Remember when Jerry Falwell Jr. called Donald Trump the “dream president” of American evangelicals?” Falwell may not speak for all evangelicals, but he certainly does speak for the politically-active conservative evangelicals commonly referred to as the “Christian Right.” Trump probably is their “dream president.”
Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People For the American Way, makes this argument in an American Prospect piece titled “The Religious Right Moves to Cement Political Power Under President Trump.”
Here is a taste:
Amid the stream of outrage about President Donald Trump that dominates my Facebook feed, one friend desperately sought a silver lining: “Well, at least we don’t have the theocrat Pence as President.” It reminded me that I, like some of my LGBTQ friends, thought during the Republican primary that we would prefer Trump to someone like Ted Cruz, whose unshakeable religious-right ideology and matching policy agenda was clear.
We were wrong. My Facebook friend is wrong. Not only is Trump a reckless and divisive president who shows contempt for anyone who crosses him and who has energized a white nationalist movement that could wreak havoc on American political and social culture for a long time to come—he’s also the best thing that’s ever happened to the religious right.
To be fair, there was a logical foundation for believing that Trump would be less of a culture warrior than a president who is a conservative evangelical. Pence has a long anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ record. And there is a basis for the argument that Trump is so incompetent that a Mike Pence or a Ted Cruz might have been more successful dealing with Congress.
But it is hard to imagine the religious right doing any better under a President Pence or President Cruz than they are with President Trump. But because the president is the crass, amoral, prideful, and dishonest huckster Trump, rather than a faith-on-their-sleeve true believer like Pence or Cruz, the religious right has been able to have to wield an outsized influence on national policy while avoiding the kind of scrutiny that would come if they were working with one of their own in the White House.
During his campaign, Trump offered conservative evangelicals a deal: help him take the White House and he would make them more politically powerful than ever before. They took the deal, urged voters to overlook his glaring character flaws, and helped put him in office. Trump’s conservative Christian cheerleaders have told him repeatedly that he is on a divine mission and that God intervened in the election. Religious right leaders upheld their end of the deal and delivered an overwhelming majority of white evangelical votes to Trump. Now he’s upholding his end by giving them more than they might have expected even from a President Pence.
Read the rest here.