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Op-Ed: Conservatives Win When Evangelicals Play the Long Game

Op-Ed: Conservatives Win When Evangelicals Play the Long Game

Conservatives have long relied on the influence of evangelical Christians to secure electoral victories and promote their agenda. From shaping policy to mobilizing voters, evangelicals have played a crucial role in conservative victories across the globe. However, what truly sets them apart from other interest groups is their ability to think long term.

Unlike short-sighted political actors who focus solely on the next election cycle, evangelicals strategize with an eye on the future. By patiently investing in grassroots organizing, community building, and cultivating influential leaders, they have built a formidable force within conservative politics.

There is no denying that evangelicals have faced criticism for their unwavering loyalty to conservative causes, particularly on social issues. But one cannot ignore their effectiveness in mobilizing voters and channeling support for conservative candidates. This success is not just a result of the evangelical community’s sheer size, but rather their patient pursuit of long-term goals.

Take, for instance, the role of evangelical Christians in the United States. For decades, evangelicals have championed conservative causes, such as opposition to abortion rights, support for traditional marriage, and advocacy for religious freedom. By influencing public opinion and political discourse on these issues, they have pushed the conservative agenda forward, even when faced with significant opposition.

Evangelicals understand that lasting change rarely happens overnight. They have taken the time to build strong networks of like-minded individuals, churches, and organizations across the country. This intricate web of connections not only amplifies their message but also enables them to mobilize voters effectively during elections.

In addition to grassroots efforts, evangelicals have invested heavily in cultivating leaders who can further their cause. These leaders, whether they are pastors, politicians, or activists, are groomed over time, equipped with sound political strategies, and encouraged to build broad coalitions. This investment in leadership continuity ensures that conservative values are effectively communicated, defended, and advanced.

One example that demonstrates the power of evangelicals playing the long game is the Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Evangelical leaders recognized the significance of this opportunity and directed their efforts towards ensuring a conservative replacement. Their influence, combined with strategic organization and mobilization of voters, ultimately led to the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

This long-term perspective is not limited to the United States. Conservative parties across the globe have recognized the power of the evangelical constituency and actively seek their support. Whether it’s working towards restricting access to abortion in Poland or mobilizing evangelical voters in Brazilian elections, conservatives understand the importance of aligning with evangelicals to secure electoral victories and promote their policy goals.

However, playing the long game also comes with its challenges. The alliance between evangelicals and conservatives risks alienating broader and more diverse segments of society. Critics argue that overly focusing on conservative social issues can undermine progress on other pressing concerns, such as economic inequality, climate change, and social justice.

Moreover, by prioritizing their long-term goals, evangelicals have faced accusations of being out of touch with shifting societal values. As public opinion continues to evolve, particularly among younger generations, conservatives must find a way to reconcile their core beliefs with the changing social landscape.

Nevertheless, the effective partnership between conservatives and evangelicals proves that long-term planning and investment can yield substantial political influence. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Evangelicals understand the power of persistently working towards their goals, and conservatives have undoubtedly benefited from their meticulous, patient approach.

In an era of short-term thinking and immediate gratification, evangelicals serve as a reminder of the power of strategic patience. If conservatives want to continue winning in the long run, they would be wise to learn from the impact of evangelicals and invest in a future-centered approach to politics.

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