tv Inside Story Al Jazeera February 1, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
no topic off limits. >> 'cause i'm like, "dad, there are hookers in this house". >> exclusive conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> these are very vivid, human stories. >> if you have an agenda with people, you sometimes don't see the truth. >> "talk to al jazeera". monday, 6:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. ♪ >> fore decades white evangelicals have been an important republican constituency. while that group of religious voters is declining as a percentage of the entire voting population, some g.o.p. campaigns have worked very hard in iowa to energize conservative
christian voters. praying for victory, it's the inside story. ♪ welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. for much of the 20th century, the most conservative religious voters were not fought over by national campaigns, but a bunch of things happened at once. the really -- reassignment of the south, searching databases, and growth of big non-denominational churches connected to radio and television ministries. during the same years these big trends were taking route, supreme court decisions blocked the tax deducible status of religious school tuition, and
opened up legal abortion to all 50 states, the table was set for four decades of increase christian in the republican party. senator marco rubio of florida. >> it is because in this nation, we are influenced by judeo-christian values that teach us to reach out to the needy, to love our neighborhood. this is what made our nation so special. and you should hope the next president is influenced by his faith. and when i'm president, i can tell you this, my faith will not just ininfluence the way i govern as president, it will influence the way i live on my life. my goal is to live in eternity with my creator, and i will always allow my faith to influence everything i do. >> and donald trump sought to find the right words to unlock caucus support.
>> we are going to protect christianity, and if you look at syria, where there -- if you are christian, they are chopping off heads. you look at the different places, and christianity is under siege. i'm protestant, i'm very proud of it. and we have to protect, because bad things are happening. >> senator ted cruz of texas did the same thing. >> i want to ask of each and every one of you, is that you pray. that we go to our knees and we pray for our country, we pray for this awakening, this spirit of revival that is sweeping the country. >> have evangelicaled been adequately repaid? do they expect their certains no longer carry the same way inside the republican party, and a time of increasing religious mrurallism in america, and
voters who don'ting use a religious yardstick at all to make their choices, is the party vary of sighing itself too tight to a shrinking population. my guests join me now. and robert jones i guess it's that title that is making me go to you first. [ laughter ] >> fair enough. >> it sounds honest but what is going on that you see that makes you write that? >> this is a book based on a lot of research. you are looking at demographics in the country, and what we see is there has been a decline of white christians in the country. if you put all white christians together, it makes up less than half of the country, only 47% of
the country is white and christian and our best data points in 2014, 1993 was the last year that the majority of the country were protestant. so we're seeing a lot of demographic changes a foot. and on the eve of iowa, iowa is no exception to this rule. >> if i show you tape from a lot of cam contains, would you believe that the country has changed in that way? >> well, republican primaries are a very different scenario. in iowa, for example, a quarter of the population is white evangelical protestant, but sgop caucus voters that number jumps to 50%. in south carolina coming up that number jumps to 64%. so in the republican primaries, they are very, very important voters on the republican side of the ticket. >> bill, these endorsements are very heavily sought after, and
you can see ted cruz has a theory of the race that if he mobilizes evangelicals in particular, that's his road to the white house. it's almost in stark jebbi jebbing -- juxtaposition to what robert just laid out. >> yes, he has had perhaps the clearest plan. he seemed to be on track just a few weeks ago to common daring the lion's share of it. he had the endorsement of the most prominent evangelical leaders in iowa. they are endorsing him and working on the ground for him. but a funny thing happened on
the way to the iowa caucuses, and that funny thing was donald trump. a survey just came out this morning, showing cruz in a statistic call dead heat with donald trump with the evangelical votes. if it holds up, ted cruz will be very disappointed tomorrow morning. >> what does that tell you about the voters? >> it tells you that voters -- if you look at comments voters are making going in and coming out, what they are saying is we don't really trust the authenticity of donald trump's evangelicalism, but they do feel he might be a better commander in chief. i read a comment written by a woman earlier today in which she was saying in preparation to go to the caucuses, is that she -- she believes in the purity of ted cruz, and his
