i’ve heard that ministers & etc will rouse their congregations to go vote for specific people, is this a normal sort of thing in evangelical congregations & if yes would the ministers back romney?
they absolutely do that shit even though it’s completely illegal (churches can technically lose their tax-exempt status for electioneering but i’m not aware of a single instance in which it’s been pulled off) so the wiser ones tiptoe around it by refusing to come right out and say that jesus wants you to vote for huckabee although the message can be loud and clear without containing a specific endorsement. and yes it’s very much the norm in evangelical congregations. when romney wins the nomination i expect the trend will be more of a conspicuous silence from the pulpit or a focus on downballot anti-choice or anti-lgbt initiatives
the actual open candidate & issue advocacy all happens outside of the sermon on sunday morning. ministers apply pressure from the pulpit which is very clear if you speak the language but which, if they have reason to fear scrutiny, is carefully tailored to not be legally actionable. honestly though sometimes they just don’t give a fuck because nothing’s happened to any of them yet so they feel more and more that they have nothing to fear
with that said, don’t overestimate the authoritarianism of these churches. there’s still a streak of antiauthoritariansim in protestants, and most evangelicals don’t need their ministers to tell them who to vote for. they’ve already internalized a certain worldview and value system which they’re perfectly capable of guiding their decision by, even in the absence of nudging from their church
evangelical churches have dozens and, in megachurches, literally hundreds of small groups usually oriented around gender and status like widowed, widowers, college women, men’s reading circle, fatherhood, etc etc etc. these groups meet regularly, tend to be pretty tightly knit, and basically become activist cells when there’s an issue that stirs the hive. evangelicals are profoundly well-organized compared even to liberals, to say nothing of what passes for the left in the US
so they’d volunteer and donate for bachmann in droves but definitely not for romney. they’ll still turn out in november to vote on the anti-choice and anti-lgbt stuff that’s highly likely to be downballot in states where a lot of them live. a few will skip over romney to spite the GOP, a few will enthusiastically vote for ron paul or some constitution party kook, most will just tap romney’s name and murmur ‘lord forgive us’