Moreover, voter registration at tax time has the potential to not only increase the voter pool, but to make the voting population more closely mirror the citizenry as a whole. Low-income Americans are substantially less likely to be registered to vote than higher-income Americans, and are also less likely to vote. In 2016, 74 percent of individuals making more than $50,000 voted, compared to only 52 percent of voters making less than that. Unfortunately, some voter engagement efforts actually widen disparities in participation by mobilizing members of groups already likely to participate rather than underrepresented citizens.Continue reading »
Evangelical scholar and activist Lydia Bean told the Wheaton meeting last week that the far-right doesn’t even need religious figures anymore to reach their evangelical targets, as Fox News has captured the white evangelical audience and can reach them directly now. Even evangelical megachurch pastors wearily tell me, “I have my people for about two hours a week if I’m lucky, but Fox News has them 24/7. I can’t compete with that.” Is MSNBC partisan, too? Of course, but they and other cable and mainstream outlets don’t represent religious people, and often even neglect or disrespect them. The “liberal media” actually likes to cover the Religious Right and Trump evangelicals because of the way it paints Christianity as extreme, which confirms existing biases — and gets clicks.
With all due respect, I must also say that I believe the established evangelical leaders who signed the Chicago Declaration with us “young evangelicals” so long ago, like Carl Henry, Vernon Grounds, and Frank Gaebelein, would have spoken out against the rise of the Religious Right as not truly “evangelical” — and, I believe, certainly would have stood up against the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump. But very few of their establishment evangelical successors have done so. They have remained silent.Continue reading »
One of the reasons that Republicans won the midterm elections is because white evangelicals turned out, while Democratic-leaning groups stayed home. For good and for ill, white evangelicals are one of the most effectively organized groups in American politics, and they reliably vote Republican. We should all be asking what we can learn from conservative evangelicals about how to energize voters in midterms.Continue reading »
In ministry to exonerate the wrongly convicted, criminal justice advocate emphasizes power of ‘story’Continue reading »
It was these questions that took center stage at an event last week, "State Capture: How Conservatives Claimed Power and How to Restore Balance," hosted by New America's political reform program. The event brought together Hertel-Fernandez, program fellow Lydia Bean, and program director Mark Schmitt, who each shared their expertise on and experience with state power-building. They paid special attention to the ways in which progressives can build the infrastructure necessary to reverse conservative efforts to demobilize big-D and small-d democratic state-level organizing in recent years.Continue reading »
For evangelicals and Catholics, rejecting elites means ignoring the clergy
How voters learned to make their faith suit their partisanship.
President Bush speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in 2005. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
By Lydia Bean
Lydia Bean, the executive director of Faith in Texas, a multi-racial faith movement for justice, is the author of “The Politics of Evangelical Identity.”
October 27, 2017
It is fitting that Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in the 500th anniversary of the year that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The religious divide between Catholics and Protestants in the West touches not only their practice but also their politics. In 2016, white evangelical Protestants were nearly united in their support for Trump (81 percent) and the Republican Party, while white Catholics were divided between him (60 percent) and Hillary Clinton (37 percent).Continue reading »
That sounded familiar to Lydia Bean, 38, a researcher who taught at Baylor University and devoted her graduate sociology work at Harvard to studying the comparative politics of evangelicals in the United States and Canada. These days, Bean is a fellow with New America’s Political Reform program, where she writes and consults on political organizing and faith. When we spoke, she was gearing up to run as a Democrat for a seat in the Texas state House.
“Basically, it’s like a fortress mentality, where it’s like — the best we can do is lock up the gates and just pour boiling oil over the gates at the libs,” Bean said as we ate dinner at a tiny German restaurant near Texas Christian University in Fort Worth that night. Among evangelicals, she said, “I really think one of the things that’s changed since I did my fieldwork at the very end of the Bush administration is a rejection of politics in general as a means to advance the common good, even in a conservative vein.” In that case, politics “becomes a bloodsport, where you’re punishing and striking back at people you don’t like” without much hope of changing anything. For that kind of “hopeless cynicism” regarding politics — walls up, temporary provisions, with just enough strength and zeal left to periodically foil one’s enemies — Trump is an ideal leader.Continue reading »
“The Texas congressional delegation is going to pack a huge punch, for good or for ill, in national politics,” said Lydia Bean, a former college professor who is running as a Democrat in a Fort Worth-based State House district.Continue reading »
The only Democrat to file so far against Goldman is Elizabeth Beck Jones, an Iraq war veteran. Sociologist Lydia Bean and Nathaniel Waters have filed against Krause. Lawyers Joe Drago and Ryan Ray, also a Crowley school board member, have filed against Zedler. Ray narrowly lost to Zedler in 2018.Continue reading »
But while battles over partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression have received wide attention, there's also a growing effort to counter another threat to democratic values: state preemption. This is a practice in which state legislatures limit local authority, blocking the ability of cities, counties and towns to enact laws and make decisions that reflect the views and priorities of their residents. Fighting the widespread abuse of state preemption is an important way for foundations and major donors to build the civic power to defend democracy, while still operating within the realm of 501(c)(3) advocacy.Continue reading »
Progressive elites only remember that states exist when they’re out of power in DC. That’s a problem.
After the 2010 Republican wave election, state legislatures were flooded with almost-identical bills that would require strict photo ID to vote, weaken unions with right-to-work laws and allow individuals to use lethal force if they felt threatened. Democrats were taken off guard — but they shouldn’t have been.Continue reading »
It’s time for Texans of all political stripes to come together to defend local democracy from a state government captured by special interests. Fully 87% of Texans believe that local governments are better connected to the community and should be allowed to pass policies that reflect their community’s needs and values, according to a Feb. 2019 poll by the Center for Public Policy Priorities and the Local Solutions Support Center. This support cuts across partisan divides, with 85% of Republicans, 86% Independents, and 90% of Democrats supporting local democracy. Furthermore, a 61% majority of Republicans think cities should be able to require paid sick time.Continue reading »
The jaded line of reasoning is that because all politicians are crooks, any investigation must be motivated either by partisanship or finances. Such disillusionment may even help explain the Evangelical embrace of Trump. It’s an unlikely marriage from the outside, but as political researcher Lydia Bean says, many Evangelicals no longer believe that politics can advance the common good, making Trump just so much boiling oil to pour over the gates on their enemies. Sadly, those “enemies” are their fellow Americans.Continue reading »