Trump Evangelicals and Race

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Janesville

In my forthcoming book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump I argue that issues of race played a significant role in the overwhelming evangelical support for Donald Trump.  In my chapter “A Short History of Evangelical Fear,” I trace this history.

Over at VOX, political scientist Nancy Wadsworth makes a compelling case for the role that “racial demons” played in the white evangelical support of Trump.  She chides evangelical anti-Trumpers such as Michael Gerson, David French, and Stephen Mansfield for not recognizing this fact.

Here is a taste of her piece:

But then there are the prominent hand-wringers. Veteran evangelical writers like Michael Gerson, David French, and Stephen Mansfield have been wrestling with the damage this strategic partnership may be doing to a once-great religious tradition.

It is an abandonment of the evangelical path, these writers argue — to varying degrees and with different emphases — for believers who claim to care about the poor, the suffering, and the outcast, not to mention sexual morality and civic virtue, to line up behind a belligerent boor who bullies women, Mexicans, and Muslims and who has a manifestly feeble understanding of religious texts and history. It’s not that evangelicals are personally prejudiced, these writers claim; nonetheless, they find it disturbing that such voters would overlook Trump’s racism and misogyny for short-term political gains.

But these sympathetic critics fail to grapple with the idea that Trump’s racism and misogyny might actually resonate with the evangelical base, which happens to constitute about 35 percent of the GOP coalition. In fact, racism and intolerance are more woven into the fabric of evangelicalism than these Christian critics care to accept.

Read the entire piece here.