The Morning Call: Bucking their brethren, Evangelical group brings message to Lehigh Valley: Vote Democratic to flip U.S. House


Darlene Sinclaire of Allentown considers herself a Christian, but unlike most of her church-going friends, she doesn’t plan to vote for the conservative candidate in this year’s election.

Sinclaire, who was once a registered Republican and is now a Democrat, was among those attending a rally in Bethlehem on Tuesday night to sway religious voters to Democratic candidates.

“I’m upset with the current administration. … I feel like there’s a general lack of humanity,” she said during the Vote Common Good rally at Bethlehem’s Rose Garden Park.

Most of Sinclaire’s religious friends support President Donald Trump because they believe he could overturn abortion, but Sinclaire says voters need to “look at the bigger picture.”

“I can’t look at just one issue anymore,” she said, citing women’s issues and immigration as among her top concerns.

Conservative evangelical voters have been a reliable constituency for Republicans for years. In 2016, more than 80 percent of white evangelical voters supported Trump, according to Pew Research Center.

But organizers of Tuesday’s rally in Bethlehem believe the demographic can play a role in seeking to flip the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats.

“Religion is lock step with Republicanism without any concern about what kind of Republicanism it is,” said said Doug Pagitt, a pastor from Minneapolis who is leading the Vote Common Good effort.

“We believe there are people who are not comfortable with the choices. Their faith calls them to one thing and their Republican impulses call them somewhere else,” Pagitt said, describing some of those involved as frustrated with Trump’s nomination in 2016 and others who found they could no longer support him after he was elected.

So Pagitt and others are embarking on a 31-city tour across the country, bringing their message to voters in districts seen as the most likely to flip parties and where they made connections with similar-minded pastors and activists working on the ground on immigration and other issues.

Pagitt said he’s a bit of an activist and has been involved in rallies for issues like abolishing the death penalty and stricter gun control. Part of his activism is getting other church leaders to participate, which led him to organize Vote Common Good.

The effort has support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to The New York Times, with Democratic nominees across the country participating.

Democrat Susan Wild, who is running to represent the Lehigh Valley in Congress, said Tuesday that she is seeing more voters “cross the aisle” from Republican to Democrat for a variety of reasons, from wanting to see more women in office to the stance on immigration.

“I don’t think this is a partisan experience. I think this is a moral experience. People who cross the aisle this year are doing so because of their moral compass,” she said, adding that this year’s slate of political candidates seems to be more diverse than ever before.

Wild said she attended the rally to reach out to religious voters, who make up a significant portion of the Lehigh Valley’s voting population.

The event was also about unity and working together for the common good instead of against each other, she said.

“I want to reach across the aisle. The only way we can move forward is together,” Wild said.

There were about 60 people at the rally Tuesday night. The majority of those in attendance were Democrats.

Organizers said the event was intended to feel more like a “block party” than a political rally, with a positive message and live music. 


Read the full article online from The Morning Call. 

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