The Election of the Evangelical

By Daniel K. Williams,

Book cover of The Election of the Evangelical: Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and the Presidential Contest of 1976

Book description

From where we stand now, the election of 1976 can look like an alternate reality: southern white evangelicals united with African Americans, northern Catholics, and Jews in support of a Democratic presidential candidate; the Republican candidate, a social moderate whose wife proudly proclaimed her support for Roe v. Wade, was…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Election of the Evangelical as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Williams’ book is an excellent look at an earlier election with many similarities to 1988. 

As opposed to today’s elections where candidates work to motivate their bases, Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Gerald Ford worked to build broad electoral coalitions in 1976. They had to concern themselves with both liberal and conservative constituencies within their own parties. 

In the end, Carter was able to unite the old New Deal coalition for one last hurrah while Ford nearly provided a last gasp for traditional establishment conservatism. By 1988, the two parties were not the same big tents they were in 1976…

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