One thing that Trump has traditionally had going for him, support-wise, is white, evangelical voters. This is, on the one hand, surprising, given their highly moralistic outlook and Trump’s reprehensible behaviour and general attitude. On the other hand, this is not surprising because it shows what a thin veneer of morality that they have.
I have documented this variously before.
- Trump and Evangelical Christianity
- Trump on Dumping VP Pence, but Needing the Evangelicals
- Oh My God, Trump! (And How Evangelicals Square the Circle)
- Appeasing the Evangelicals: Trump Is a “Baby Christian”
Trump has to worry when polling from all quarters, though, shows he’s in trouble. Evangelicals still broadly support him, but to a significantly smaller degree. And now, it seems, evangelicals don’t see Biden as too bad an option:
Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has performed better in recent polling among white evangelicals — and other religious groups — than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and is widely perceived as more religious than the current White House occupant. A Pew Research study conducted earlier this year showed that a majority of U.S. adults (63 percent) think Trump is “not at all” or “not too religious,” versus 55 percent who said they believed Biden is somewhat or very religious.
Many conservative evangelical leaders have argued that Biden’s positions on cultural issues — like abortion, judges and religious freedom — are disqualifying. Still, anxiety is growing inside Trump’s orbit about the former vice president’s ability to peel off Christian voters who supported Trump in 2016, including the 81 percent of white evangelicals he carried, according to eight administration officials, White House allies and people involved with the Trump campaign….
“Here’s the problem for Trump: He needs to be at 81 percent or north to win reelection. Any slippage and he doesn’t get a second term, and that’s where Joe Biden comes into play,” said David Brody, chief political analyst at the Christian Broadcasting Network. “In this environment, with everything from the coronavirus to George Floyd and Trump calling himself the ‘law-and-order president,’ Biden could potentially pick off a percent or 2 from that 81 percent number.”
Whether Biden is gaining evangelical support or Trump is losing it is an interesting question. There is no doubt Trump’s support his waning, here, though; but it’s also worth noting that the evangelical voting block is perhaps diminishing as young people flee the flock:
Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, points out that the National Association of Evangelicals says civic engagement must have a “biblically balanced agenda.”
“That large evangelical network is saying you have to be concerned with all of those issues,” he stresses. “And, of course, we also have to look at the character of the candidates.”
Sider notes there also has been a decrease in the number of Americans who identify themselves as evangelical, especially among young people.
“There’s no doubt but that large numbers of young evangelicals are abandoning the evangelical church in droves, some of them even abandoning Christianity,” he states.
Robert Jones, who heads PRRI, says the share of the American population that is white and evangelical has fallen by two percentage points, to 15%, since 2016.
Sider contends evangelicals need to avoid letting one or two issues override all the other values that are at the heart of their faith.
“This brings spiritual danger — not only to the future of American democracy, but even more to societal respect for Christianity, and even the person white evangelicals claim to worship and obey,” he points out.
Sider says the message in his recent book of essays by 30 evangelicals, entitled “The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump,” isn’t to tell people how they should vote, but that they should apply a full range of biblical principles to this and every election.
Stay in touch! Like A Tippling Philosopher on Facebook: