Many conservative Christians have reservations, at least, about supporting Republican front runner Donald Trump, and not without reason. He has had a less than completely convincing conversion to a pro-life position; has said (more than once) that Planned Parenthood has done some good (on screening for cervical and breast cancer, for instance), while declaring that he would support de-funding the organization because of abortion; is currently on wife number three; and has built his celebrity on tasteless “reality TV” shows.
Yet Trump has done very well among “Evangelical” voters, and I think, with serious Christians in general, something that has puzzled media pundits. Why?
First, Trump has taken a wrecking ball to Political Correctness. The Daily Beast’s Ben Domenech thinks he gets it: “They [Christian Trump supporters] want an ally who will protect them, regardless of his personal ethics.” Trump may not be able “to tell a communion plate from an offering basket,” and Christians supporting Trump may not “have any qualms about admitting that Trump is not a good Christian,” but while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio may be “good soldiers” for the cause, Trump “would be a tank.”
Rod Dreher expanded on Domenech’s comments, noting that after the SCOTUS Obergefell decision, Christians understand that “the deck is stacked against them.” Many of them believe that the only thing standing between them and “liberal authoritarianism” may be “a combative SOB who doesn’t care what Enlightened Opinion thinks of him.”
Dreher, who is not a Trump supporter, noted that after several Republican governors caved to pressure from gay rights agitators and corporate interests regarding state legislation designed to “restore religious freedom,” it’s clear that “the institutional Republican Party will do whatever its donors tell it to do on religious liberty and gay rights.” Trump is not on the donor class’s pay role (unlike, say, Ted Cruz, who has taken money in the past from big-money donors who support the “gay rights” agenda), so “it’s not hard to put two and two together.”
The Republican establishment has played Christian voters for suckers for a long time. A lot of them have drawn the appropriate conclusions.
Second, one of the major planks of “the Trumpening” is economic nationalism. Christian voters understand what the GOP establishment’s scorched-earth “free trade” fanaticism means for them and their families—and for the “family values” they profess.
Christians say they want to combat abortion, to promote “traditional marriage,” and hold communities and families together, but the donor-class oligarchs’ plan is to de-industrialize the country, driving the working class into the underclass. It’s already happened and is continuing to happen, made evident by increased mortality rates among working-class whites.
As the working class becomes a true proletariat complete with underclass behavioral norms, crime, what used to be called “broken homes,” and, yes, abortions, will be or already are the “new normal” for them. If we as Christians defend our working people, their jobs, and their wages, they can at least have a chance to form stable families and I would venture to guess there would likely be fewer abortions. Trump is speaking up for them, pointing to a practical way to directly attack the cultural and social rot that is destroying them and us. Cruz and Rubio have positioned themselves as defenders of “family values,” yet have supported trade deals that have undermined the economic base for family formation.
Finally, Trump is absolutely correct to say that if he had not brought immigration control front and center as a major issue in this campaign, the usual GOP suspects would have buried it. As the country is transformed by immigration, including by non-Christians, a significant number of them hostile to our faith, the corporate globalizers not only have their pool of cheap labor to finish off the American working class, the Left has its political foot soldiers—foot soldiers who are interested first of all in the ethnic spoils system, not in “family values.”
Trump may be a deeply flawed vessel, but flawed leaders have done good before, something that Christians, I think, should understand most of all.