Who Still Loves Trump? Not Just the Usual Suspects

I thought I understood why so many white evangelicals supported Trump. New information about other conservative Trumpists has me wondering about it all over again.

First and foremost, we need to remember that political opinions are always a mish-mash. Some conservative white evangelicals might support Trump for hard-nosed political reasons, such as control of the Supreme Court. Others might simply revile Hillary Clinton so much that they’d support anyone else. Noting all those caveats, I thought the single biggest reason for white evangelical support for Trump was the hat.

Trump make america great again

Is it the hat? Or something more?

As I’m arguing in my new book, conservative white evangelicals have long felt a sense of usurpation. They have felt kicked out of the elite universities that they themselves founded. They have felt kicked out of mainstream science organizations. They have felt kicked out of mainstream cultural attitudes about sex and behavior.

When candidate Trump promised to “Make America Great Again,” the promise carried a particularly heavy appeal for some conservative white evangelicals. They had long thought that America had gone to the dogs, that it had kicked God out of its classrooms and off its TV screens. The idea of restoring America to a mythic golden-age past has enormous appeal among some conservative white evangelicals.

This week, I’m catching up with old news about another conservative religious group that has similarly fond feelings for Trump, but none of the same unique history in this country. Orthodox Judaism has not had the same sense of proprietary ownership over public space in these United States, but apparently the Orthodox community is even fonder of Trumpism than white evangelicals are.pew chart trump support

At Forward, Elad Nehorai explores the curious fondness for white nationalism and Trumpism among the American Orthodox community. As he points out, Trump’s support seem to be falling among white evangelicals. At least as of December, Pew found white evangelical Trump fans had dropped to 61%. Among the Orthodox, though, support for Trump jumped to 71%, as of last September.

What gives?

Nehorai argues that some of his co-religionists have been so utterly disgusted by liberal politics they are willing to embrace any alternative. As one Orthodox writer offered, if he had to choose between Antifa and the Klan he’d take the latter. Nehorai concluded, for some Orthodox thinkers,

Ultimately, even the KKK may not be as bad as the liberal world.

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18 Comments

  1. Adam, it is very simple why Trump has such wide-spread support among conservatves, we finally have a president on our side in the culture wars.

    Reply
    • I guess that’s the tricky part. In a weird way, some non-conservatives seem to expect conservative evangelicals to act more morally than they would themselves. That is, they are surprised that conservative Christians would enthusiastically support a divorced, casino-owning loudmouth who brags about sexual assault.

      Reply
      • Voting for a man who, for example, affirms pro-life positions, who appoints unapolgetic creationists in his cabinet and pro-life judges, who in one of first actions reimposes Mexico city rules banning foreign aid for abortions, has earned my vote. My only “act” was to cast my ballot. I believe it was one of the most moral “acts” I have ever made.

      • Agellius

         /  February 15, 2018

        Abortion is so high up in the hierarchy of evil that, for a lot of people, opposing it covers a multitude of sins, whereas favoring it rules out a candidate a priori. I’m amazed at how often this simple and obvious fact gets overlooked in discussions like this.

  2. Agellius – who has established the hierarchy of evil, which is presumably based on a hierarchy of sin? I would like to see the rank order.

    Reply
    • Agellius

       /  February 16, 2018

      Douglas:

      I think it’s pretty commonly agreed among all civilizations and religions throughout the history of the world that murder is the worst sin you can commit, or at the very least, pretty near the worst. Obviously some deny that abortion is murder because they deny that unborn human beings are human beings, but the people I was referring to — those who oppose abortion — do not deny that, and therefore consider abortion murder, and therefore among the worst sins you can commit.

      Reply
      • I take that as a yes, your religious perspective is that there is a stratification of sin, such that in the 10 Commandments, number 6 is the worst. So, that’s one that maybe many people would agree upon. What about the stratification of other sins listed in the Commandments or in the 7 Cardinal sins? One can find scripture that would support the idea that all sins are not equal, and also find scripture that says that all are equal. Thus, for the middling sins, for example, how does one declare that homosexuality is far greater a sin than gluttony? I have seen a lot of fat Christians make that argument.

      • Agellius

         /  February 16, 2018

        Adding to the enormity of the evil of abortion are the sheer numbers. Murder per se is bad, but six million murdered Jews goes down as one of the greatest evils of all time, as well it should. Still, that’s only a fraction of the number of babies aborted in this country since 1973. Therefore, if you can understand why a candidate favoring genocide would be regarded with horror by a large portion of the electorate (hopefully all of it), then you have an idea why millions of anti-abortion voters put that issue at the top of their list of voting criteria.

      • Agellius – as I noted, murder is considered by most to be horrific, and I would include the slaughters that were ordered, overseen and approved by the God of the Hebrew Bible. But you beg the question regarding my query of the hierarchy of the ‘lesser’ sins/evils.

      • Agellius

         /  February 17, 2018

        Douglas:

        I ignored the question because it’s beside the point.

      • The point being abortion is murder, eh?

      • Agellius

         /  February 17, 2018

        Douglas:

        No. The point was that I was responding to Adam’s statement that liberals/progressives are surprised that “conservative Christians would enthusiastically support a divorced, casino-owning loudmouth who brags about sexual assault”. My answer is that abortion outweighs all that, just as genocide would for most people, if genocide were an issue in any of our elections.

      • I understand that point, but your underlying belief is that abortion is murder, basically equivalent to that of first degree murder. That is not the belief of many Christians, and it is not the law of this country. The law describes various degrees of murder, and currently none of those applies to abortion. I believe that the dualistic notion of pro-abortion vs anti-abortion does not address the complex nature of the issue; I suspect that many folks would like to have abortions be highly regulated, but not a crime.

      • Agellius

         /  February 18, 2018

        I’m not going to quibble about whether it’s first or second degree murder or what have you. The point is that abortion has meant the deliberate killing of over 50 million unborn human beings in the U.S. since 1973. To many millions of people that’s an evil of enormous proportions. I understand you would like this to be a “complex issue”, I suppose because when something is “complex” then it’s harder to fault people for taking the wrong side on it. Fine, I’m not concerned about faulting people for it. I don’t hate Hillary Clinton or anyone else for being pro-choice. But I’m not going to vote for them.

  3. There is also the simple fact that these religious people are still people of this day and age. They’re quite cynical and quite rightly so. They do not truly expect any politician to be actually moral in most or even many ways. They concentrate on what that politician will do politically. Their act of morality, like Mr. Mcleroy’s, was to vote for the politician who made the most plausible claim to do “good works” that their God would approve of.

    Or, given the nature of the times, it might be just a case of jus ad bellum; it being acceptable to use and promote an immoral person to defeat a worse enemy.

    But hey! I’m not any form of Christian or Jew. I’m what is normally labeled a Pagan. That being said, I’d feel safer and thrive better under a Christian theocracy in America than in the “nation” that the liberals and progressives want to replace America with.

    The Left in recent years has turned Niemoller’s work on its head. They came first for the Christians, especially the Evangelicals. Hence, I speak out even though I’m not a Christian because, if they fall, there will not be enough left to speak out when they come for me.

    Reply
  4. Jonolan – suppose it depends on exactly what type of Christian theocracy you are talking about re feeling safer and thriving. The theocracy of McLeroy and fellow travelers does not sound so grand to me, nor to most of the people that I know. It is one based more on Leviticus than on Matthew 25. Indeed based on the life and teaching of Jesus, one can make a good case that “Christian theocracy” is an oxymoron.

    Reply
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