Why Did Evangelicals Flock to Trump? Existential Fear

"Counterintuitively, the fact that Trump is bellicose, bombastic, insulting, and lives according to a code at odds with evangelicals’ beliefs actually made him more attractive as an ally, not less. 'Evangelical nice' is a real thing ...That made evangelicals unlikely to see one of their own as capable of defeating an existential threat." - The Bulwark

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Darrell Post's picture

It seems this dead horse keeps getting beaten over and over. Yes, during the 2016 GOP primary process there were some evangelicals (Falwell for instance) who were for Trump, but the vast majority of evangelicals were for someone else. The data does not lie. It was not until the GOP primaries were all but over before Trump got over 50% in any state. He got the nomination because he was running in a lane all by himself. The others were too similar to one another and splintered the vote. Trump could get only 25 to 30 percent in a state and win easily because the 10 others were all mired in single digits. 

But once the options were Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton, many evangelicals decided that of those two options, Trump was the less distasteful, and so they voted for him. Trump is morally bankrupt and doesn't have the right temperament for the job, while at the same time he can make better picks than Clinton for the Supreme Court. Both can be true. 

Bert Perry's picture

Let's be honest here; if Hilliary had won, her judicial appointments would have made any meaningful regulation of abortion impossible for a generation, would have overturned Heller and MacDonald and made the 2nd Amendment a dead letter in the law, and would have greatly deepened the corrupt deep state.  In foreign policy, you would have the strong likelihood that our chief geopolitical opponents would have copies of her emails and would "remind" her of their contents at opportune moments in negotiations and the like.

Not a fan of Trump's business practices or personal life, but we dodged a bullet there.  The question, really, is whether we dodged one to get hit by another.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

2016 left the majority of Americans open-mouthed in wonder. How could someone like Trump win? Why did he get support from evangelicals with such despicable morals and character? Add to that that Republicans can longer claim the moral high ground in arguments. Then we watch the horde wanting a do-over of the election or impeachment. 

I'm reminded of this quote from a novel I just read:

“I have found it best never to ask why when you can ask what. What must be done? What should I do? Why gets you only head-ache or heart-ache.” (From “No Snakes in Iceland”. A novel by Jordan Poss)


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Paul J. Scharf's picture

...how some of the "evangelicals," perhaps embarrassed that their predictions about Trump have largely fallen flat, have done something far more serious than select a candidate (for good or for bad).

Many are abandoning aspects of Biblical truth and embracing social justice, gay Christianity and other cultural phenomena. The speed at which some are apostasizing for the sake of a cultural mess of pottage is mind boggling.

I cannot prove a connection to the concept that they missed it on Trump, and must now move on to something else that will hold attention for a moment, but several have posited such a theory.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Aaron Blumer's picture


Unfortunately, because Trump cannot persuade (indeed, doesn't even try to persuade), many of the very things evangelicals feared have actually been accelerated by his presidency. Because he makes himself so easy to hate, the left has been emboldened -- and more unified -- against traditional Christian and American ideas and against conservatism in general. Though Trump has been able to achieve some policy victorys, they are all coercive (in the sense of "imposed by authority") rather than persuasive (as in "convincing people they're best") -- and they will, therefore, be all the more temporary.

In addition, because Trump and the party that nominated him, are so unattractive to the millennials, both the GOP and conservatism (which is quite distinct from "the right" and the GOP now), will suffer for many years to come.

I'm not among those who see no upside to Trump's presidency. I am certainly among those who think it's not clear at all that the gains will outweigh the losses in the long run.

Ron Bean's picture

Remember how unattractive Bill Clinton became after his immorality and manipulation of of a young intern? Me neither.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

Remember how unattractive Bill Clinton became after his immorality and manipulation of of a young intern? Me neither.

True, but Clinton wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of Evangelicals claiming that he was God’s man.  And it was largely evangelicals that led the accusations of immorality and the claim that “character counts in a President”.

