In the wake of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, the Christian Right expected major victories in the 1998 elections. Instead, many of its allies lost close contests, and the movement was seen as a liability in some high-profile campaigns. In the only in-depth study of the Christian Right’s role in these races, leading scholars analyze the role of the movement in fourteen key states, from Maine to California, and address speculations that the movement is fading from the American political scene.
The book focuses on elections on the state and local levels, where the Christian Right is most influential, and it describes the movement’s niche in some detail. Although each campaign described in the book had its unique characteristics, the editors have drawn some broad conclusions about the 1998 elections. While the movement was weak in the areas of candidate recruitment and fundraising, they say, the outcome may have also been related to external factors including a broader turnout of typically Democratic constituencies and the country’s boredom with the scandal that conservatives had made the centerpiece of their campaign. Despite the setbacks of 1998, the contributors argue, the Christian Right continues to have an enormous influence on the political dialogue of the country.
Written from an unbiased, nonpartisan perspective, this volume sheds light on a topic that is too frequently mired in controversy.
“Combining rich description with sophisticated analysis, Prayers in the Precincts continues the authors’ tradition of close-in observation of the Christian Right during each election cycle. Indispensable.” ‘ Clarke E. Cochran, professor of political science, Texas Tech University
“Beyond sensational headlines and too-easy conclusions, the scholars gathered here carefully assess the impact of the Christian Right on the 1998 elections and provide educated analyses about the movement’s future prospects. In addition, the editors’ introduction and conclusion provide a number of keen observations about religiously-based movements, and their strengths and weaknesses. Rich in both empirical findings and analytic insight.” ‘ Rhys H. Williams, professor of sociology, Southern Illinois University
“Essential reading for anyone interested in tracking the evolving fortunes of the Christian Right in American politics.” ‘ Mark Silk, director, Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College, Hartford, CT