"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Broadcasting across

Open communications permeate our society too richly to allow the areas of political segregation – the cultural walls – we’ve built up, to last forever. Sooner or later someone figure out a way through them, and then the bricks will fall.

One of those might be an intriguing experiment in counterintuitive campaigning: Democrats, even somewhat liberal Democrats, campaigning in a theoretically Republican venue. In this case, Christian radio.

Three Oregon House Democratic candidates – Rob Brading, Charles Lee and David Edwards – have started advertising messages on Christian radio stations. The ads have a similar feel: In each, the candidate talks in an easy voice, about how his faith affects his candidacy. Lee, for example: “My father taught me that living by God’s Law makes life easy—all you have to do is tell the Truth and you’ll be fine. But he also taught me that the Truth needs courage and firm convictions to survive.”

All three are in serious races, Brading opposing House Speaker Karen Minnis, Lee against Representative Kim Thatcher and Edwards against Everett Curry – all three seats are substantially up for grabs, in politically marginal areas. (The most interesting of the three may be Edwards/Curry, since Curry is a pastor of a Baptist church in southern California, and since Edwards took a big hit in the Oregonian – including a pulled editorial endorsement – over a hotly disputed matter of political ethics.)

This reach for the “Christian vote” could – if it hits its target – have a real impact on the calculus in those places. We’ll be checking back to see if it worked.

Share on Facebook