Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the guy famous for saying that he is willing to give Donald Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels, chides his fellow conservative evangelicals in western Pennsylvania for not coming out to vote in the recent special election. He writes:
Although the liberal media won’t admit it, there’s a deliberate effort to try to discourage evangelicals from voting and being involved. That’s why we’re seeing an almost daily rehashing of Trump’s past. Americans can’t make it through a half-hour of cable news without hearing about the president’s behavior back in 2006. They can’t open a newspaper without another columnist shaming Christians for supporting Trump. That’s by design. Liberals know that if they can shame evangelicals for supporting this president, they can suppress their enthusiasm. Their aim is to translate that into a decline of our record participation in 2016. If that decline happens — even a little bit — they can retake Congress. And they understand as well as we do that if Republicans lose either chamber, the president’s conservative agenda is as good as dead
- Perkins repeats a version of the old “mulligan” argument. I have addressed this in multiple places, including here and here and here and here.
- Perkins devalues evangelical voters. He makes it sound as if they are too easily swayed by the media and are incapable of making up their own mind. This might be true (i.e. Fox News), but usually it is those on the Left who say this about conservative evangelicals.
- Perkins is engaging in the usual paranoia and scare tactics that we usually see from the court evangelicals. Perkins knows that the success of his message is dependent upon his ability to cultivate fear in ordinary evangelicals. I develop this point more fully in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump. (Don’t forget to pre-order!)
- I don’t know how many evangelicals in this special election voted for Democrat Conor Lamb, but I would guess that many did. These evangelicals sent a message to people like Tony Perkins and Donald Trump. Perkins assumes that Lamb beat Rick Saccone because evangelicals did not come out and vote. But what if Lamb beat Saccone because evangelicals did come out and vote and in the process rejected Trump’s agenda?