White Christians now a minority in the US but still rule GOP

The proportion of white Christians in the United States has dropped significantly to a point where they have now become a minority in the country but still dominate the Republican Party, according to a year-long survey held among more than 100,000 subjects by PRRI.

(REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)Attendees look on from the balcony as Donald Trump addresses a gathering of clergy members at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. September 21, 2016.

During the term of former president Jimmy Carter, white Christians made up 80 percent of the U.S. population, but that figure plunged to 54 percent in 2006. The PRRI study has found that the proportion of white Christians is now down to 43 percent as there was an increase in the number of people who claim to have no religious affiliation, USA Today detailed.

Despite the drop in the overall number of white Christians in America, they still dominate the Republican Party at 73 percent, while 35 percent of the group is made up of evangelicals. On the other hand, less than a third of Democrats are made up of white Christians.

According to PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, the survey showed a transformation of political affiliation into something like a "tribal identity," as race and religion play increasingly bigger roles in this equation.

"If you think about some of the big worries the founding fathers had about political parties, it was that they would accentuate factionalism rather than smoothing it over," explained Jones. "I think we are really seeing that. We are seeing increasingly the Republican Party becoming more and more a white Christian party that is heavily rooted in the South and Midwest and the Democratic Party kind of following along these demographic changes, becoming less white and less Christian."

In an interview with Sojourners about his book "The End of White Christian America," Jones said even U.S. President Donald Trump cannot stop this decline and reverse the current demographic trends. He pointed out that the drop in the number of white Christians has been going on since 2008 and is continuing up to now due to "underlying engines of that change."

In addition, Jones identified the "three Ds" that contributed to the decline of white Christianity in America. These factors include immigration, drop in birth rate among the white population, and religious disaffiliation.