How White Evangelical Women Reshaped the GOP

Date

2022-05

Authors

Dodson-Hestand, Ayla

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

The 2016 election is widely regarded as the most shocking presidential election in recent United States history with the election of Donald Trump. Even more puzzling than his election was the support with which white, evangelical women threw behind him, given his history of sexist rhetoric and his seemingly rocky relationship with religion. There has been limited research conducted on what garnered this support, and much has focused on single-issue voting. However, I'm not at all convinced that this support was the result of one issue but rather of years of political discontent and calculated political strategy. This thesis will examine the multi-dimensional campaign efforts of three women associated with the white evangelical movement to explain why his widespread support among this demographic should not have been surprising. Further, it will provide cultural and historical context which laid the groundwork for their efforts. This project has two goals. The first is to explain the ways in which white, evangelical women wielded their political power in 2016, which led to an unprecedented election. The second is to understand how these campaign tactics re-shaped the GOP and political discourse for subsequent presidential elections.

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