Do a Google search for “Trump evangelical voters.” It’ll be fun, particularly if you’re an evangelical.
Here are some of my favorites: “Where Christian evangelicals worship Trump more than Jesus — key voters stay loyal to president.” (U.K. Guardian)
“I’m a Pastor Who Ran for Congress as a Republican. Here’s Why I’m Encouraging My Fellow Evangelicals Not to Vote for Donald Trump.” (Time)
“I’m an Iowa Evangelical and a Registered Republican — And I Won’t Vote for Trump Again.” (Newsweek)
That’s from the first page of results. There were two types of headlines, I found.
The first was that Trump was being worshiped by evangelicals as if he were some kind of electoral golden calf.
The other sounded like some kind of anti-drug story, as if they had started casually watching his rallies on TV and ended up crouched in a rainy back-alley, trying to mainline the threads from a MAGA cap. (“Donald Trump: Not Even Once.”)
Not one of these articles on the first page bothered to explore the appeal for evangelicals except as some sort of Faustian bargain or as some kind of mass duping — which seemed curious to me, at the very least.
Whatever the reason is, the support certainly remains — as proven by the reaction when the president made an unexpected appearance at a women’s evangelical event at his Washington D.C. hotel.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the surprise showing at the Trump International Hotel event — along with his faith adviser Pastor Paula White — came on Wednesday.
Video from the event shows attendees laying hands on the president and praying for him:
“Holy Father, we thank you so much for this evening. We thank you for this man of God. We thank you for his courage of standing up as others would rather stay seated,” one attendee prayed.
“Father, we ask you that you protect him. That you to lift him up, that you give him strength and know that he must be tired at times. And we just pray that you give him power like none other. We love him, we hold him up, and we thank you,” she added. “Amen.”
Attendee Rachel Faulkner Brown, a pro-life activist with Atlanta-based Be Still Ministries, said she had “no idea” the president was coming.
“We prayed tonight for @realdonaldtrump because we all need to be prayed for, we all need to be loved and we all will thrive in freedom. Hail to the Chief tonight…WHAT A DAY! #ifyoudonthavelifeyoucanhaveliberty #vote #prolife,” she said on her Instagram page, according to the Daily Mail.
“What an awesome, exciting night for women who are ready to take back our power!” Yvonne Florczak–Seeman of Love from Above, a group based in the Chicago suburbs, reportedly said on Facebook. “And a special thanks to President Trump for showing up to support our work! Together, there isn’t anything that we can’t do! Let’s do this, ladies!”
In remarks Wednesday, Paula White called for “four more years” of Trump and said he would often pray for hours at a time with her family.
“This is a longtime relationship, this is not a political relationship, this is a genuine family relationship that I love to tell about the man who’s now leading the free world as president of the United States.”
The event wasn’t on Trump’s official schedule, with the White House saying the president would give “remarks at a Fundraising Committee Reception.”
There have been few reliably conservative groups that Democrats have felt they can pry away from Trump and the GOP than evangelical voters.
Part of it is an appeal to dignity based on Trump’s personal style, which is a bit more street-fighter than pulpiteer. Paula White herself factors into it; the president’s faith adviser is no stranger to controversy, recently drawing criticism for her recent call for “all satanic pregnancies to miscarry.”
The usual argument takes the form of a wringing-of-hands, though, along with the pretense that the problems with Trump are self-evident: Can’t you guys see what the president is? Can’t you see the immorality? Can’t you see the godlessness?
This hasn’t been a particularly successful strategy, to say the least.
At least from the reception he got on Wednesday, we can tell that these evangelicals remain strongly behind the president.
In the rest of the country, at least as it comes to the 2020 election, it’s difficult to see things being much different.
The media, it seems, still doesn’t get it — no matter how many stories they run about repentant Iowa evangelicals that they seem to believe are representative of the faith community as a whole.
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