s New York Times. T.M. Luhrmann, author of the just-released When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, explains how Democratic leaders and evangelicals talk past each other. She makes the case that Democratic leaders pitch their argument in pragmatic terms and appeal to outcomes. Evangelicals, by contrast, invoke language related to transformation, virtue, and journey. She ends by arguing that evangelicals and Democrats aren’t as far apart as most think–and that language could bridge the chasm:

To be sure, they won’t connect to every evangelical. But the good news for secular liberals is that evangelicals are smarter and more varied than many liberals realize. I met doctors, scientists and professors at the churches where I studied. They cared about social justice. They cared about the poor. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many of them got into their cars and drove to New Orleans. This is a reachable population, and back in 2008, a quarter of white evangelicals voted for Mr. Obama. Democrats could speak to evangelicals more effectively if they talked about how we could develop our moral character together as we work to rebuild our country.

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