Franklin Graham quit the GOP a while ago, and he’s still probably voting for Trump or Cruz

Multiple reports are circulating that Franklin Graham quit the GOP yesterday after the Republican-controlled Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that included funding for Planned Parenthood. The reports are based on this Facebook post, in which Graham cites the bill as “an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent” before noting that he doesn’t trust the Democrats, Republicans or even the Tea Party “to do what is best for America.”

He’s not done with politics, though. Not by a damn sight. In announcing his resignation from an organized political party, he called on religious conservatives across the country to get more involved in the political process than they already are. He also suggested that he would soon launch an effort to influence the political process. As he wrote:

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham

Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble. I want to challenge Christians, even pastors, across the country to pray about running for office where they can have an impact. We need mayors, country commissioners, city council members, school board members who will uphold biblical values.

In just a couple of weeks, I will begin going state by state to every capital in our nation to hold prayer rallies for our country and share this same challenge on the Decision America Tour. Des Moines, Iowa, is first on January 5. I hope you’ll join me in your capital—check decisionamericatour.com for more dates and details.

To be clear, none of this means that Graham quit the GOP yesterday. According to public voter registration information in Graham’s home state of North Carolina, he hasn’t had a partisan affiliation for quite some time. Furthermore, his insistence that he doesn’t have faith in any of America’s major political parties and his call for more Christians to go into politics are carbon copies of comments he made in April and May of this year.

Furthermore, none of this means that Graham isn’t going to continue to support Republican candidates for office. After all, he voted in the Republican primaries in 2014, 2012 and 2010 (North Carolina allows unaffiliated voters to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primaries in a given year). While Graham has said previously that he isn’t planning on endorsing a candidate in the Republican primary, he’s had kind words for Donald Trump. Trump, along with Ted Cruz, who has locked up the support of many of Graham’s fellow evangelical leaders, speaks to widespread conservative disaffection with Republican in Congress over their inability to force President Obama to sign on to his entire theocratic agenda.

These conservatives may not identify with the Republican Party anymore, but they absolutely love religious Republican candidates. So perhaps they’ll send Ben Carson $15 through the mail instead of responding to the RNC’s email begging them for cash, but rest assured: these are still Republican voters. They, along with Graham, aren’t going to sit out the 2016 election. For all of their bluster about the Republican Party having given them up, let them down, run them around and hurt them, they still think that Marco Rubio is a thousand times better for them than Hillary Clinton — despite Clinton’s deeply religious roots.

Something tells me that Franklin Graham will be more than happy to hold his nose and “settle” for Ted Cruz.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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