If it was true in the ‘90s, it’s true today.  God didn’t move...we did.

Great post, Aaron.  Very well said.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Darrell Post's picture

Trump's Supreme Court nominees will be on the high court for many years to come instead of Clinton's nominees that never were able to be nominated. While there is much to dislike about Trump, and I agree with the thrust of Aaron's concerns about the long term damage he can do, the damage done by a radical leftist high court would have been even greater. The 2016 general election was painful and the two options available reflected the low status of the morality of the electorate. 

But back to the main point raised by the original article, outside of Falwell and a few others, Evangelicals were NOT overwhelmingly for Trump during the GOP primary process. The data is simply not there to support that assertion. 

Darrell Post's picture

Here is the data showing how during the GOP primary process, Trump was unable to get over 50% in any state until long after the outcome was clear. Below is the percentage of the vote Trump received in each state, in the order in which the states voted:

IA: 24.3% (Cruz won with 27.6%)
NH: 35.2%
SC: 32.5%
NV: 45.7%
AL: 43.4%
AK: 33.6% (Cruz won with 36.4%)
AR: 32.8%
GA: 39%
MA: 49%
MN: 21% (Rubio won with 36%)
OK: 28% (Cruz won with 34%)
TN: 39%
TX: 27% (Cruz won with 44%)
VT: 33%
VA: 35%
KS: 23% (Cruz won with 47%)
KY: 36%
LA: 41%
ME: 33% (Cruz won with 46%)
PR: 13% (Rubio won with 71%)
HI: 43%
ID: 28% (Cruz won with 45%)
MI: 37%
MS: 47%
DC: 14% (Rubio won with 37%)
WY: 7.2% (Cruz won with 66.3%)
FL: 46%
IL: 39%
MO: 40.8%
NC: 40%
OH: 36% (Kasich won with 47%)
AZ: 46%
UT: 14% (Cruz won with 69%)
WI: 35% (Cruz won with 48%)

Finally, after it was down to three candidates, and Kasich and Cruz still fighting for the same voters, Trump was able to get over 50% in New York, his home state.

NY: 59%

Other factors to consider in regards to Trump primary supporters:

1) The profile of early Trump supporters included union households disillusioned and disappointed in the Democrat Party. 

2) Many of the libertarian-minded voters who had voted Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 were on board for Trump in 2016. These voters do not follow a typical evangelical profile. 

3) On the Democratic Party Primary side of things, the whole thing was rigged via Super-Delegates to ensure Hillary Clinton would get the nomination over Bernie Sanders. This freed up Democratic voters in open-primary states to cross over and ask for a GOP ballot and vote for Trump hoping to help him get the nomination as he was considered the easiest out in the general election.

Once Trump got the nomination, evangelicals were faced with voting for immoral candidate A or immoral candidate B, or the option to not vote. The media and Clinton campaign were hoping that evangelicals would sit out and cede the Supreme Court nominees to them. Evangelicals decided not to sit out, and accepted Trump's promise to make conservative picks for the Supreme Court, which he did.

But any article that claims Evangelicals were overwhelmingly for Trump is faulty. Evangelicals for the most part fought the Trump nomination right to the end, even hoping for a brokered convention to stop him. But once the choices were Trump or Clinton, the loss of the high court for 30 years was too great a danger to just sit out the election and let it happen. 



Joeb's picture

Im no fan of Trump either Aaron but unless Mueller’s evidence rises to Trump being in bed with Orangutan Trump is our President until 2024.  The Democrats don’t have anyone that can run against him and right now thanks to the Christian Right Trump owns the Republican Party.  When Pastors are making statements that Trump is God’s chosen one there really is no room for anyone else unless Trump makes a horrendous mistake in the next two years.     

Our Country is still broke and no thanks to Trump.  The US Roman Empire maybe coming to an end. We are spent out and our politicians are still kicking the can down the road.  Payday is coming and to me the Future is Politicians like Rand Paul.  

