Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez complained about voters being influenced by the "pulpit on Sunday" during an event in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Perez, speaking at Demand Justice's "The Court In Crisis: What’s Next For Progressives After Kavanaugh" summit, discussed the need he saw for Democrats to more effectively get their message out to voters.
"[W]e all have to make sure we're fluent in what's happening across our ecosystem so that we can come to each other's defense, because we need to build a bigger orchestra," he said. "They've had a big orchestra for some time, and they've got the megaphones to amplify it, whether it's Sinclair at a local level, Fox at a national level."
He bemoaned the idea voters in certain areas of the country might obtain their news from sources like Fox News, the NRA, and church.
"I've learned this from the outreach we've done at the DNC. Why aren't we penetrating, I asked. And I had someone in northwestern Wisconsin tell me, ‘you know what, for most of the people I know, they're principle sources of information are Fox News, their NRA newsletter, and the pulpit on Sunday.' And it should come as a surprise to no one that our message doesn't penetrate," Perez continued. "It should come as a surprise to no one that that person has elevated the issue, of course, to the top, because that person on the pulpit is saying ‘ignore everything else that this person has done and is doing. We have to focus on one issue of Roe vs. Wade.'"
"And people buy it because that's their only source," Perez added.
The Democratic Party has struggled to appeal to religious voters, especially evangelicals. Eighty percent of white evangelicals supported President Donald Trump in 2016. Protestant voters made up just over half of the electorate in 2016, and Trump won 56 percent compared to 39 percent for Hillary Clinton. A slight majority of Catholics, who make up the second largest bloc of religious voters, supported Trump over Clinton. Trump won a majority of religious voters who attend services at least monthly.
In 2018, 75 percent of white evangelicals supported Republican candidates. Among Protestant voters, 55 percent supported the GOP, while Catholics split about evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Fifty-five percent of voters who attend religious services at least monthly supported GOP candidates.
Last year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) expressed concern about federal court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's ability to judge impartially because of her Catholic faith, telling Barrett "the dogma lives loudly within you."
"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country," Feinstein said.
In a December 2016 interview with The Atlantic about the Democrats' "religion problem," Michael Wear, an evangelical Christian who directed former president Barack Obama's faith outreach efforts in 2012, said Democrats are "not even pretending to give these voters a reason to vote for them."