Faith-Based Groups Had a Progressive Effect During the 2012 Election

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Heading into the 2012 election season, few could have predicted that a group of nuns, a network of black churches, and a first-time networkwide voter-mobilization campaign would significantly shape the electoral terrain. But these groups were responsible for significant counternarrative victories for progressive values in 2012.

A faith-based organizing network quietly built resistance to a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like amendment being pushed by conservatives in Florida, successfully reversing public opinion and protecting public services for the state. African American congregations in Ohio and Florida rejected voter-intimidation efforts and instead cast their ballots in record numbers. And a group of nuns on a bus reoriented the focus of election-season headlines from debates over the federal deficit to a national discussion around economic justice.

These efforts promoted the belief that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Each success demonstrated that, at a minimum, we, the people, demand fairness, equality, protection, and a voice—for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters. Most importantly, each win shed light on the durability of these values—values that are holding strong across the nation in a time of financial, social, demographic, religious, and political uncertainty.

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