Evangelicals losing their grip on the Republican Party as 2024 election looms
Evangelical worshippers (Photo by Larry Marano for Shutterstock)

Based upon recent speeches made by the leading contenders for the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination, there appears to be a growing rift between what evangelicals want as the top priority of the next GOP administration and what the potential nominees are offering.

According to a report from the Guardian's David Smith, the surge of conservative voters Donald Trump has brought into the party who are not affiliated with churches has watered down the need to keep evangelicals happy and that showed in the speeches delivered at the Family Research Council’s Pray Vote Stand Summit on Friday.

As the report notes, the elephant in the room is the question of banning abortions as a key plank for the GOP ticket which evangelicals see as a priority and contenders for the nomination are treading carefully based on recent election results.

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Case in point, Smith notes, was Trump's comments on Friday where he seemed to be hedging on making abortion a centerpiece of his campaign.

Writing, "... even as the former president basked in the religious right’s moment of triumph, he went on to deliver a warning," Smith reports Trump told the crowd, "I will say politically, it’s a very tough, it’s a very tough decision for some people, but very, very hard on elections. Very, very hard ... We had midterms and this was an issue, you know.”

The former president was not the only one dancing around the issue.

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"Other top Republican candidates for 2024 also trod carefully on abortion, " Smith wrote before adding, "The tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy did not mention the word at all. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, cited his state’s six-week abortion ban in a single sentence. Only Mike Pence, the devout former vice-president, unambiguously committed to a 15-week 'national standard.'"

"The caution signaled Republicans’ awareness of how politically radioactive the issue has become, as evidenced by last year’s midterm elections and other votes in states such as Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin," the Guardian report stated.

According to Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University, there is a reason candidates are not fully embracing the topic.

"Evangelical voters may find their leverage over Republican candidates waning," the Guardian report states, with Burge writing for Politico, "... the religious right’s grip on the party is weakening with every election cycle."

Taking up the case of the former president he explained, "That’s because Trump’s real base of support in the 2016 primary contest came from a rising group in the GOP whose impact has been largely unnoticed: Republicans who hardly ever darken the door of a church, synagogue or mosque.”

You can read more here.