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The New Republican Coalition

The Reagan Campaigns and White Evangelicals

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Bruce Nesmith

Ronald Reagan's victorious presidential campaigns were notable for their attempts to broaden the Republican Party coalition by appealing to white evangelical Christians. White evangelicals historically had been less politically active and more Democratic than the rest of the population. Yet emerging cultural differences with the national Democratic party, and improved political organizations led by prominent television ministers, made white evangelicals likely coalition partners. Through interviews with participants and observers in these campaigns, this book explores the Republicans' coalition-building efforts. Voting data shows that the new coalition was successful in the short run, but the events of 1992 suggest its stability remains open to question.