“Evangelical” Churchgoers and “Evangelical” Non-Churchgoers Rode the Trump Train in the 2016 GOP Primaries

US-VOTE-IRAN-POLITICS

A lot of people in my social media sphere are making a big deal about Timothy Carney’s piece at The American Conservative arguing that Trump’s evangelical support came from self-described evangelicals who do not go to church.  Read it here.

Meanwhile, over at his blog “Religion in Public,” political scientist Ryan Burge sees very little difference among the evangelicals who voted for Cruz in the GOP primaries and the evangelicals who voted for Trump.  Read his piece here.

A taste:

If anything, I think I can make more sense of why white evangelicals so easily shifted their support from Ted Cruz to Donald Trump when it was clear that he was going to be the GOP nominee. It’s for two reasons: many of them supported Trump in the first place. As described above: Cruz only did well with a small portion of white evangelical voters. The other reason is that the jump that many of them had to make from Cruz to Trump was relatively small. Most of the Cruz supporters were statistically the same as Trump supporters on a wide variety of issues, especially fiscal questions. The upshot is this: white evangelicals are fairly monolithic. Sure, some are more socially conservative than others but by and large they are shockingly similar. The idea that there was a strong and significant bloc of socially conservative evangelical Cruz voters who had to drastically change their mind to vote for Trump is not supported by the data that I analyzed.

Burge’s analysis is closer to what I argued in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump

12 thoughts on ““Evangelical” Churchgoers and “Evangelical” Non-Churchgoers Rode the Trump Train in the 2016 GOP Primaries

  1. Trump is to Evangelicals as Saul was to Israel
    And the LORD said to Samuel: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

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      • Ha. I was actually about to frame my statement with more humility by saying how much I would like to read a comparison of the two.
        Did you try to break down what God hoped to get across when he said “it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king”. Was this supposed to make Samuel feel better, or was it supposed to scare the pants off of Samuel? Asking for a friend. haha.

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  2. I am a church going Christian who was disturbed by the support Trump got through the primaries from Christians, and especially well known leaders in the Christian world.
    The term “unequally yoked” came to mind and has stayed there since. A Christian can’t plow a straight furrow while unequally yoked. Even IF it was voluntary and thought a necessary compromise to achieve better things. There will be a price.

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  3. I’ve heard this defense a million times and it seems like a weak attempt at distance. Virtually every devout white evangelical churchgoer I know — except me! — voted for Trump. Which shouldn’t be much of a surprise as they always vote for the Republican, every year and in every race.

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  4. I am a regularly church-going evangelical. Two things from my years of observation within church: most evangelicals have been firmly taught both explicitly and through peer pressure (both in church and by parachurch “ministries”) to ALWAYS vote for the Republican candidate, so naturally their support would easily and seamlessly shift to whoever was perceived as being the likely nominee. My fellow evangelicals are amongst the most staunchly politically tribal groups existing today. And second, most of my fellow evangelicals (because of the first point, and to my great chagrin) subsist on a steady diet of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and conservative/right wing media, and so they were already whipped into the kind of angry furor that would make it natural for them to favor, amongst the GOP field, the candidate who sounded the angriest and most furious . . . in other words, the candidate who sounded most like the media personalities they were accustomed to listening to all the time. You can’t overstate the importance of these two points.

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    • Dear Dave,
      I won’t dispute that Christians are strongly inclined to vote Republican, but the DEMs have their solid supporters in other areas. Teachers and large blocks of government workers tend toward the other side. Likewise do ethnic minorities. Interesting also is the fact that atheists tend to vote Democrat.

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    • most evangelicals have been firmly taught both explicitly and through peer pressure (both in church and by parachurch “ministries”) to ALWAYS vote for the Republican candidate

      As I’ve heard said, “Jesus Christ: A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party”.

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      • Unicorn.

        While I would not use your exact language about the political affinities of Christian voters, I don’t think it is unreasonable to surmise why Christians tend to vote Republican. The major opposing party is dominated by a secular elite which only welcomes Christians who relegate their views to Sunday mornings within the confines of four church walls.
        James

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