|dc.description.abstract||?Make America Great Again!? The slogan rings of a brighter past, a dark present, and hope for a better tomorrow. Embedded in this exclamation is a mission to return a morally-lost state from the clutches of progressive liberalism, civil rights, rampant feminism, and an epidemic of secularism to its former glory. For many, this simple slogan evokes nostalgic dreams of an America not seen since the 1950s. For others, the slogan represents a dangerous nationalist agenda that propagates archaic values at the expense of progress made during the Obama presidency. On either side of the divide, aspiring political leaders invoke the family as the fundamental building block of American society. Both sides characterize the platforms of their opponents as antithetical to interests of the family. Moving past this binary, I propose since the 2016 election, models of candidate behavior have deviated from the pre-Trump era but still emphasize family.
In this essay, I seek to the role of family values in political campaigning, particularly in the midterm elections. First, though, I will present the history of family values as a political movement begun by the Christian Right. Second, and key to my argument, I will use the rhetoric created during the height of the Christian Right of the as a lens through which to examine current political candidates of the 2018 elections and determine what survived the years following the movement. I will assess the way ?caregivers,? ?moms? moms,? ?old-school Democrats,? ?Trump men,? ?anti-feminist women,? and ?pater familias? candidates use family values in vastly different ways to work toward the same goal: establishing credibility with their voter base. Together, these cases will present insight to how the Christian Right continues to influence American politics through its social agenda to return American families to their former glory, while also provoking those on the other side of the issue to militate against this social order.||