Republicans Are Agents of Change: The Ticker

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By Francis Wilkinson

Liberal critics and a few uncomfortable conservatives have lamented the Republican presidential candidates' recurring forays into Eisenhower-era morality and Coolidge-era economics. But as the campaign approaches Super Tuesday, March 6, it's also remarkable how culturally distant this campaign is from mid-20th-century America.

Super Tuesday states include Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Four years ago, evangelical Christians were 62 percent of the Republican primary vote in Georgia, 72 percent in Oklahoma and 73 percent in Tennessee. Next week, those voters will be choosing among a Mormon (Mitt Romney), two Catholics (Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich) and a lone Protestant (Ron Paul) whose candidacy is widely considered a sideshow.

It's been a long time since Catholic Al Smith of New York first sought the Democratic nomination for president (in an election ultimately won by Republican WASP Calvin Coolidge). But just a few years ago it seemed inconceivable that Republicans would be choosing from a field of presidential candidates without a single viable Protestant.

Even a political party dedicated, in part, to resisting change, changes nonetheless.

(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)


-0- Feb/29/2012 14:40 GMT