Concerned that they’ll end up with Jeb Bush as the Republican presidential candidate, Christian right leaders are straining mightily to get everyone to rally around a single candidate in the GOP clown car to unite behind and push to a glorious victory for Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him).
Fearing that Republicans will ultimately nominate an establishment presidential candidate like Jeb Bush, leaders of the nation’s Christian right have mounted an ambitious effort to coalesce their support behind a single social-conservative contender months before the first primary votes are cast.
In secret straw polls and exclusive meetings from Iowa to California, the leaders are weighing the relative appeal and liabilities of potential standard-bearers like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.
“There’s a shared desire to come behind a candidate,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a national lobbying group that opposes abortion and equal rights for gays.
“It would be early for a group of leaders to come out for a candidate, but not too early for the conversations to begin,” he said…
The efforts to coalesce behind an alternative candidate — in frequent calls, teleconferences and meetings involving a range of organizations, many of them with overlapping memberships — are premised on two articles of conservative faith: Republicans did not win the White House in the past two elections because their nominees were too moderate and failed to excite the party’s base. And a conservative alternative failed to win the nomination each time because voters did not unite behind a single champion in the primary fight.
This is, in fact, a repeat from 2012. And 2008. They said exactly the same thing about Mitt Romney and John McCain and held exactly the same conference calls and made exactly the same speeches about the need to pick a single candidate and get behind them. Guess what? Didn’t happen. Isn’t going to happen this time either. Why? Because they are dealing with ideological purists, for whom a single misstatement or misstep is seen as betrayal.
Who are they going to unite behind? Ben Carson looked like a very plausible candidate. He’s been tossing them red meat for months now. But then he walked back his dumb statement about prisons proving homosexuality is a choice and now Bryan Fischer says he won’t support him and Matt Barber says he’s “dead to me.” Mike Huckabee? He supported Common Core, so he’s out. Rick Santorum? They couldn’t coalesce behind him last time. Nope, they’re going to split their allegiance because that is inevitable.