Iowa is becoming increasingly Evangelical, and any Republican interested in winning the Iowa Caucus needs to rake in those holy votes. According to the Public Religion Research Institute, Iowa’s population of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics have each dropped by five percentage points over the last seven years, while the state’s share of white Evangelicals has risen a percentage point. That may seem minor, but it tips the scales decisively in favor of white Evangelicals, who now make up over a quarter of the state’s population. These days, white Evangelicals comprise 26 percent of Iowans, white mainline Protestants 22, and white Catholics a mere 16.
So the GOP candidates have some Christian courting to do, and this is how they did it:
Marco Rubio clarified that though Time once called him the “Republican savior” he is in fact not Jesus Christ, of whom there is only one. Rubio also emphasized that his faith would influence his presidency if elected.
John Kasich advocated for expanded care for people with drug addictions and mental illness, who otherwise “live in the shadows.” Good on you, John.
Chris Christie observed that he is Catholic, and swore to make America safe for Christianity.
Rand Paul referred to obscure British social critic Os Guinness, of whom he is a fan, to explain how his libertarian views comport with an encompassing doctrine like Christianity.
Ben Carson was technically present.
Ted Cruz claimed “God has blessed this country” with a ton of oil and gas.