Yesterday I was at Calvin College to try out some of the material from my forthcoming book on Donald Trump. A lot of smart people at Calvin gave me a lot of things to think about as I wrap-up the manuscript. Thanks to Kristin Kobes Du Mez of the Calvin College History Department and Kevin Den Dulk of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics for inviting me to speak.
At the start of my lecture I announced the book’s title:
Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump
Let me know what you think. The book will be out with Eerdmans in the Spring.
Here is how I closed my lecture at Calvin:
When Donald Trump speaks to his followers in the mass rallies that have now become a fixture of his populist brand, he loves to use the phrase “believe me.” The internet is filled with video montages of Trump using this signature catch phrase. (He says it even more than “Make America great again!”):
“Believe me folks, we’re building the wall, believe me, believe, me, we’re building the wall.”
“I love women. Believe me, I love women. I love women. And you know what else, I have great respect for women, believe me.”
“I am the least, the least racist person that you’ve ever met, believe me.”
“The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out, OK. That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re going to straighten it out, believe me.”
And, perhaps most importantly:
“So let me state this right up front, [in] a Trump administration our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you’ve never seen before. Believe me.”
Why do the the court evangelicals and their followers believe in Donald Trump? They believe in this man because fear paralyzes them, power seduces them, and nostalgia blinds them. Donald Trump will be gone in 2021 or 2025. Let’s pray that he does not take the evangelical church with him.