Donald Trump is seen as a man of faith by evangelical Christians

The natural order of things

Trump is a convenient vehicle for this. He is happy to forgo democracy, pluralism and the constitution – all of which he views as highly inconvenient barriers to his power.

He may not be religious, but his lifestyle accords with much of the evangelical ideal. There’s the money, which suggests he is both smart and blessed. There’s the silent, sidelined wife. That it is impossible to imagine Trump rocking a wailing baby to sleep may strike liberal feminists as a sign of several fatal character defects; for many white evangelicals, it suggests he knows the natural order of things.

The strongest Trump supporters are those who believe that men are now a persecuted class. AP

A majority of Republicans still say that a traditional family – working father, mother at home – is best for children, and nearly three-quarters say the country has changed for the worse since the 1950s, when women and racial minorities had fewer rights and economic opportunities, and when racial segregation was enforced across the south.

About the same number say that political violence may be necessary to save the US. The strongest Trump supporters are those who believe that men are now a persecuted class. Trump’s combination of misogynist strongman politics and a deep victim complex presses a powerful button for many American men, and white evangelical ones in particular. They, too, believe that power is their birthright, and they, too, feel it is being stripped from them by the same people who are persecuting their president.

Trump has few principles, and the views he espouses change with the political winds. He wants adoration and power, and evangelicals give that to him, trusting him even though he is one of the most prodigious liars in US political history. When asked if they believe that what Trump tells them is true, 71 per cent of his supporters said “yes”, trusting him more than religious leaders (42 per cent).

Trump, for many white evangelicals, has become a figure whose status is closer than anyone else to that of their almighty God. If he does win in 2024, evangelicals will expect him to deliver for them once again.

Only this time, they aren’t looking for a single Supreme Court victory. They’re expecting a radical remaking of America. This, many white evangelicals believe, is necessary, urgent and destined. And they are putting their faith in Trump to make it happen.

Jill Filipovic is an author and attorney.

New Statesman


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