Presidential Profile, Part V: Huckabee becomes face of Christian right

Republican presidential candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks at Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Woodbridge, Va. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

With Rick Santorum polling at zero percent, Mike Huckabee has become the face of the Christian Right during this presidential election cycle. 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are also polling exceptionally low, leaving Huckabee as the loudest conservative Evangelical Christian voice.

“In 2008, Huckabee was the presidential choice for many voters in the influential religious bloc of the GOP. (Nearly six in 10 Iowa caucus-goers in 2012 identified themselves as evangelical Christians.),” according to ABC News.

Huckabee, who spent 12 years of his professional career as a Southern Baptist minister and then became the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, was a television talk show host for Fox News when he announced his candidacy for president this year.

Religion often informs Huckabee’s political philosophy. He has been vocally against abortion and against gay marriage, calling for a Constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s decision allowing gay marriage. He also does not believe homosexual couples should be legally allowed to adopt children. 

When President Barack Obama appointed Eric Fanning, an openly gay man, to secretary of the Army, Huckabee’s response was swift. Huckabee said Obama was "more interested in appeasing America's homosexuals than honoring America's heroes."

"Veterans suicide is out-of-control and military readiness is dangerously low, yet Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he's nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army," Huckabee continued in his statement.

Huckabee has been a proponent of government banning all abortions, except in cases where the mother faces health risks, and has said in the past that, if elected president, he would repeal Roe v. Wade.

When it comes to college education, Huckabee’s stance is currently without specifics, yet clear.

“The rising cost of college also threatens middle class families, students and the American dream,” reads Huckabee’s website. “For too many, college is where students discover mountains of debt — but not a lifelong career. We must tackle the establishment and reform our colleges and universities so they make sense for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Huckabee has not come out with a definitive stance on climate change, saying in 2013 “predictions have proved inaccurate” but advocating for reducing carbon emissions in 2007.

On immigration, Huckabee’s plan as president would be “self-deportation” within four months for illegal immigrants, as well as increased border security. As for children who were transported to the U.S. illegally, Huckabee is of the opinion that "You do not punish a child for something the parent did."

"The question is: Is [an undocumented child born outside of the U.S.] better off going to college and becoming a neurosurgeon or a banker or whatever he might become, and becoming a taxpayer, and in the process having to apply for and achieve citizenship, or should we make him pick tomatoes?" Huckabee continued in an interview with NPR. "I think it's better if he goes to college and becomes a citizen."

On gun rights, Huckabee supports concealed carry permits and “stand your ground” laws. He has said of Florida’s “Castle Doctrine,” which stipulates people can "stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm,” that “We ought to have the right to protect ourselves. If that [the ‘Castle Doctrine’] were introduced in Arkansas, I would certainly be supportive.”

Huckabee hopes to eliminate the IRS, the income tax and the Affordable Care Act.

While Huckabee thinks that Wall Street executives should have been jailed in 2008, he also thinks “corporate taxes are stupid” and that business regulations usually hurt small businesses.

As of today, Huckabee is running tenth in the Republican party on a RealClearPolitics average of all major national polls at 1.5 percent, behind Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul, respectively. Huckabee is in front of Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry, respectively.


Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sten.spinella@uconn.edu.