Religious Right Hopping Aboard Trumpgelical Train
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jul 19, 2016 at 10:46:59 AM EST
Despite months of hand wringing, public and private condemnations, expressing support for, and endorsing, other candidates, and a close inspection of his miniscule theological underpinnings, many conservative Christian evangelicals are finding their way back to Donald Trump, as nearly four-fifths of evangelicals are now saying they will vote for Trump. According to the Pew Research Center's recent survey, "Evangelical voters are rallying strongly in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump."

Examining the results of the Pew survey, The Christian Examiner's Gregory Tomlin wrote: "Evangelicals aren't just warming to Trump; they're on fire for the candidate." Not everyone has the same view of the survey. In her report, Christianity Today's Sarah Eekhoff Zyistra maintained that evangelicals will vote for Trump, "But they aren't happy about it."

The announcement of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as Trump's running mate - which came after the Pew survey was released -- will make it even easier for multitudes of evangelicals to back the ticket. "I think he's a very safe pick for Mr. Trump and I think he's someone who will be embraced enthusiastically by conservatives and evangelical Christians," said Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., an early Trump supporter.  

In a somewhat surprising development, evangelical leaders and voters appear to be more slightly supportive of Trump at this point in the campaign then they were four years ago with Mitt Romney. "Now, fully,78% of white evangelical voters say they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, including about a third who `strongly' back his campaign" (http://www.pewforum.org/2016/07/13/evangelicals-rally-to-trump-re ligious-nones-back-clinton/).

Pew pointed out that "White evangelical Protestants make up one-fifth of all registered voters in the U.S. and roughly one-third of all voters who say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party."

Pew also found that "religiously unaffiliated voters - those who describe their religion as "atheist," "agnostic" or "nothing in particular" - are lining up behind Hillary Clinton over Trump, much as they supported Barack Obama over Romney in 2012."

Despite the fact that many evangelicals "do not think [Trump] shares their religious commitment," most believe that he "understands the needs of people like them. Indeed, fully six-in-ten white evangelical voters (61%) say they think Trump understands their needs `very' or `fairly' well, while just 24% say this about Clinton."

In almost every issue area Pew inquired about, including "gun policy," combatting terrorism, "improving economic conditions," "reducing influence of lobbyists," "making wise trade policy decisions," "selecting Supreme Court justices," "dealing with health care," "dealing with race relations," evangelical voters overwhelmingly prefer Trump to Clinton.

"Trump is not a true believer in any sense, both religiously and on the issues, but he's speaking to them," said J. Tobin Grant, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a columnist at the Religion News Service. "He's actively courting them, and that's what the activists want. They want to have a seat at the table, and they felt they didn't have that with Romney."

Pew reported that their survey "also shows that large numbers of both Clinton and Trump supporters view their choice as more of a vote against the opposition candidate rather than an expression of support for their candidate. Furthermore, overall satisfaction with the choice of candidates is at its lowest point since 1992, with roughly four-in-ten voters (41%) saying the choice between Clinton and Trump is a tough one because neither would make a good president."

The Pew survey also found that Catholic voters - one-third of whom are Hispanics -- are supporting Clinton over Trump by 17 points, "a significant shift from the 2012 presidential race, when Election Day exit polls showed Catholics split almost evenly between Mr. Romney and the Democratic incumbent, President Obama," The New York Times' Laurie Goodstein recently pointed out.

In addition, those who claim no religion and are classified as "nones," back Mrs. Clinton by 68 percent to 26 percent.

A recent Public Religion Research Institute-Brookings survey found white evangelical Protestants uneasy about the demographic and cultural changes taking place in the country.

According to the Rev. Robert Jeffress, the influential senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a prominent member of Mr. Trump's evangelical advisory committee, evangelicals have been looking for someone muscular and brash enough to fight back against what many view as concerted attacks on Christians in this country. They appear to have found their man in Donald Trump.




Display:
is the promise to return to the "Good Ole Days" - where minorities kept to their place and could be abused without censure or punishment, where the churches could force their religion on others and get away with it, and he also titillates their greed.

He also feeds their bigotry - saying the things they wish they could say without censure.  The sad fact is that the more fundamentalist a church/person is, the more racist and bigoted they will be.  That's been my observation over decades of being forced to live around fundamentalists (confession - being one for a few years myself, and YES, I was also a bigot - encouraged by the things preached and supported by the churches and church groups I attended).


by ArchaeoBob on Tue Jul 19, 2016 at 02:10:53 PM EST


It is amazing how people reason into unreason. Trump certainly hasn't proved he would think for them what they like or not. He seems to be a con man and maybe a psychopath who don't join anything unless they can get something out of it like wealth or even better wealth and leadership of whatever group they have joined. Not much else. If he is a psychopath it would explain his 180 degrees from his previous positions. His only position is to how to gain more wealth and power. Trump will say anything to get his way. But he isn't known for his general knowledge or even reading books.

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by joannawebster on Tue Feb 02, 2021 at 08:45:34 AM EST

Good article to read. Waiting for the next one.  International Travel I could envision the Pew Research Center's recent survey, in worship before the all-powerful statue of the dollar sign. We've been down this road before, and the results are hideous.

by isabelladom on Thu Sep 01, 2022 at 03:11:52 AM EST


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