Not long ago, most evangelical Christians were solidly against Trump. Back in April only 44% threw their support behind him. Now that the election has inched closer, the tides appear to have turned, as 94% say they will vote for Trump in November.
This isn’t merely a case of divided primary voters rallying around the nominee. Opposition to Trump early on was staunch and rooted in principle. Despite bold declarations, most evangelicals have now fallen in line to support Donald Trump.
There is one key reason, according to FiveThirtyEight, fueling this turnaround.
“Trump speaks to the profound fears animating so many white evangelicals today,”
“Above all, the fear that they and their values are being displaced by foreign, immigrant and Muslim forces as well as by domestic movements such as Black Lives Matter, gay rights, women’s rights and more.”
Fear appears to be the primary factor. Fear of losing prominence in society, fear of losing ground on the Supreme Court, fear of further loosening of abortion laws, fear of safety, and so on.
While these are all legitimate policy concerns, it calls into question if ‘principled’ stands are a thing of the past. Several prominent leaders took a principled stand only to later back off.
For example, James Dobson was an ardent Cruz supporter during the primary who said “the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage are non-negotiable” adding when Trump opposed Cruz’s efforts to defund planned parenthood, that was the last straw.
Since then, Dobson endorsed trump and explained his choice:
“In many ways, this is a single-issue election because it will affect every dimension of American life: the makeup of the Supreme Court.”
Ted Cruz obviously ran against Trump in the primary, but spoke at the GOP convention and still didn’t endorse him as party nominee.
Just two months ago, Cruz continued to stand firm on refusal to endorse, citing Trump’s vicious attacks on his family.
Prominent Cruz supporter Glenn Beck recently grilled him on his radio program about the decision:
“This is a binary choice… You have to respect the democratic process, even if you are not happy with the outcome.”
Christians are indeed called to engage in politics and seek a government that promotes Godly values – but how far do we go and how many concessions are we to make before drawing the line?
It’s a tough question, perhaps one with no answer. But at least for now, with 94% of the evangelical support — it doesn’t appear Trump is anywhere near crossing that line.
Check out the full analysis at FiveThirtyEight.com