The Hard Right does not want to spend a dime at any level except to make war machines and the hard left wants to spend it all on welfare ie balancing the scales.   The bottom line the Evangelicals have no where to go but Trump.  So get used to it.  

Trump without question told a bold face lie about the Bimbos and doing business in Russia.  Trump used the campaign to try to close the Russian Deal.  Unethical but not illegal.

Trump  has still never made a clear claim that Christ is in his life.  The Bimbos incident would have been a perfect time to say I’m not making any statement about my past.  I’m not saying anything what happened yeah or nay.  Christ has forgiven me for my past sins and anything of a personal nature is between me and my wife and that’s where it belongs. The Republicans are never going to throw Trump out on campaign finance violations related to the Bimbos since Billy Boy lied about his Bimbo under oath.  That’s all the Republicans have to point to. Plus I don’t think the Democrats want to make the mistake the Republicans did. 

     I don’t feel sorry for Melania.  She knew what she was getting when she married Donald Trump.  

So guys for those who don’t like Trump  he is the only nag in the stable.  

I do believe the Democrats got the house because people wanted a check on Trump.  So look to a future of more grid lock and getting more of your Supreme Court appointments, but forget about the overturning of gay marriage.  The best you can hope for is states putting the brakes on abortion at the state level and that’s where the prolife Movement should focus their energy.  Generating as many cases as possible to go to the Supreme Court to put restrictions on Roe vs Wade.   

Darrell Post's picture

I don't think Trump will win re-election. When you look at the actual electoral map, Trump's narrow margins in MI, WI, and PA can easily be flipped by the Democrat candidate. The union households who voted Trump to bring their industries back will still be in more or less the same condition and will be of a mood to give the Democrats a try again. 

Trump could actually lose the popular vote by a narrower margin than 2016, while at the same time lose the electoral vote. 

dmyers's picture

There have been many articles similar to Dr. Nolte's, with condescending lectures from the evangelical (or "evangelical-friendly") elite to the less-spiritual/dumber Christians who (for absolutely sound reasons, logically and biblically) preferred Trump to Hillary in the presidential election.  Here's a response to one of those other articles absolutely shredding its argument:



Joeb's picture

The only guy I see who could beat Trump is the CEO of Starbucks.  A literal real self made Billionaire who did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth or have 30 mil to get a start from Daddy plus a 400 mil inheritance.  

The CEO from Starbucks wants to run as an Independent.  The answer to that from the Democrats was he is out of touch with the common folk.  The CEO ‘s responded that He Grew up in public housing project in Brooklyn and when he was 7 his father lost his job crushing the Family’s  American Dream. 

That’s the only person I see that could unseat Trump.  Unless the Democrats have a dark horse or pull a rabbit out of hat it is not happening.  The only other  thing that could also unseat Trump is if the economy crashes and burns as it did in 2008/9.  

Addtionally, If Michelle Obama ran she could unseat Trump.  Like you said if Hillary had the turn out of the African Americans in those Districts in question like Obama did Trump would not be our President now.  However the African Americans in PA MI OH and WI are very tied in with Unions and well educated so their not going to go for any baloney.  

Darrell Post's picture


You could be right. I am just looking at it from an electoral college perspective, and with the placeholder Generic-D running against Trump. I know they are likely to nominate someone who is far from generic. But back to the electoral college perspective, Trump is also going to have to work to hold onto states like GA and AZ. 

Don Johnson's picture

Darrell Post wrote:


You could be right. I am just looking at it from an electoral college perspective, and with the placeholder Generic-D running against Trump. I know they are likely to nominate someone who is far from generic. But back to the electoral college perspective, Trump is also going to have to work to hold onto states like GA and AZ. 

Many Republicans who didn't vote Trump will likely come back to the Republican ticket, which could offset losses in the areas you mention. I think the Starbucks CEO could build a winning coalition, but he has to get all in soon and start building it. If he pussyfoots around, trying to test the wind to see if he might win, he won't get enough momentum. Not to mention getting on the ballot in all the states.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Joeb's picture

Don I think your point is right on which means Trump will get another 4 year term.  The only thing that would change it is the economy rocketing down a flushed toilet in the next two years.  