christianity, and it makes her want to vote for him, because she knows the ted cruz of today is going to be the same ted cruz ten years from now, and she's not quite sure if she can believe in donald trump's evolution on so many issues. however, when she compares donald trump to ted cruz, she feels that donald trump would be a better president, hence possibly being able to sort of loosen her views on -- on the importance of the religious right in this election, in this caucus time, because she wants to win. and i think you are seeing that more and more all over iowa. >> does that mean purity tests are out? that these voters are being more strategic, more nuanced in the way they assess campaigns. >> one misunderstanding of evangelicals is that they are
identity voters, meaning they want one of their own. and i think what you are seeing in the race is they are maybe nostalgia voters. [ laughter ] >> i think they see in donald trump someone they believe can restore to them, i think, a world that they have lost. right? they believe -- 72% of white evangelicals say american culture and society as changed for the worse since the 1950s. so they look back to a cultural mythical golden age, and when trump says we're going to protect christianity and make america great again. this hearkening back to a golden era that i think a lot of evangelicals file like they have lost to huckabee who is much of
one of their own as anybody in the race, but isn't gaining much traction at all, they are moving towards donald trump who they think can deliver at the end of the day, the language of restoration. >> i want to talk more about that narrative of loss and the pessimistic view in the country. senator ted cruz has based his campaign on theed in that motivated evangelical voters can still pick the president. is this a question not just of demographics, but politics? can you underestimate the enp during power of white evangelical christians? getting people out to the caucus, which is not an easy
♪ >> you are watching "inside story." i'm ray suarez. praying for victory this time on the program. we're looking at the campaigns that have just wrapped up in iowa and down the road to south carolina, super-tuesday, and to the primaries in very diverse religious marketplaces, like new hampshire, nevada, illinois. my guests are still with me. michelle, i'm trying to sell this idea, and it doesn't get picked up very much, but i don't think we're in an age any longer where you can say something in one place and say something different somewhere else and have people not know. the age of social media, people posting their own recordings
that they have made on their own phones, you can't be one person somewhere in iowa, and somebody different in brooklyn. >> i wish i could agree with you. but i think what we're seeing in this generation of politics, is that it doesn't matter. donald trump in 1999, pro-choice. always believe in a woman's right to choose. absolutely beyond a doubt, unequivocally, never going to change. donald trump today carrying the bible that his mother gave him, a is pro-life, and people know it. we have seen hillary clinton on the democratic side her evolution on the issue of gay marriage. she evolved. president obama evolved very quickly on the idea of gay marriage. the electorate knows it, and i think the reason we see so many people saying a pass on both of your houses. i don't like democrats, i don't
republicans. i'm self identifying, is because this is the politics that america does not like. they want people to stand for something, and stay there. believe in it, and if you evolve, the evolution should be authentic, or at least pretend to be authentic. >> pretense, i think may be involved in this. bill earlier in the program we saw senator marco rubio, telling a debate audience that they ought to want a faithful president, someone who has a faith orientation to guide them in the job. and i was wondering when he said that about core affiliated versus marginally affiliated. most americans still say they a threeist for president. so is there a certain portion that wants to hear god talk even if they can't bother to go to church themselves.
>> that's been true for a long time. i bet robby has some figures on feeling of an atheist president. you have more and more americans who report they are religiously unaffiliated, and their belief in anything like traditional religion is much more diluted than it was in previous generations. but it is true, nonetheless that especially in the republican party, but i think in the country as a whole, there is a predisposition towards a person of faith in part because that serves as a proxy for kind of a moral core. a moral poll star. they don't want to a purely [ inaudible ]. they want a president who can succeed. there's no question about that. but they don't want an amoral president, and many americans are afraid that if you are not
religious, you can't really be a moral person, and i think that's an important feature in our politics. >> does that make the kind of campaigning we saw earlier, a low-risk proposition? does it make sense that people who are marginally affiliated like it when they hear it. >> even though we have much more unaffiliated americans, that number rises to 35% if you look at the number of under millennials in the country. among seniors it's only about one in ten who are religiously affiliated. >> does that mean you are going to have to campaign in a different way in 2028. >> well, we see obama started adding the phrase with those with no belief to that triad
♪ welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. praying for victory this time on the program. we're looking at the just-completed campaign for iowa. in the last polls heading into caucus night, donald trump has managed to grab a lot more evangelical support than when the campaign began. married three times. long publicly pro-choice. his own personal sexual exploits, long fodder for gossip columns. let's take a look at the numbers showing movement since november for three leading republican candidates. so when you go back to the second week in november, trump had a favorability rating of
