Frank Lockwood is not your ordinary Washington, D.C., correspondent.
His career trajectory has featured a mix of political reporting and stints as religion editor for the Lexington Herald-Leader and later the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
At one point, he was known — as GetReligion’s archives attest — as the “Bible Belt Blogger.”
So when my Google News Alert for mentions of “evangelicals” turned up a Lockwood piece on President Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with evangelical leaders, I wasn’t surprised to find an insightful piece.
Lockwood, who has reported for the Democrat-Gazette from the nation’s capital since 2015, gets politics and religion. And he works for a newspaper that still strives hard to report stories such as this in an impartial, balanced manner — as in, no snark concerning Trump and the religious voters who make up such a crucial part of his base.
The Democrat-Gazette’s lede:
Evangelicals, who were crucial to President Donald Trump's election, are pleased thus far with their White House ally, prominent leaders say.
The New York Republican is counting on his Christian conservative base to help him win a second term.
"I love the evangelicals. And they love me," Trump said in February, repeating a line he had also employed during the 2016 campaign.
The strength of that relationship will matter on Election Day 2020, pollsters say.
Without a fired-up white evangelical voting base, Trump's possible pathways to a second term narrow considerably, according to pollster Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.
"They're a quarter of all voters and they vote 80 percent Republican, so it's a very important constituency on the Republican side of politics," said Jones, the author of The End of White Christian America.
Why report this story now?