Remember how ANGRY some folks got when Michael Weisskopf (b.1946) of the Washington Post wrote on February 1, 1993 (link to original article with the WaPo’s editorial addendum) that the simple-minded evangelical groupies of Jerry Falwell (who himself died in 2007), Pat Robertson (b.1930), et al, that:
“The gospel lobby evolved with the explosion of satellite and cable television, hitting its national political peak in the presidential election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
“Unlike other powerful interests, it does not lavish campaign funds on candidates for Congress nor does it entertain them. The strength of fundamentalist leaders lies in their flocks. Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated and easy to command.
“”The thing that makes them powerful is they’re mobilizable,” said Seymour Martin Lipset (d.2006), professor of public policy at George Mason University. “You can activate them to vote, and that’s particularly important in congressional primaries where the turnout is usually low.”
“Some studies put the number of evangelical Americans as high as 40 million, with the vast majority considered politically conservative.”
[ed. note: The excerpt, which has frequently been distilled to “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” is provided here in full proper context with leading and following sentences, not merely excerpted, in order to thoroughly show proper context.]
Folks don’t get mad because of falsehoods.
They get mad because of truth.
According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB), in 2015 (22 years AFTER that was written), 32.5% of the American public aged 25, or older, have a Bachelor’s Degree (Table 1.), which is CLEARLY a minority. Thus, we see automatically the “largely” part of “uneducated.”
The USCB has also performed research on income, which is similarly delineated and categorized by education. For the year 2011 (18 years AFTER the remarks were made), and those aged 25+ with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, the average income was $71,047.50/year – clearly above the Median Household Income for 2011 of $51,926. In other words, nearly 27% LOWER. It’s important to note that MHI is the TOTAL of ALL income earned in a household, which includes even part-time employment of youth. So, we see that the average INDIVIDUAL income (of one person) with a Bachelor’s Degree is $19,121.50 HIGHER than the Median Household Income, which is the combined total income of ALL individuals residing in a household. By extension, a household of two individuals with at least a Bachelor’s Degree would earn $142,095.
On a related note, the USCB found that in 2010, the average household size was 2.58 individuals. By extension, that meant that the average income of the average household per person was $20,126.36 – more than 70% LESS than the average income of one person with at least a Bachelor’s Degree.
In other words, one person with at least a Bachelor’s Degree earns 21% MORE than the average household income of everyone in the USA.
So from that, we see the “largely poor” aspect is similarly correct.
And to be certain that we’re properly examining the evangelical folks who were/are attuned to Falwell (who deceased in 2007) and Robertson, the 2011 Pew Forum study on global Christianity found that 26.8% of the American population identified themselves as “evangelical” which at the time was 94.38 Million people, which is about 33% of the worldwide total of evangelicals. At the time, the USCB estimates that U.S. population was approximately 311.7 million, so 26.8% of that population would be 83,535,600. Again, from two aspects – domestic, and international – evangelicals are a clear minority.
As far as the “easy to command” aspect is concerned, even if it were not true, 2 out of three (66%) ain’t bad.