The Mind of the Evangelical Trump Voter

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Over the last several months I have had some good conversations (and some not so good conversations) with a few dozen of the 81% of American evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump. The more I listen to these evangelical Trump supporters the more I realize that they are divided over the new President’s policies regarding trade, job creation, and even Obamacare. While some of them mentioned their support of Trump’s policies on these issues, it was clear that they are secondary.

Here is what unites them:

Abortion:  Trump evangelicals believe that a Trump presidency is their best chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.  So far they are ecstatic about Trump’s support for last Friday’s March for Life and his efforts to end funding for international organizations that perform abortions.  They will no doubt cheer Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court justice nominee.

These evangelicals limit their understanding of “pro-life” to the issue of abortion.  So, for example, they do not see Trump’s recent executive order banning refugees to be a “life” issue.  Many of them are outraged that protesters are making such a big deal over Trump’s decision to stop the flow of Muslim refugees into the country when thousands and thousands of babies are being killed in the womb each year

Religious Liberty:   Trump evangelicals are thrilled that the President is aware that thousands of Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world. I imagine Christian colleges are, for the most part, breathing a sigh of relief over the fact that they will no longer be discriminated against when it comes to federal and other types of funding.

So far we have heard very little from these evangelicals about extending religious liberties to Muslim refugees. As evangelical  Washington Post columnist and Trump critic Michael Gerson recently wrote, “In the long run, religious liberty is weakened in every case when it is weakened in any case. On this matter, hypocrisy is a form of self-harm.”

Fear:  Evangelicals want their country back.  Trump will not only make America great again, but he will protect them against internal and external threats.  Most Trump evangelicals I talk with love his recent executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries.  Man of them don’t want Muslims in America.  Some of them still think that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  They believe Muslim terrorists pose a threat to their lives, even though they are more likely to be killed by a moving train, flammable clothing, or cows than a Muslim terrorist.

Trump is delivering “big league” for his evangelical voters.  He is keeping his promises. It looks as if the 81% will not be going away anytime soon.

7 thoughts on “The Mind of the Evangelical Trump Voter

  1. If you think they’re trying to stop abortions from happening, it’s really confusing like you just said, because their actions keep increasing the number of abortions and underage pregnancies.

    If you think that their real goal is to punish and subjugate women, especially those who are young / poor / minority / LGBT+, then suddenly everything they do for “abortion” seems laser-focused onto that goal.

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  2. I understand how someone can feel so strongly about a single issue. For evangelicals, it’s abortion. Mine would probably be environmental degradation because if we don’t have an earth to inhabit, all the rest of these concerns are moot. What confuses me is that evangelicals will wholeheartedly support policies that do NOT bring down the rate of abortion and actually increase them. They remove funding for education and well-woman’s healthcare, etc. Where is the disconnect?

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    • I agree, and it’s so irrational one might be tempted to say that people who think this way have cult-like tendencies.

      It’s also odd from a religious point of view, because one would think that with such a laser-like focus on abortion that it would be a huge issue in, you know, the Bible. But the most specific thing the bible says about it is to proscribe abortion as a punishment for women suspected of cheating on their husbands.

      On the other hand, the Bible is chock full of admonitions about social and economic justice that are completely ignored by “so-called” judges, err, Bible-believing Christians.

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  3. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: I think it’d take sacrificing a child to Moloch on live, national television to convince the 81% he *might* be wrong.

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    • Considering that sacrificing a child to Molech is pretty much how most conservative Christians view abortion all that would do would even the scales.

      I did not vote for Trump and do not care for him in the least, but is it that hard to understand one issue voting with abortion? If there was a politician that was pro-Holocaust but pretty solid on other social and economic issues would you vote for them? If it’s seen as a systematic murdering of innocent, helpless human beings it’s hard for them to worry too much about health care and international trade.

      We can argue about pro-refugee being pro-life, but it’s clearly on a different order of magnitude as abortion when viewed from the above. Also, if we’re being charitable (a seemingly vanishing virtue) it would be obvious that the ban, as misguided and wrong-headed as it is, is intended to preserve the lives of those the government has direct responsibility for against what is seen (again, probably incorrectly) as a real threat to those lives.

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      • I understand your point, as it’s the opinion of a majority of my acquaintances right now. What irks me is that they say/act that trumps stand on abortion made him the most moral candidate and excuses him of any current failing. I’ve tried pointing out several ethical problems for Trump since the inauguration, and the knee-jerk response is “but remember his stance on abortion! This is clearly a smear campaign by the left because their murdering socialist candidate lost!” I wish this were hyperbole, but it’s not.

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  4. As an evangelical Christian and also a liberal, this just infuriates me. There is absolutely nothing you can say to make the 81% think any differently about any issue once abortion is brought up. I used to have a friend on Facebook that could bring up abortion no matter what the topic was. It was actually kind of impressive… 🙂

    The amount of conversations I’ve had with people where they basically concede all your points and then just say, “Okay, but I’ll never vote for someone who isn’t pro-life.” Where do you go from there? That’s it. End of discussion. It’s disheartening to think that our country’s well-being is being completely derailed over this issue.

    For God’s sake, I’m actually pro-life! But, I know that there is so much more to the issue than the legality of abortion. I’m rambling now because I’m just at a loss…

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