ERIC Number: ED181507
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov
Reference Count: 0
One's (Re)Born Every Minute; How Carter Suckered Our Votes in 1976.
Hahn, Dan F.
It appears obvious that Jimmy Carter's religion became an issue in the 1976 presidential campaign because he chose to emphasize it. Such an emphasis would have seemed reasonable to Carter since a large natural constituency of evangelicals existed, the members of that constituency were becoming involved in politics, their sociocultural situation could have been assumed to prompt them in the direction of bloc voting, and the revitalization of a public interest in religious matters indicated that a religious focus would be acceptable. That Carter's religious emphasis was a conscious political tactic appears likely because of evidence showing that he was aware of the political advantage to be gained by his religion; that a change of emphasis, from minimizing to discussing his religious experiences, occurred in March 1976, shortly after a respected political correspondent published the contention that Carter's success was based on his religious appeal; and that Carter attempted to counterbalance any potential disadvantage that might have accrued from his religious emphasis. An analysis of Carter's statements shows that he established the double standard that it is all right to vote for candidates because of their religion, but unfair to vote against them because of religion. While it may be arguable that Carter's conscious political decision to stress religion was manipulative, it is certain that his cut into the Republican evangelical vote helped him to win the election. (GT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Carter (Jimmy); Presidential Campaigns
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (64th, Minneapolis, MN, November 2-5, 1978)