Here is a campaign ad that Marco Rubio is running in Iowa that is clearly inspired by the reputation that the state’s Republican caucus voters have for being strongly evangelical. To me it seems way over the top in its blatant pandering.
I cannot recall any candidate in the past being so nauseatingly religious. Even Mike Huckabee, the one candidate who was actually a Baptist minister before he went into politics, being criticized when he ran for president in 2008 for showing a campaign Christmas commercial standing in front of a bookshelf whose frame resembled a cross. Critics said this was dog whistle politics and he was sending a subtle signal to Christians. There is nothing subtle about the Rubio ad this time. He is using a megaphone, not a dog whistle.
Meanwhile Huckabee is bitterly lashing out at conservative evangelical leaders because they are not showing him enough love. He sees himself as being one of them and yet they are supporting other people. He made the same complaint back in 2008 but this time he is taking his criticisms much further, saying that this is because deep in their hearts these leaders are false Christians who only care about raising funds and they are scared that if he becomes president he will really ban abortions and same-sex marriage, and that they need those things to raise funds.
It may be that part of the reason for their lack of support is that they think he has no chance of winning and also that they just don’t like him. But I that that he is correct in saying that opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage has long been a cash cow for conservative evangelical leaders and organizations, and without those issues to rail against, they’d be bereft of a major galvanizing fundraising force.