The Evangelical Reckoning Over Donald Trump

White, conservative Christians voted for the Republican candidate by a huge margin, but this election revealed deep fractures among leaders and churches—especially along racial lines.

.. But for some evangelical leaders, and particularly women and people of color, this election was never about power jockeying or compromise. To them, Trump represents a bigoted, misogynistic worldview and an existential threat. More than all the nasty barbs exchanged the campaign and the months of divisive arguments, this is the greatest challenge evangelicals have to reckon with in the wake of the election. White, conservative Christians may have thought they were just casting a vote for president, but some of their brothers and sisters in the church see their choice as a direct and personal assault.

.. Moore, said Falwell, “doesn’t speak for the church members or the evangelical public any more than Louis Farrakhan speaks for all Muslims or I speak for all evangelicals. It’s just one person.”
This is one of the big questions about Christianity in the Trump era: Who really speaks for the “evangelical worldview”?
.. Some of them are effectively historical artifacts: Ralph Reed, who led the Christian Coalition during the ’90s, for example, has been a big Trump supporter and is often quoted in the press. But when I spoke with students at the evangelical Liberty University, many said they’d never heard of him.
.. “I don’t make the distinction between evangelicals who aligned themselves with Trump versus evangelicals who didn’t,” he said. “I instead think the division is over motive and mode of operation.”
.. Roughly 81 percent of white evangelicals supported Trump, but many seem to have low or mixed opinions of him. The divides are also racial: Only 60 percent of all people who identify as Protestants voted Republican. The gap between that number and the number of white evangelicals who voted for Trump reflect the views of evangelicals of color, along with some theologically liberal or mainline Protestants.
.. This election was not a race to the top on matters of personal integrity; as Al Mohler, the vocally anti-Trump president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said during the campaign, if he were to support Trump, he would have to apologize to Bill Clinton
.. “You’ve now hitched your wagon to the GOP and Mr. Trump in ways that just ruin moral credibility in the country,” said Thabiti Anyabwile, a theologically conservative Baptist pastor in D.C. “I don’t know how you recover from that.”
.. Some evangelical leaders who supported Trump dismissed the allegations of misogyny as a distraction.
.. But a few predicted that this election could permanently damage attempts to create unity among evangelicals.
.. Anyabwile anticipates that it will be harder to get people to engage with his church, which is in a heavily black area of D.C., and harder to get his congregants  to engage with evangelical culture more broadly. That could pose a huge demographic challenge for churches that are trying to engage with an increasingly racially diverse American population. “Evangelicals in this vote have created a pretty deadly and chilling effect on their witness to Christ and the gospel and the scriptures,” he said. “There’s not only a credibility problem in terms of the body politic. There’s also an evangelistic problem.”
.. Others say that Trump is a new man, that everything he’s said on the campaign trail—about women, Mexicans, Muslims, the “inner city,” and more—does not reflect who he truly is. “I’ve seen a lot of change in him in the last year or two. He’s a different man,” said Falwell Jr. “I believe everybody is redeemable, and I think Donald Trump has been positively influenced by the American public that he’s interacted with over the past year.”

Trump’s Delusions of Competence

Last fall, the now-presumed Republican nominee declared: “Our wages are too high. We have to compete with other countries.” Then, as has happened often in this campaign, Mr. Trump denied that he had said what he had, in fact, said — straight talker, my toupee. But never mind.

.. The truth is that wage cuts are the last thing America needs right now: We sell most of what we produce to ourselves, and wage cuts would hurt domestic sales by reducing purchasing power and increasing the burden of private-sector debt. Lower wages probably wouldn’t even help the fraction of the U.S. economy that competes internationally, since they would normally lead to a stronger dollar, negating any competitive advantage.

The point, however, is that these feedback effects from wage cuts aren’t the sort of things even very smart business leaders need to take into account to run their companies. Businesses sell stuff to other people; they don’t need to worry about the effect of their cost-cutting measures on demand for their products. Managing national economic policy, on the other hand, is all about the feedback.


42 Trump Takes in 2000 Words

Supporters don’t have to believe Trump will get Mexico to pay for a wall, they can observe he’s building a coalition that is incapable of backtracking towards Hispanics in the general.

.. I do think those anxieties are worse now, but institutional breakdown is also important.

.. The chickens are coming home to roost. Trump is the culmination of three major GOP trends: the bubble mentality where outside opinions aren’t respected, much less engaged, the Southern Strategy of racial resentment, and the embrace of conservative economics. Trump is the symptom here, not the disease

.. Egged on by Fox News and other institutional players, those arguing that President Obama’s agenda was fundamentally radical, a hijacking of government designed to destroy the American way of life, were bound to see this explode in their faces when they then tried to run more respectable candidates.

.. For the past decade, the GOP has been responding that liberals and Democrats don’t have reasonable disagreements, but that they are instead committing treason and trying to destroy the country. If you toss both evidence and civility overboard in your politics, of course someone like Trump will show up

.. It’s also talk radio. If you are reading this, chances are you don’t listen to much conservative talk radio, even though it’s massive, an order of magnitude size larger than whatever “respectable” conservatives you read online. Trump’s scorched earth approach reflects the mindset and worldview talk radio creates much more than the DC consultant class

.. The Republican base doesn’t share elite ideological commitments to entitlement-slashing and low taxes. The Tea Party views these programs not through abstract ideological commitments but in terms of deservedness. That the GOP left 2012 thinking they didn’t need to back off an agenda of more immigration and cutting both taxes and entitlement had them walking right into this mess

.. neoconservatives used to get this. Their bread-and-butter was being for the New Deal but skeptical of the War on Poverty, and they were the perfect intellectuals to guide the Reagan Democrats into the GOP. Yet they quickly fell in line with the movement, trading any thoughts on economic policy to the libertarians in exchange for getting to run the foreign policy

.. ”Movement conservatism is a jobs program. Those who have the jobs in DC are happy. No one else is”

.. It’s also the media too. Their fake “objectivity” and “neutrality” has stopped their role as gatekeepers against an authoritarian political figure (Glenn Greenwald). Their desire for clicks and eyeballs have them giving Trump more coverage and credibility than he ever deserved (Eliana Johnson). Maybe, but the coverage is just as much a demand as a supply phenomenon, and the turnouts Trump is getting is bigger than what could be driven by CNN stories. Also Republicans have spent so much time saying the media is corrupt it’s rich to have them expect the media to bail them out here.

.. By forming a young, multiethnic coalition that is liberal on social issues, Obama has alienated blue-collar Democrats, forcing them into the GOP but the GOP doesn’t know what to do with them, so Trump