Aaron Blumer's picture


Supreme court ... yes. Again, this is coercive. Nobody's thinking changes as a result of what the Court decrees.

Vote counts... yes, he won. Could win again. Assuming he's the nominee (sadly, seems very likely), he'll probably win again. Doesn't change the reality that "the right" sold out in order to win a pyrrhic victory.

Here's another way of saying what I've been saying:

The GOP and many "conservatives" directly traded away principles in order to win power. Because many of those principles were foundational (e.g., "character matters"), it not only directly traded core beliefs for tactical political power but has fostered the perception that tactical political power is all it's interested in, and that it has no real principles at all.

This exacerbates the polarization problem as more and more thinking citizens become cynical about politics entirely. Rush Limbaugh used to say over and over (maybe still does... stopped listening long ago) that the left was the bunch that didn't really believe in anything but only cared about gaining and keeping power. Maybe so. The right has now joined them.

So what we're seeing, and will see more of, I'm afraid, is more and more power to the tyranny of cliches... because cliches move the ignorant masses to help you win and keep winning power. But they don't get in the way like pesky principles, because if one slogan becomes an obstacle, you just start shouting another one, and the reactive, emotional, non-reflective electorate immediately forgets the old cliche was ever a thing.

As for me, I'm looking for leaders with principles I can "waste" my votes supporting.

mmartin's picture

Aaron, Regarding your comment that conservatives traded away principles in order to win power, do you mean regarding the Republican nomination or the general election?

When it came time to vote during the general election I felt I had four choices:

1.  Hillary:  Could NOT vote for her under any circumstance.  THE worst of all options.

2.  Trump:  Didn't like him either.  One of the worst presidential candidates ever.  His bombast and obnoxious behavior is definitely off-putting or wrong.  But, at the very least he faked, if not outright believed, in many conservative values.  We conservatives had at least some kind of chance pushing back against the liberal waves brought on during Obama.  And, you knew which country he was for.

3.  Another candidate:  Just as well might have voted for Hillary.  Only Trump had a chance to beat her.

4.  Not vote:  See # 3.

At the end of the day, it was pick your poison, and I chose what I felt was the least poison.

So, if this, and I was like many, many other conservatives, is what you mean by trading away principles, I don't understand. 

Given the four choices I've listed here, and I've asked this before, what else were we supposed to do?

There is much talk concerning Trump and his many faults, which indeed are many.  But, it seems to me in this discussion we forget the hard left turn of the Democratic party.  At the moment, do we want Trump or a version of AOC?  Trump or Warren?  Is there any Democratic candidate we Christians, and mostly conservatives, would vote for over Trump?

If it were up to me, I'd try to find Reagan 2.0, but that isn't likely to happen anytime soon so we are left with Trump or (insert radical leftist candidate here). 

Mike Harding's picture

I read this article today, and it gives an interesting comparison between Trump and Truman.  Hanson is a frequent commentator on Television and Radio opinion programs.  I heard Hanson interviewed recently on the Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt radio programs, and I found him insightful.

"In some sense, Donald Trump was replaying the role of the unpopular tenure of loudmouth Democrat Harry Truman (president, 1945–53). “Give ’em Hell” Harry came into office following the death of Franklin Roosevelt. He miraculously won the 1948 election against all expert opinion and polls. Truman left office in January 1953 widely hated. Indeed, his final approval ratings (32 percent) were the lowest of any departing president, except for those of Richard Nixon.

The outsider Truman had always been immersed in scandal, owing to his deep ties to the corrupt Kansas City political machine, and Truman’s patron, the unsavory boss Tom Pendergast. When the novice Vice President Truman took office after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, he knew little about the grand strategy of World War II – and nothing about the ongoing atomic bomb project. For the next seven-plus years, Truman shocked – and successfully led – the country.

