This is not a headline we want to see: “Liberals More Committed Than Conservatives.” Especially today, especially in Illinois.
When Jeanne Ives announced her primary campaign challenge to Governor Bruce Rauner this week, one of the most common questions was — can she overcome Rauner’s incredible war chest which contains tens of millions of dollars of his own money?
The question that came to my mind was — do Illinois conservatives who support Ives realize that they have a role to play in her campaign? Never before have the grassroots taken on a such an enormous responsibility than what they have between now and the March primary election.
What role are they to play? George Washington, the “father of his country,” said it this way: “It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself…” There’s more to the quote — you can read it in full here.
Jeanne Ives will not be successful unless conservatives start extending their views beyond themselves by talking to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors about what is at stake next March.
Rauner will be spending millions of dollars to obfuscate and fool Illinois Republicans into giving him another chance. It remains to be seen how much Ives will have on hand to spend to get her message out.
There is good news and bad news for conservatives.
The good news is that conservatives are more likely than liberals to believe there is a culture war underway. The even better news for the Right is that SAGE Cons are the single most attentive and active group when it comes to engaging in that culture war.
The bad news is that liberals, overall, are more likely than conservatives to believe that there is a need for significant cultural change in the U.S. these days; they are more likely to describe the need for such change as “urgent;” and they are more likely to participate in a variety of forms of social action.
Here are two of the questions that were asked: Is There a Culture War? Do We Need Substantial Change?
More conservatives believe there is a culture war, and more liberals believe that the need for change is urgent.
Under the “Taking Action” heading is this (emphasis added in the next three excerpts):
The most common forms of action, undertaken by half of the adult population, was to speak to other people about social or political issues. Liberals were substantially more likely to engage in such conversations than were either conservatives or moderates. Unexpectedly, SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservative Christians) were no more likely than other people to have engaged in such dialogue. A previous survey by ACFI revealed that their reticence was based on the fact that their churches had failed to teach them how to think biblically about current issues, so they avoided related conversations.
Under the heading “Thoughts on the Culture War” is this:
George Barna, who serves as Executive Director of the American Culture & Faith Institute, and who led the research project, noted that conservatives are being outworked and outspent in the culture war. “Our surveys consistently show that conservatives are usually more likely to vote, but liberals are more likely to engage in most other forms of public persuasion and political activity.”
Here is more bad news:
“We have found that most Americans are not ideologically inclined,” Barna continued. “That has allowed the consistent and strategic efforts of liberals to facilitate the leftward trajectory of America in recent years while conservatives have generally watched from the sidelines. To even the playing field, conservative Americans — especially those who are driven by their Christian faith — will have to become more consistently engaged or risk seeing the nation continue to move toward a more socialist bent.”
Over the past year much has been written about the stark political divisions in the country, and how more Americans seek to avoid discussion of political matters for the sake of civility.
While that is completely understandable, and no one is recommending that anyone be obnoxious or inappropriate as they “extend their views,” the importance of the hour should be clear to all. Illinois is a mess — and voting for the right people to serve in state government has never been more important.
The problem is, as stated, the preferred candidate may or may not have millions of dollars to spend on TV ads, etc. As during the founding era (before TV), word-of-mouth will play a critical role in the March GOP primary.
Over the past year or so I’ve gathered a few articles containing advice about how to share your political views — I’ve linked them at my website here. Talking politics, like talking religion, is tricky no doubt. But Christians are called to “The Great Commission” regardless.
Consider politics a second tier but nevertheless an “Important Commission.” Your state’s culture, tax rates and economy depend upon conservatives extending their views. If you want to argue, argue with George Washington, who said it should be your highest ambition.