DNC chairman Tom Perez called on Democrats to take on a “broader communication strategy” because they are not getting their message to voters who are influenced by the “pulpit on Sunday.”
Speaking on Wednesday at a conference titled “The Court in Crisis: What’s Next For Progressives After Kavanaugh” and organized by Demand Justice, Perez said, “[W]e all have to make sure that we’re fluent in what’s happening across our ecosystem so that we can come to each other’s defense, because we need to build a bigger orchestra. They’ve had a big orchestra for some time and they’ve got a megaphone to amplify, whether it’s Sinclair [broadcasting corporation] at a local level, Fox at a national level. I’ve learned this from the outreach we’ve done at the DNC. Why are we penetrating, they ask. And I had someone in northwestern Wisconsin tell me, ‘You know what? For most of the people I know, their principal sources of information are Fox News, their NRA newsletter and the pulpit on Sunday.”
Perez added, “And it should come as a surprise to no one that our message doesn’t penetrate. It should come as a surprise to no one that that person has elevated the issue, of course, to the top because that person on the pulpit is saying, ‘Ignore everything else that this person has done and is doing. We have to focus on one issue in Roe versus Wade.’ And people buy it because that’s their only source. So as we move forward here we’ve got to talk about these substantive ideas, but we’ve got to talk about a broader communication strategy. We’ve got to talk about other reforms that will enable us to elect Democrats up and down the ticket so that we can actually have the capacity to implement them.”
"And people buy it because that's their only source," Perez added.
In April, Perez released a statement that reiterated his uncompromising stance on abortion, saying: "Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," and added, "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."
The Democratic Party has continued to struggle in relating to voters motivated by religion, especially evangelical Christians. According to a study by the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College, 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Other studies showed that a slight majority of Catholics, who make up the second largest bloc of religious voters, supported Trump over Hillary Clinton. And Trump also won a majority of religious voters who attend services at least monthly.
Some Democrats have been religious identity into a litmus test. For example, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said that federal court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's would be unable to judge impartially because of her Catholic faith. Telling Barrett during a confirmation that "the dogma lives loudly within you," Feinstein said: "When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."
In The Atlantic Magazine in December 2016, Michael Wear, an evangelical Christian who headed Barack Obama's faith outreach in 2012, said fellow Democrats are "not even pretending to give these voters a reason to vote for them."
Tom Perez comes out firmly against religion, complains that voters are too easily influenced by the "pulpit on Sunday," and pastors' sermonizing against abortion -- "and people buy it!" pic.twitter.com/CnwF8MJz9Z— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 6, 2018