Over the objections of many in his cabinet, Truman ignored critics and ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan to end the war. Against the advice of most of the State Department, he recognized the new state of Israel. He offended Roosevelt holdovers by breaking with wartime ally the Soviet Union and chartering the foundations of Cold War communist containment. Many in the Pentagon opposed his racial integration of the armed forces. National security advisors counseled against sending troops to save South Korea.

Liberals opposed fellow Democrat Truman’s creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. Truman was widely loathed for firing controversial five-star general and American hero Douglas MacArthur. There were often widespread calls in the press for Truman to resign. Impeachment was often mentioned. Truman, in short, did things other presidents had not dared to do.

Truman occasionally swore. He had nightly drinks. He played poker with cronies. And he shocked aides and the public with his vulgarity and crass attacks on political enemies. Truman cheaply compared 1948 presidential opponent Thomas Dewey to Hitler, and attacked him as a supposed pawn of bigots and war profiteers. Truman hyperbolically claimed a Republican victory in 1948 would threaten America’s very liberty.

In the pre-Twitter age, Truman could never keep his mouth shut: “My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a w****house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.” When a reviewer for the Washington Post trashed Truman’s daughter’s concert performance, Truman threatened him with physical violence. “It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful,” Truman wrote in a letter to critic Paul Hume. “Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!” Such outbursts were Trumpian to the core.

Truman trashed national icons, in a way that often exceeded Trump’s smears. He deprecated the military leaders who had just won World War II. He was childishly vulgar in his dismissal of MacArthur: “I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a b**** although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.” The latter was an astounding charge in an age of Bradley, Eisenhower, LeMay, Patton, and Ridgway, and admirals such as Halsey, King, Nimitz, and Spruance.

It took a half-century for historians to concede that the mercurial and often adolescent Truman had solid accomplishments, especially in foreign affairs – in part because Truman conveyed a sense that he did not much care for staying in Washington, a city in which he was not invested, did not like, and would quickly leave at the end of his tenure. Even Truman’s crassness eventually was appreciated as integral to his image of a “plain speaking” and “the Buck Stops Here” decisive leader.

Had Truman access to Twitter, or had he a Kansas City federal prosecutor to hound him for his checkered past, he could have self-destructed in a flurry of ad hominem electronic outbursts. Yet Truman proved largely successful because of what he did, and in spite of what he said.

It is (perhaps regrettably) not evident that personal sins equate to failed presidencies. Character lapses are certainly not to be encouraged, but in the Machiavellian landscape of global politics they do not preclude wise leadership either.

Values are absolute and transcend time and place. But the notion of public versus personal, and private sin versus public guilt, changes constantly. In the past, pragmatism guided us about sin and politicians: a man’s demons were his own unless they reached a point of impairing his public career or shaming his office in the eyes of the public. Two nightly martinis at home were okay. Four to five at a restaurant would inevitably become a matter of public concern.

“Damn” in public was tolerated within limits, the F-word never was. Visiting a mistress was regrettable. But, then, who knew the possible private incompatibility or unhappiness within anyone’s marriage? In contrast, sexually cavorting in the Oval Office was inexcusable. Private adultery was a matter of guilt to be judged by God. Sex in the workplace was shameful and to be condemned by the living.

One of the great ironies of our age is that we have somehow managed to become far more sanctimonious than previous generations – and yet far more immoral by traditional standards as well. We can obsess over an unartful presidential comment, but snore through the systematic destruction of the manufacturing basis of an entire state or ignore warlike violence on the streets of Chicago.

Trump’s presidency is too brief to yet be judged absolutely. His personal foibles are too embedded within current political and media hatred to be assessed dispassionately. Too many assessments too quickly have been made about Trump, without much historical context and usually with too much passion.

