*Believe Me* at *Religion Dispatches*: Round 2

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Earlier this week the progressive religious website Religion Dispatches ran Greg Carey’s review of my Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

Today, Religion Dispatches is running Eric C. Miller’s interview with me about the book.

Here is a taste:

In Trump’s speech, these appeals often have racial dimensions. Why are white evangelicals comfortable with this?  

I am hesitant to say that all evangelicals are comfortable with this, but many of them are.

One way to look at this is to observe that evangelicals have always prioritized certain social issues over others, and race has never been one of their priorities. Abortion, they would argue, transcends race. People of all races have abortions and “kill babies.” Traditional marriage, similarly, is an institution that transcends race. I think such a view goes back to one of the defining beliefs of American evangelicalism—that all humans, of all races and ethnicities, can be saved by the gospel. Abortion and marriage are universal, race is particular. This is how many evangelicals see it. Many of them may be uncomfortable with Trump’s racist remarks, but they are willing to look the other way because Trump has the right policies on the issues they deem to be more important.

But we also must remember that American evangelicalism has always been a very white version of Christianity. Evangelicals have always been fearful of African Americans and the threat they are perceived to pose to a white Christian America. For example, much of the Southern evangelical approach to reading the Bible was forged in the context of their defenses of slavery. So there is a long tradition of racism in white evangelicalism, just as there is a long tradition of racism among white Americans writ large. Yet evangelicals claim to follow the teachings of Jesus, a set of moral principles that should motivate them to fight racism.

Read the entire interview here.

Episode 13: Finally, it’s Election Day

podcast-icon1Well, we have finally arrived at Election Day. After a long and grueling campaign, we are about to find out who will serve as the president of the United States for the next four years.

Over the course of the campaign, there has been a lot of talk about whether we are witnessing the undermining of democracy. Host John Fea and producer Drew Dyrli Hermeling tackle this question historically. They are joined by NPR correspondent Sarah McCammon (@sarahmccammon), who discusses her time spent covering the Donald Trump campaign.

National Endowment for the Humanities Would Be on the Chopping Block in a Ted Cruz Presidency

If elected President of the United States Ted Cruz will not only terminate the IRS, the Commerce Department, the Energy Department, and HUD, but he will also end twenty-five more programs, including the National Endowment for the Humanities.


1. Appalachian Regional Commission
2. Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative
3. Climate Research Funding for the Office of Research and Development
4. Climate Resilience Evaluation Awareness Tool
5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
6. Corporation for Public Broadcasting (privatize)
7. Corporation for Travel Promotion
8. Global Methane Initiative
9. Green Infrastructure Program
10. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
11. Legal Services Corporation
12. National Endowment for the Arts
13. National Endowment for the Humanities
14. New Starts Transit Program
15. Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund
16. Presidential Election Campaign Fund
17. Regulation of CO2 Emissions from Power Plants and all Sources
18. Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles
19. Renewable Fuel Standard Federal Mandates
20. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
21. Sugar Subsidies
22. Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery
23. UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
24. UN Population Fund
25. USDA Catfish Inspection Program

Click here for an op-ed I wrote a couple of years ago about why we need the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Was Hillary Clinton Working Secretly With John Wilkes Booth?

A little sarcasm from Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker:

In what may be the most serious allegation ever made against the former Secretary of State, Fox News Channel reported today that Hillary Clinton was involved in the conspiracy to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

The latest charge against Mrs. Clinton was reported by Fox host Sean Hannity, who said that the evidence of her role in the Lincoln assassination came mainly in the form of e-mails.

According to Mr. Hannity, “If it’s true that Hillary Clinton killed Lincoln, this could have a major impact on her chances in 2016.”

Read the rest here.

What Conservative Voters Like About Bernie

Rick Perlstein explains in a piece at The Washington Spectator:

Nate Silver has the Bernie Sanders campaign figured out. Ignore what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire, the “data-driven” prognostication wizard wrote back in July, when Sanders was polling a healthy 30 percent to Clinton’s 46 percent in both contests. That’s only, Silver says, because “Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa and Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire are liberal and white, and that’s the core of Sanders’ support.”
Silver has a chart. It shows that when you multiply the number of liberals and whites among state electorates, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa rank first, second, and third. Texas is near the bottom—a place where Bernie Sanders should feel about as welcome as a La Raza convention at the Alamo, right?
I have a new friend who begs to differ.
It’s July 20, and my airplane seat mate asks what brought me to Texas. He is a construction company sales executive from Houston. He’s watching Fox News on his cell phone. He tells me he considers himself a conservative. I tell him I’m a political reporter covering the Bernie Sanders campaign. He perks up: “I like what I’ve heard from him. Kind of middle of the road.”
Eleven days later, I’m at a Bernie Sanders house party in the depressed steel town of Griffith, Indiana, in a state that places in the bottom quartile on Silver’s chart. I approach a young man in his twenties wearing a thrift store T-shirt. I ask him what brings him here tonight.
“I’m just helping out my friends because they asked me to help out,” he tells me. He adds that he’s a conservative: “But I approve of some of the stuff that Bernie stands for. Like appealing to more than just the one percent and just trying to give everybody a leg up who’s needing it these days.” Data-driven analysis is only as good as the categories by which you sift the information. If you’ve already decided that “liberals” are the people who prefer locally sourced arugula to eating at McDonald’s, or are the people who don’t watch Fox News, it is a reasonable conclusion that there aren’t enough “liberals” out there to elect Bernie Sanders. Yet political categories shift. One of the things the best politicians do is work to shift them.
Read the rest of the piece here.
I should add that Texas has an open primary.  So do several other southern states.