According to the 2018 Midterm exit poll data, it looks like Evangelicals did their duty and voted for conservative, Republican candidates over their pro-abortion, anti-religious liberty opponents. This matters because of the attempt by evangelical leaders to destroy Christian support for the GOP. Since 2016, evangelical leaders have thrown fits and name called evangelical voters over continued support for the Republican Party.
For many of these leaders, saving the lives of unborn babies was less important than fighting racism or helping immigrants. These leaders ranging from the ERLC in the Southern Baptist Convention to many scholars in the PCA to nondenominational professors at Wheaton College have uniformly worked to weaken the bond of Christian evangelicals with the GOP. It didn’t work. The GOP increased its Senate majority despite a negative midterm environment. Evangelicals helped increase the key Senate majority.
From what I can tell in the exit data, evangelicals were about 27% of the midterm electorate. According to ABC, that matches the all-time midterm high for evangelical voting. Also NBC reported, support was equally strong for Republicans by evangelical men and women.
NBC put it this way, evangelicals were slightly less likely to vote Republican in the midterm, but both evangelical men and women “remain steadfast Republican supporters.”
Another bit of interesting news it seems evangelical voters, according the exit polls, were strongly approving of the president. See this image from NBC showing evangelical women with 74% approval of President Donald Trump.
In the Missouri Senate race where Republicans flipped a Democratic held seat from Claire McCaskill, evangelicals strongly supported the Republican challenger. Evangelicals supported Josh Hawley with about 75-percent of their vote.
What does all this mean? Well, evangelicals continue to be immune to the deceptive and dangerous tactics of progressive evangelical elites. Fortunately, they ignore advice from the likes of Russell Moore and Ed Stetzer and vote for pro-life candidates instead of virtue signaling. Evangelical voters know instinctively that voting for a political candidate in a secular election is not like selecting someone for church membership or pastor.
A vote is not an endorsement of personal conduct or someone’s personal morality. Rather, a vote is a selection of someone to further a specific set of policies. In secular elections, personal sinfulness matters to the Christian voter, but it matters less than sinful public policies. For example, I’d rather have an adulterer like Bill Clinton as president over say Joseph Stalin. Christian voters know you won’t find perfection in any political candidate. So, they settle for the least bad choice on the most important issues. (See our model for How Christians Should Vote.)
However, with our seminaries in both the Southern Baptist Convention and the PCA embracing Liberation-inspired theology (see: The Growing Influence of Liberation Theology and its Anti-Zionism at Southern Baptist seminaries), there will be more progressive pastors misleading churches. Conservative Christians will need to be vigilant heading into 2020.
Don’t be deceived. The New York Times and Washington Post don’t give Russell Moore and ERLC folks coveted opinion page positions expecting to build better disciples for Jesus. No. They do it to help their pro-abortion, anti-religious liberty candidates win elections.
If Christians want to win elections in the future, it will be up to us to work around these so-called leaders. We must leverage social media and personal relationships. We must make sure good teachers get the attention that liberals already lavish on the bad ones.
The work for 2020 and beyond starts today. That’s the price of liberty.