Neither is it yet clear that Trump is a bad man or a good president, or vice versa, or neither or both. But if the past is sometimes a guide to the present, Trump in theory certainly could become a more effective president than would have been his likely more circumspect Republican primary rivals, while perhaps demonstrating that he is far more uncouth. The paradox again raises the question, when any one man can change the lives of 330 million, what exactly is presidential morality after all – private and personal sins, or the transgressions that affect millions of lives for the worse?"

Adapted excerpt from "The Case for Trump" by Victor Davis Hanson. Copyright © 2019. Available from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, a division of PBG Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of more than two dozen books, ranging in topics from ancient Greece to modern America, most recently The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. He lives in Selma, California. 

Pastor Mike Harding

Jay's picture

I don't know what the author of that Sovereign Nations article is reading, but some of what we say isn't really hard to understand.  In the second paragraph, he writes:

For almost three years, NeverTrump evangelicals have listed Trump’s moral failures as reasons not to vote or support him. They’ve unfortunately continued to rely on dated and imprecise mantras, such as “Christians should not vote for an immoral man.” We’ve pointed out the folly and absurdity of this claim, and I haven’t seen a substantive response. (I encourage you to read the article to put much of this article in perspective). While no one could reasonably affirm that a candidate’s morality is utterly irrelevant to a principled voting decision, the complexity and various forms of immorality in life and the myriad ways that immorality in leaders interacts with existing political and social institutions demands more than a simple principle or mantra for our voting theory. Our time cries out for a robust Christian theory of voting. NeverTrump evangelicals however have given us little beyond lists of Trump’s moral errors lined up against a set of slogans or mere assertions of disparate principles or propositions.

I agree that we need a robust Christian theory of voting.  I'm not sure, however, why the argument for Never Trump is 'dated' or 'imprecise'.  The Never Trump position - which I have held for almost 3 years now is this: "From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).   I don't care what anyone says, the morality that President Trump holds affects all of his decision making, political or not.  I'm not going to argue that Trump has done some good things as President - he has.  I am arguing that he doesn't have the kind of moral character that I would want in someone entrusted with leading the nation, and I've been making that argument since the primaries started.  This guy can't respect the sanctity of his marriage and can't keep his hands off of women when he is married, and I should trust him with more authority and power?  I'll take a hard pass on that any day, and I think that outside of the politicial realm, we'd all agree on it.

I don't understand why Never Trump is difficult for so many to grasp.  If you don't trust someone to do the right thing, you don't give them more power, you give them less.  If people want to vote Trump because they value political power and SCOTUS justices more than they value the character of the person making that decision, then that's on them.  I can't do that and I won't do that.  So in 2020 I'll write in a candidate, or vote for Schultz or whoever, but it won't be Trump.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ron Bean's picture

Is it possible that some are confusing Trump the person with Trump the President? As a person he is despicable but many see his job as President being acceptable.

I asked a friend why he voted for Trump and he said something to the effect "I want someone who will help the economy and hopefully nominate conservative judges. I'm not choosing someone to marry my daughter."


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

dcbii's picture


Jay wrote:

I don't understand why Never Trump is difficult for so many to grasp.  If you don't trust someone to do the right thing, you don't give them more power, you give them less.

It's not hard to grasp.  I just don't (completely) agree.

What the Never Trump types find difficult to grasp (or don't agree with) is what many of the rest of us are thinking which is this: If you don't trust someone to do the right thing, you don't give them more power, you give them less, UNLESS the only other choices are even worse.

Only one of Trump or Clinton was actually going to be president, so not voting or 3rd party just didn't work for many of us.  Out of the two, I preferred the former.  Referring to something I said on another thread, I'd rather have Samson as a leader than the Philistines.  Of course, I'd actually prefer Deborah, or Joshua or Moses, but those weren't the options available to us.

Dave Barnhart

Joeb's picture

I agree with Aaron 100%.   This is really amazing.  One for the books.  

Still though as I said before Trump is the only NAG in the stable to ride.  Ridem Cowboy To 2020 to 2024.  

