The Evangelical Fight to Win Back California

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This division only reinforces what Mr. Graham sees as the urgency of his message. On his bus route from San Diego to Los Angeles, Christian radio stations sometimes faded in and out with Spanish ones. The caravan passed evangelical powerhouses like Saddleback Church, where the pastor, Rick Warren, who hosted a presidential election forum between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008, largely avoids today’s public political conversation, especially if it involves Mr. Trump.

When Mr. Graham reached his third stop, the State Beach Park in Oxnard, nearly 4,000 people showed up, big for a Wednesday night in a working-class city, but less than half of what his appearance drew in Escondido. Before he went on stage, a group called Bikers for Christ, an evangelistic motorcyclist ministry of which Mr. Graham is an honorary member, huddled around him to pray.

Mr. Graham looked out at the crowd, mostly white and Hispanic families, waiting for him in their beach chairs. “People like this out here, that’s what makes America great,” he said quietly, and walked out to the podium to begin his stump speech.

He asked everyone to pray out loud together, specifically for Governor Brown and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, and both Catholics. People began to boo. Mr. Graham caught the energy. “Let’s pray that they get saved, all right? How’s that?” The crowd cheered.

Then, for the next 40 minutes, as the sun set behind him, beyond the sand dunes and into the Pacific, Mr. Graham preached. More than 250 new converts accepted Christ into their hearts that night.

“God bless you,” Mr. Graham told the crowd. “I’ll see you in heaven.”

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