Presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden is trying to make inroads with evangelical Christians, the same voting bloc that helped propel Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and still overwhelmingly supports him, The Hill reported.
The former vice president, a devout Catholic, has made a couple of small overtures to the evangelical voting bloc. He scheduled an interfaith service for August 16, and on August 20, a Believers for Biden watch party will witness Biden officially accepting his party's nomination for president.
Josh Dickson, the Biden campaign's national faith engagement director, said that the candidate is taking an approach to courting the evangelical vote that involves listening to the concerns of voters and trying to convince them that the former vice president's agenda is "much more aligned with their common good values than what we're seeing from the current administration."
"Our argument is that Joe Biden's vision for America very much resonates with these values of loving your neighbor, of caring for the poor and vulnerable, of fighting systems of oppression, of sweeping down walls of injustice," Dickson said.
He further noted that he hopes the candidate's Catholic faith will resonate with those voters, their theological differences aside.
Beyond matters of policy, his team hopes that evangelical voters will consider his personal character, as it contrasts with that of Donald Trump, when casting their ballot.
Joshua DuBois, who worked to appeal to religious voters during the Obama administration, said it's "critical" for the campaign to "continue to draw the moral contrast" between Biden and Trump.
"I think if... Biden can speak to his own deep and strong faith and the role that he sees people of faith having in strengthening and uniting our country, he'll give some of those voters an alternative to support," DuBois said.
It's highly unlikely that Biden can win over many voters in the so-called "religious right," his campaign team reportedly believes. But he's hoping he can shift the current numbers by a couple of percentage points.
Katelyn Beaty, the former managing editor at Christianity Today, is not bullish about Biden's efforts to make inroads with Trump's evangelical base. She said the Biden campaign can "realistically hope" to gain not more than about three or four percentage points from the white evangelical demographic. By comparison, Trump earned 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016.
By most measures, Trump has the evangelical vote effectively locked. While some leaders in the community have expressed concerns about the president's personal behavior, they're willing to look past it due to Trump's support on issues such as abortion and religious liberty.