I know Christians that really believe Trump does not lie.  About his Bimbos About his grades in college about his wealth about anything.  It’s absolutely amazing.  

Like I said unless Mueller has Trump in bed with an Orangutan he will be our President again.  Even if Mueller did the Christians would still believe it’s not true.  Deep State Set Up Process Crimes Perjury Trap.   What’s scary is if Trump for some reason gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar he could blow his dog whistle and some of these Christians would pick up arms and start the next civil war or an insurgency.  Very scary especially when your dealing with the Christian Right Fringe in them there Hills.  You know the ones flying the confederate flag.  

pvawter's picture

What I hear from so many Trump supporters, grudging or otherwise, is protests about the certain dire consequences which would have occurred had they voted for anyone else. Yet only the omniscient Lord can declare with certainty what would happen in some hypothetical future. I assume evangelical Trump supporters would not impugn God's sovereignty, but I struggle to understand how some of them can reconcile their statements with that doctrine.

Joeb's picture

The Lord is control of all things I know this.  He chooses the Kings and directs all things Paul.  So don’t take a tough shot over my bow.  However I agree with Aaron whole heartily on the topic of this thread.  

By the way Paul have you tried dancing and shouting to the Lord.with rattlesnakes with the guys and gals from them there hills.  Question are they usually KJVO.  

Also Paul the Americans spoke in this last mid term election.  They gave the House back to the Democrats. Many long time Republican Districts flipped to Democrat.  Americans wanted a check to Trump’s power and I believe a check to the Freedom Cacus founded by diehard GOTHARDITES IE Daniel Webster Former Leader Of The Freedom Cacus.  Says a lot about the Freedom Cacus who would pick a Satanic Cult Member as their Leader and push him to be Speaker of the House.

Not one Freedom Cacus Member along with their buddy  Al Perkins of the FRC has ever denounced their Spiritual Leader Bill Gothard.

Also throw in Perkins covering up for Closet Gay Ohio State Rep Wes Goodman.  Perkins and his buddy were trying to put Godly Wes through Gay Conversion Therapy most likely Gothard based.  Yet when Godly Wes went off the rails in a big way he allowed Godly Wes to run on again on a Godly Christian Family Man Prolife Antigay Marriage plank.  Guess what Paul Godly Wes lost his office when he was literally caught buck naked with with another naked man in his State Office.  Throw in Christian Right Leaders Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee who were up to their arm pits with Gothard what a Party. 

  So Paul Aaron does have a very good argument about certain Evangelicals using a man with bad character. like  Trump to grab power and compromising themselves.  In fact the above might be worse then Trump as far as their character goes in my mind or at least at the same level.    

Jay's picture

What the Never Trump types find difficult to grasp (or don't agree with) is what many of the rest of us are thinking which is this: If you don't trust someone to do the right thing, you don't give them more power, you give them less, UNLESS the only other choices are even worse.

Well, hey, if we’re going to embrace pragmatism, then by all means do so.  I’ll take a hard pass on that philosophy as well.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture


Jay wrote:

What the Never Trump types find difficult to grasp (or don't agree with) is what many of the rest of us are thinking which is this: If you don't trust someone to do the right thing, you don't give them more power, you give them less, UNLESS the only other choices are even worse.

Well, hey, if we’re going to embrace pragmatism, then by all means do so.  I’ll take a hard pass on that philosophy as well.

If you want to claim that people whose principles are different from yours are simply embracing pragmatism, feel free, though if you are honest, you'll realize that many of us found it much more complex than that.  I don't believe it's pragmatic to desire less evil over more.  We just disagreed on the means to accomplish that in the last election.

Dave Barnhart

Aaron Blumer's picture


Regarding the voting options in 2016, I accept that the choices were difficult and not voting for Trump felt like a vote for Hillary. However, it was not, in my view. A vote is a vote.

