A new book by Lutheran minister Angela Denker seeks to answer this question in her new book Red State Christians: Understanding the Voters Who Elected Donald Trump.
Here is a taste of her recent interview with Joseph Preville at World Religion News:
JRP: How diverse are Red-State Christians in their religious beliefs and political values?
AD: Quite diverse, though I will say that they were unified by a distinct dislike of Hillary Clinton that often surpassed their admiration for Trump. They were also diverse in the extent to which their Christianity influenced their vote. Many voters, especially in the rural Midwest and Appalachia – still theoretically sought to keep what they heard and believed and church separate from their decisions in the voting booth and what they heard on the news. However, I distinctly found in Southern Baptist congregations, especially across the South, an unqualified embrace of Christian nationalism that led to a unique embrace of Trump and the Republican Party.
JRP: What is the “shared language” between Donald Trump and Red-State Christians?
AD: A man who worked in a steel mill in Appalachia told me how frustrating his career was because the company had been outsourced. Instead of a local family running things, the owner’s son had moved operations. Now they got their checks from New Jersey instead of the local bank. It was clear that he preferred the local owner to the distant one. I compare that to many Red-State Christians’ embrace of Trump. Yes, he is often wealthier than them – but he’s “their rich guy.” He eats Taco Bell on Cinco de Mayo, he’s slightly overweight and his suits don’t fit right, he spells words wrong, he curses, he’s “politically incorrect.” Trump has an instinctual knack for speaking in ways that make people who are very different than him feel as if they’re close to him, such as the times he served fast food to championship athletes: food many Red-State Christians would connect with their day-to-day lives as well.
Read the entire interview here.