I’m not sure I would call it growing… I think better organized would be a better way to describe what is going on in evangelical circles. I think it has always ben present, but it hasn’t always been galvanized. Much to the chagrin of the moderate wing of the Iowa GOP, evangelicals and other social conservatives will drive the debate. Social issues can not be ignored in Iowa, period. It doesn’t mean fiscal policy isn’t important, but we expect issues like abortion and marriage to be on the candidates’ minds and on their issues page. We also expect them to act when given the opportunity.
There is one group within the evangelical subculture, however, that the article eluded to but didn’t say a whole lot. I find the neglect interesting as this group will be vital for not only making inroads within the evangelical community, but they are also an incredible resource for volunteer help.
Ask Mike Huckabee, he’ll tell you. Having volunteered for his campaign back in 2008 and visiting his headquarters a number of times he had at his disposal something you didn’t see in other campaign headquarters. Lots of homeschooling families… entire families working the phones, stuffing envelopes, going door to door.. during the day.
That was huge. Homeschooling families are not only knowledgeable about the issues they also work. They see the opportunity to get involved in the political process as part of the civics education curriculum, and we have plenty of field trip opportunities in Iowa. My children have had the chance to see former President George W. Bush twice, they saw former Vice President Dick Cheney, Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin and they are richer (and better informed of the process) for it. Candidates who reach out to this growing group early are incredibly wise. Will they coalesce around a candidate like they did Mike Huckabee in 2008? I don’t know.
But candidates such as Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty who met with homeschooling leaders in Iowa in small group sessions were wise to reach out. Better yet speak at their events as Herman Cain, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann are doing today at the NICHE (Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators) Homeschool Day at the Capitol. Very smart and a missed opportunity for those who are not there.
Those who win over the homeschooolers have a leg up come Caucus night.