Evangelical Options in November

Evangelical votersI wrote about this yesterday in the comments section of this post, but I thought I would elaborate a bit more here.

How will evangelicals vote in November?

This post is premised on the belief that evangelicals–while unified around their belief in the new birth, the inspiration of the Bible, and certain core doctrines (Trinity, deity of Christ, Jesus’s resurrection)– are a diverse bunch when it comes to how their beliefs translate into the world of politics.

Here are some of the ways evangelicals have approached, and will approach, the 2016 POTUS election cycle:

1. Some evangelicals will vote for Trump because he will “Make America Great Again.”. These evangelicals backed Trump in the GOP primaries even when there were other evangelical-friendly candidates available (Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Santorum). They include Dallas Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., and all of those evangelicals who voted for Trump in the southern primaries and elsewhere.  Many of these evangelicals were present at this meeting in September 2015.

2. Some evangelicals will  vote for Trump because if they don’t Hillary Clinton will be elected president and they  will lose the Supreme Court. Most of these evangelicals backed another candidate during the primaries, but they have now turned to Trump as their only option.  They include Mike Pence, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Eric Metaxas.  Some of these “anti-Hillary” Trump supporters can come across as very excited about The Donald. Others are going to hold their nose and pull the lever for him.

3.  Some evangelicals continue to oppose Trump and have not made it clear what they will do in November. I am thinking here of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (if you can call a Missouri-Synod Lutheran an “evangelical”) and Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore. Perhaps some of these folks are praying that something might happen in Cleveland next week that leads the GOP to pick another candidate.  Others might be praying that an independent candidate will arise at this late date.  These are long shots, but let’s remember that evangelicals believe in miracles.

4.. Some evangelicals will vote for a third-party candidate.  I don’t know of any major evangelicals who have come out in support of the Libertarian ticket or the Green ticket.  If you know of evangelical leaders who are endorsing these candidate please let me know in the comments. I am curious.

5.. Some evangelicals will not vote in the presidential election. They will exercise their civic duty by casting votes in non-presidential or “down-ballot” elections.

6. Some evangelicals will vote for Hillary Clinton.  I am guessing that many evangelical Democrats–including most black evangelicals– will vote for her.  Recently Thabiti Anyabwile, an African-American Southern Baptist pastor in Washington D.C.,  made a case for Clinton at the theologically conservative (but politically diverse–I assume) Gospel Coalition blog.

Is there a category I am missing?

If you are an evangelical (or something close) where do you place yourself?

3 thoughts on “Evangelical Options in November

  1. John,

    Why do you call Sen. Sasse a Missouri-Synod Lutheran? He identifies with the confessional Reformed tradition. Here is a recent interview I did with Sen. Sasse.

    What are you assuming about the LCMS and evangelicalism that excludes the former from being “evangelical”? As Darryl Hart reminds us today, Luther was the original “evangelical,” and it was 19th-century revivalists (with the assistance of a push from the 18th-century revivalists) who re-definied the term.

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