Continued Support for Trump Among Evangelical Christians Is No Mystery

Storm clouds building

I'm not sure why some in the news media are still asking whether there is anything Donald Trump can do to lose the support of evangelical Christians. Continuing to pose this question seems even stranger when they already have an acceptable answer. Why do they seem so reluctant to accept the answer and move on?

This article by Jack Jenkins for Religion News Service quotes an email from Rev. Robert Jeffress:

It’s doubtful that the latest indictment of President Trump will have any meaningful impact on his overwhelming popularity with evangelical voters, given the fact that previous indictments have only increased his support among Republicans — and most evangelicals vote Republican...

Right. They've adopted him as one of their own, and they'll stick with him.

Jenkins also points to a poll showing that 76% of white evangelical Christians don't believe Trump committed federal crimes. Some of his supporters still believe his lies. They think the "deep state" is "persecuting" him. Many others don't care. It doesn't matter to them whether he committed the crimes with which he's been charged.

The key quote from Jenkins' article that tells us everything we need to know comes from Michael Wear. Wear is not only an evangelical Christian, but he provided faith outreach for both of Barack Obama campaigns. His take on the matter is simple but rings true:

The majority of white evangelicals have accepted this idea that Trump wants what they want — I’m not sure this indictment changes that.

As long as they think Trump wants what they want and can deliver, they'll support him. It helps to recognize that evangelical Christians on the right know how to come together. They may squabble a bit during the primaries, but they'll unite for the general election. Can the same be said for voters on the left? We'd better hope so!

There is great appeal in asking questions like this to attract readers. We've had the answer to this one for some time, though. A more interesting question could be whether any of Trump's Republican opponents will be able to change how voters feel about these indictments. I'd guess not but acknowledge that we haven't seen many attempts yet.

As I wrap this post up, an even more intriguing question occurs to me. What is it about evangelical Christians on the right that make them so susceptible to this sort of manipulation? It seems like a clever politician can get them to abandon their claimed values without much effort. Why is that?

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