No, I'm not one for ignoring outcomes in the voting process, as many idealists are (who wouldn't vote for McCain, for example). So I accept that as far as outcomes are concerned, my vote for that guy from Utah (who's name I can't even remember) indirectly strengthened Hillary's chances of winning. Here's the thing, though, as Christians, is our ethical evaluation process solely a matter of "greatest good for the greatest number"? I believe it clearly isn't, though this is a larger topic than I can fully develop here. So what I'm saying about the voting process (as with other things we do in order to get a good result) is that there are definitely limits on what we may do in order to achieve a good outcome. I was persuaded that even if my vote for a third option helped Hillary win, I could not help Trump win. A vote for somebody is a vote for somebody, even if it is also a vote against somebody. I believed, and still believe, he would be bad for the country in many ways. (Despite being good for it in a few ways.)

And I would add that it was far from obvious, given Trump's character and history, that even the outcomes (beyond winning the election itself) were certain to be better. I've already argued that I have serious doubts about that in the long run.

 On VDH's book: I know Victor is a thoughtful guy, and appreciate his analysis, though I don't agree with all of it. There has been some hard work at rationalization by some on the right. But at least some realize they have made choices that require some justification. That's better than the many who don't seem to see that much.

On Christian theory of voting... Yes, some good points there. It's a tall order, because there's a lot of nuance involved. What many seem to miss is that a powerful leader with a public persona is more than policy; he is a messenger. He is very public, and what he does strongly influences public mores in a culture, whether he wants them to or not. So what a president is privately and what he is publicly -- the distinction matters. Used to be that a president (or a man aspiring to be president) who was unfaithful to his wife, for example, felt the need to keep that private. Even if he failed to do so, he did not think it wise to openly brag about it. The latter is about six different kinds of stupid and bad for the party, bad for conservatism, bad for the USA. We knew that about Trump and nominated him anyway because we wanted to regain power. But what sort of power did we sacrifice in order to gain that kind of power? (I'm saying "we," very generally... I certainly had no part in it!)

Anyway, as for Christian voting theoryit does relate to the question of ethics in general, how we process choices in light of outcomes vs. the meaning of the act itself. We don't affirm, as Christians, that "the end justifies the means," though I think most of us would recognize that sometimes it does.

Pvawter's point is certainly important to the voting theory question also: "...only the omniscient Lord can declare with certainty what would happen in some hypothetical future"

Variations of the old train dilemma come to mind: would you push an old man off a bridge to stop a train in order to save a baby lying in the tracks? (Yeah, I know, how would this happen?! But it's a thought experiment.) Even if pushing the old guy in front the train (which would somehow magically stop the train), would save a hundred children, would it be the right thing to do? Uncertainty about actual outcomes is one of the reasons (but not all of them) most of us feel uncomfortable about saying "yes."

On pragmatism...  Well, this is usually a term people use for what they see as "end justifies means" thinking. I do think there was a lot of pragmatism involved in the Trump nomination. Once nominated, voting for him was a purely pragmatic decision for many, but for others, a mitigated pragmatism I suppose. What I mean is that we all believe in being pragmatic under some conditions. It's just a question of what conditions warrant that, and what don't.

So the difference between the vote for Trump in '16 vs. the vote for McCain in -- was that 2012? -- is a difference of degree, not kind. I wasn't enthusiastic about McCain, and even less so about Palin. But to me, the vote against alternatives made that an easy decision. I didn't think I was being overly pragmatic. But when Trump rolled around... To me, a vote for him felt like a complete sell out for the sake of winning. Couldn't do it.

I can't say a vote for Trump was pragmatism but a vote for McCain was not. One vote is certainly far more pragmatic than the other. I couldn't take my pragmatism that far.

Joeb's picture

Does the end justify the means.  In my mind the Christian Right did just that.  Whatever it takes to accomplish the goal instead of focusing on the local church and changing hearts and minds through Christ.  You said it all Aaron Bravo.  

Trump signing Bibles in a Baptist Church says it all.  Question is how much further will one compromise oneself over Trump God’s Chosen One.