In 2000, it is estimated that 4 million Evangelicals stayed home or attended Bible study or did something but did not Vote.
Why is this?
One hypothesis is that just a couple days earlier Mr. Bush was revealed to have had a DUI conviction. That didn't strike me as particularly damning. I believed his "repentant sinner" narrative. Sure, he'd been an unsavory character when younger, but after he married Laura he got saved and quit his bad habits. The DUI was from before that professed conversion and thus irrelevant.
Another hypothesis is that Mr. Bush senior had nominated to the Supreme Court one David Souter whose vote kept Roe v Wade intact and who has sided with the liberals on the court. Now, if Bush senior can't be trusted to nominate strict constructionist judges, how could we get excited about his son?
The key to Evangelicals' hearts is the judiciary.
If you're not an Evangelical you should not freak out at this point. You may or may not like Evangelicals, but do you like Democrasy? Is it better for a judicial fiat by an appointed elite to rule the land? I prefer that laws come from legislators and that people vote for legislators.
You want a law? You should vote for a legislator. Don't appoint a judge to legislate from the bench.
So, are Evangelicals going to sit out this election in the same numbers we did in 2000? Probably not. Liberal Democrats in the Senate fillibustered Mr. Bush's judicial appointments to lower courts. This has helped Mr. Bush by creating the impression that he wants to do the right thing, but is thwarted by the liberals.
Are we more likely to vote upon hearing that Mr. Renquist has cancer? Yeah.