37%. now in late january, that's up to 53% among white evangelical up 16%. ted cruz back in the second week of november '34%, now stands at 57, up 23%, and marco rubio, his favorable already pretty healthy in november at 40%, now at 51% up 11. and let's look at unfavorability rati ratings. unfavorablety at a whopping 56% for donald trump now to 41. for ted cruz 31 in late january, no change. and for marco rubio,
unflavorablety, roughly the same. and what about optimism? it used to be a truism that in any political confrontation, the more optimistic candidate won. among the candidates working hard to win over evangelicals, they seem to be in an arms race to describe the country in the most dire terms. is attracting white conservative christian voters now defining america in the dreariest of terms. bill what do you think? >> well, if you -- if you look at public opinion surveys, or just listen to the voices around you, there's no question about the fact that certain proportions of the electorate genuinely believe that the united states has declined significantly from its economic, its cultural, and its global peak; that we are spirally
downward, and that very strong action is going to be needed to arrest the decline and make america great again. and trump with his astonishing untutored intuition, felt that and spoke to it in the bluntest possible terms and attracted -- let me put this idea on the table -- attracted a portion of the electorate, especially the republican electorate, that has been especially disappointed for an especially long time, namely white working class voters. that is the most important factor. and it's a matter of interest, i just learned this a few hours ago that ted cruz is up 2-1 over trump among evangelicals with a college degree.
but among evangelicals with just a high school education, trump leads cruz by 14 percentage points. so this is as much about education and economic class as theology or personal reckty tuesday. >> i'm going to try out an idea. in evangelical christian circles is there is a lot more talk about how the world ends, whether there are signs that we see of the world ending, does it make this downward spiral a narrative that can be accepted in those precincts better than in other places in the religious community? >> i think i would agree with you. there has never been a shortage of apock lipty call circles.
but we are experiencing particularly among lower educated white evangelicals not a cultural disaffection, where they know their children aren't going to church in the way their generation did, and they feel the cultural center of the country moving into a different place. and then we also have on that, white working class jobs, not being able to make a living, put food on the table for a family with a white -- with a working class job among whites in the south particularly and just some other numbers. 72% of why evangelicals say america has changed for the worst since 1950. 80% of why evangelicals believe america is still in recession. and so these politicians are speaking to something that is
very deep among these white evangelical. >> michelle you know a lot of these people. the people who give to campaigns, and frame strategy. if this election does not go well is there going to have to be a reconsideration of the place of this particular strain of appeal inside how republicans run for whatever, governor, senator, president, whatever. >> absolutely, we are seeing a splintering of the republican party that quite frankly i feel is very dangerous. when there -- there are studies that have shown, for example, based on people who look at google analytics that when you look at the map of the united states, and the numbers where donald trump has the largest number of support, and you transport that with a map of google searches that are looking for things that are anti-muslim, anti-black, anti-latino, that is
donald trump's base. so someone has put together a strategy of reaching out to some of the most unsavory characters on a state by state basis to say this is how we're going to win the lek shin -- election. i have to say when you talk about nostalgia and hearkening back to the 1950s, i don't know anyone who would say that is a life we want to go back to. so we can't just look at it in terms of white evangelicalism, but also we have to look at how the impact of race. the country is browning. and every study will show you as the country gets browner and browner and browner and whites become a minority in the country, and i think we're probably already there, there is always a feeling that this pie belongs to me, and you brown people or you women are taking the pie away from me.
>> i'm not getting as much as i expected. >> exactly. >> and robert doesn't that feed into that loss narrative? >> yeah, i think it's the twin engines of democratic change, and also about religious disaffiliation and change. these two things working together is what gives us this kind of christian -- white christian minority in the country, and that's a new experience for white christians to look around and say, wow, this coming election, we are a minority in the country. >> and i'll have smart people to grope my way forward. i want to thank my guests. join us tomorrow for a look inside the results from iowa. i'm ray suarez and that's the inside story. have a great night. ♪
this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris. the final stretch, only one more hour until iowa casts their first vote in the 2016 presidential race. and then it's on to new hampshire. global health crisis, the world health organization holds an emergency meeting on the zika vi virus. and the environmental impact of flint's water crisis.