A defeat, not a debacle

The religious right and the 1998 election

On the morning after the November elections, pundits announced the death of the Religious Right as a political force. Fortunately, such obituaries are environment-friendly: they are recycled every few years. The movement's prognosis actually is better than advertised, although the campaign certainly disappointed Christian conservatives, who failed to elect some of their favorite candidates. These losses were especially painful because history had suggested that 1998 should be a good Republican year, and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was expected to energize conservatives and turn disgusted voters away from the Democrats. But though none of this happened, 1998 was just a defeat, not a debacle. The Religious Right remains a potent force in Republican politics.

 

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