The GOP debate stage was remarkably less crowded at the 10th than it was at the first -- but the drama certainly didn't suffer for it. Less than a week before Super Tuesday -- when voters in a dozen states will likely vote a couple more candidates off the island -- the five men still standing did their best to make a lasting impression on voters. And they made an impression all right -- as bitter antagonists so busy tearing each other down that they failed to focus on America's future.
"I showed anger," Donald Trump has said, "and the people of our country are very angry!" Obviously, anger has its place. In fact, it's probably the single largest motivator in the record primary turnouts this year. But anger doesn't govern a nation. Policies do. It's time to get beyond the name-calling and playground antics and start talking about a vision of moving America forward. Not having a broader, civil discussion about the candidates' vision is doing a serious disservice to the process.
In the days since Trump's surprising South Carolina victory, reporters have asked me why I think evangelicals are so divided in this race. Like most pundits, they're baffled at the success that Donald Trump in particular is having with Christians. Why, they want to know, are so many supporting a man who doesn't necessarily reflect their biblical values? Two words: fear and frustration. Fear of a country they hardly recognize -- and frustration with a political class that over-promises and underperforms. But here's the problem: you can't be fearful and thoughtful at the same time. When we operate out of fear and frustration rather than faith and reason, the results are often disastrous.
Our good friend Ken Klukowski, now with First Liberty Institute, talked about how the feelings of betrayal may be driving this bloc to act so unpredictably. "Some voters demand to see a person's record. They want consistency. Others, if they are hearing the right things, they feel so abused by some elected officials in the Republican Party they thought they could rely on, that they are cynical of politics in general."
With a quarter of the delegates on the line for the nomination next week, here's my message to Christian conservatives: stop fearing and start thinking. Just because a candidate shares your anger doesn't mean he shares your values. The only way to know if these leaders can satisfy both is to take a long hard look at their records -- which you can find right here in FRC Action's Presidential Voter Guide. Do America a favor -- do your homework before you vote. The future of this race, and so much more, depend on it.
"DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins has made an endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity."