In an op-ed for The New York Times, Robert Jones, author of The End of White Christian America, gives some insight into the number of Evangelicals who voted for Trump.
Between Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2016, America has transformed from being a majority white Christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white Christian nation (43 percent).
But on Election Day, paradoxically, this anxious minority swarmed to the polls to elect as president the candidate who promised to “make America great again” and warned that he was its “last chance” to turn back the tide of cultural and economic change.
No other group believes things have changed for the worse since the 1950s more than white evangelical Protestants (74 percent), who turned out strongly and gave Mr. Trump 81 percent of their votes, according to the early exit polls. And here’s a finding that signals why Mrs. Clinton came up short: a majority (55 percent) of independents also agreed that American culture and way of life have changed for the worse since the 1950s.
The bigger question is why. Donald Trump is not even close to being a leader for the Christian Right. The man cannot quote a Bible verse. He does not even pretend to be religious. So what caused these Evangelicals to latch onto a thrice married con artist?
The biggest problem was Clinton Hatred. Most of these folks have had it drilled into their heads for years that the Clintons sit at the right hand of Satan. And they believe it with all of their hearts. Never mind that Hillary has never been found guilty of anything, or that Bill’s mistakes are minuscule in comparison to those who went after him; if it is negative about a Clinton, it is true, and it further proves how evil they are.
The White Christian Religious Right has also convinced itself that it is the victim of persecution. From Starbucks’ cups to Happy Holidays, making cakes to gay marriage licenses, and everything in between, it is always the poor Christian majority being beat up on by the liberal meanies. They will latch onto anyone who comes along and promises to protect them and their beliefs.
They are lashing out against “Political Correctness”. It is inexplicable to them that gender neutral pronouns and transgender-friendly bathrooms and LGBTQ protections would exist at all. They do not understand why they have to make accommodations and adjustments for a small minority of people, one that opposes everything they believe. Again, this is the fault of liberals and their “identity politics”.
The Supreme Court is the end all argument. Guns and abortion are the two sacred causes. Evangelical Trump supporters could overlook any deficiencies or deficits for the promise of the right SCOTUS nominees. By the time Election Day arrived, they were convinced the 2016 winner would get 4-5 picks.
I cannot stress enough how much of this is preached from the pulpits in church. Evangelical leaders have tied themselves to Trump, and despite everything he has done, despite all the things we have learned about him, they have continued to twist themselves into pretzels to support him.
The younger generations are rejecting the strictness of the fundamentalists. Their numbers are shrinking. The White Christian Religious Right’s days are numbered, and although they won this battle, they are destined to lose the war. This is merely a setback.
Reason and logic will prevail. We just have to keep fighting.