Noting that “nearly all of the white Americans who drifted away from organized religion in the last few decades were liberals,” Claude S. Fischer worries worries that this is problematic for both the left and the right:
The alienation of religion from the left is a problem for both sides. For the churches, it means losing young parishioners. Some leaders sense this loss. In the wake of the 2012 election, one stunned Southern Baptist leader said, “the entire moral landscape has changed…. An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.” And the head of Focus on the Family confessed, “If the Christian message has been too wrapped around the axle of the Republican Party, then a) that’s our fault, and b) we’ve got to rethink that.”
The left should not be celebrating, however. Their separation from the churches means continuing estrangement from middle America. Part of the mythology of the left, rooted in the European experience, is that history is burying religion. Hardly; strong and widespread religiosity will be here in America for a long time.
Democrats probably cannot again attract most highly religious whites as they once did; that would entail regaining the South. But even a modest return—say, regaining one-fifth of the white evangelical vote—would have sizeable consequences.