The conservative Christian writer and celebrity has always had something of a tin ear when it comes to conservative evangelical culture. A couple of years ago, for instance, he was ousted from his post as president of The King’s College when he appeared in public with a woman who was not his wife.
Nevertheless, D’Souza’s brand of high-sounding punditry has made him hugely popular among American conservatives. His books and films, such as What’s So Great About Christianity and 2016: Obama’s America, have secured D’Souza’s place as a top name among conservative activists.
This week, D’Souza pleaded guilty to illegal campaign contributions. In order to help the ailing fortunes of Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long, D’Souza set up “straw donors” in order to exceed legal limits on campaign donations. In his plea, D’Souza agreed that this action was “wrong” and “stupid.” He admitted that he knew his actions were illegal. But he also complained that he was the victim of selective prosecution.
Other conservative pundits agree. An editorial in the Washington Times lamented,
Whether guilty or not, the fact that Mr. D’Souza has been singled out for prosecution while others skate past freely reveals President Obama’s thumb on the famous lady’s scale.
Some conservative writers take a different line. Writing in The American Conservative, Rod Dreher insisted that D’Souza must take his lumps. As Dreher argued,
I have no trouble believing that D’Souza may have been selectively prosecuted. But even if he was, that does not justify his knowingly breaking the law. Does this really have to be explained to conservatives, of all people? We can’t call for law and order, but carve out special exemptions for our political allies.
Does this spell the end for D’Souza’s career? As a non-conservative, I would be surprised if any conservative institution were to clamor to be associated with D’Souza after this. But I’ve been surprised before.