Red States

Texas ghosts: Rural Democrats in Lone Star State don't like Trump, but what issues do matter to them?

Texas ghosts: Rural Democrats in Lone Star State don't like Trump, but what issues do matter to them?

At the top of today's Dallas Morning News front page is a political feature heavy on anecdotes, but rather short on the hard facts -- especially about links to religion.

The basic storyline is that rural Democrats in Texas counties that voted heavily for President Trump face a stigma.

The big, bad Republicans, it seems, don't care much for folks who'd dare cast ballots for the other party.

Know what I mean, pardner?

My major problem with the story is that it never really provides any concrete evidence to back up its claim.

But the piece does hint at a potential better story, albeit one this report almost completely ignores. I'm talking about the fact that the counties in question used to be dominated by "'Yellow-dog' Democrats — those who would sooner vote for a dog than a Republican." (You may recall that just the other day, GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly pointed out that the late Rev. Billy Graham was a registered Democrat.)

So what happened? Is there any chance that holy ghosts are involved?

 

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5Q+1 interview: Why this pastor believes media misinterpreted Trump's order on refugees

5Q+1 interview: Why this pastor believes media misinterpreted Trump's order on refugees

OKLAHOMA CITY — Media coverage of President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring refugees from seven countries has displeased Bill Hulse, a Southern Baptist pastor in one of the reddest of the red states.

"I don’t think it was an attack on religion," said Hulse, senior pastor for the Putnam City Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. "I think he was pretty clear that this would be until we could vet who was coming in, that radical Muslim terrorists are our enemy right now."

The phrase "Muslim-majority countries" — describing Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — has appeared in many, if not most, news reports on Trump's action.  

However, some — including the editor of the Wall Street Journal — see that terminology as "very loaded." It wrongly focuses, critics maintain, on religion instead of the potential terrorism threat posed by certain countries. Others dispute the notion that this is anything but a "Muslim ban."

Hulse serves a conservative congregation — theologically and politically — that averages Sunday attendance of about 700. The 53-year-old pastor expresses a desire to show Christian love and compassion to immigrants and refugees. But he's concerned, too, for the nation’s security.

Despite worries about Trump’s character, many members of Hulse’s church supported the brash billionaire’s winning presidential campaign. Trump’s opposition to abortion — including promising to appoint pro-life U.S. Supreme Court justices — and support for heightened border security were among the reasons why, the pastor said.

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Boo! No ghosts in WSJ coverage of rural-urban divide

In a 2006 column about my grandparents, I reflected on my rural upbringing: I close my eyes and I am back in Hayward, a speck on the map in southeastern Missouri’s Bootheel where my Papa and Grandma Ross lived.

I see my grandparents’ wood-paneled station wagon parked outside the two-story house that Papa built himself. Nearby, there’s a boat and fishing poles still dripping wet from a day on the Mississippi River.

I hear the crush of dirt under my feet as my brother, sister, cousins and I play hide-and-seek amid rows and rows of taller-than-us corn stalks. I smell the monster-truck-sized hogs that a neighbor raised in a cesspool of mud and slop.

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Ghosts in blue-state — er, red-state — West Virginia?

There’s a lot to digest in the Washington Post’s nearly 4,000-word political road trip to West Virginia, headlined “A blue state’s road to red.” Even at that word count — mammoth for a newspaper — it’s a definite challenge to boil down an entire state, its people and their attitudes and way of life into a single story.

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Too little news, too much analysis?

A flurry of e-mailed links to religion news stories flies back and forth each day among your friendly neighborhood GetReligionistas.

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Pod people: Red America and Bible Belt atheists

On the latest Issues, Etc. podcast, host Todd Wilken and I discuss my recent post on a Washington Post story that featured a red-state American in her natural habitat.

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Red-state American in her natural habitat

I gotta admit: Just a few sentences into this Washington Post feature on post-election Red America and I was already worried.

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