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|Title:||Presidential Campaigns, White Evangelicals, and the New Republican Coalition|
|Author(s):||Nesmith, Bruce Forrester|
|Doctoral Committee Chair(s):||Seligman, Lester G.|
|Department / Program:||Political Science|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Subject(s):||Political Science, General|
|Abstract:||Two important factors have contributed to the development during the 1980s of a Republican Party coalition prominently including white evangelicals. First, Republican candidates have been willing to express support for the traditional morality issues and attitudes which are the cornerstone of the white evangelical agenda. They have been encouraged to do this by the potential for strong electoral support from evangelicals, as well as that group's relative concentration in the South, a region which has become increasingly competitive and increasingly important in national politics. Secondly, leading white evangelical ministers are able to serve as mediators between Republican politicians and their own followers. Their authority among their followers rests on a widespread feeling among white evangelicals that the United States is experiencing a social and moral crisis, and the ministers' personal charisma which has allowed them to emerge as leaders to combat the perceived crisis.
Max Weber states that legitimacy based on charismatic authority is the type most vulnerable to erosion. This means that the reliance of the Republican coalition on the authoritative leadership of white evangelical ministers is the coalition's weak link. Another crisis, such as an economic recession, may arise, or else the fervor of the faithful could be dissipated by the lack of tangible policy achievements. Either would divest the conservative ministers of their political legitimacy among their followers, to be replaced by others with different answers to new crises.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-12-15|