We have known for some time that Evangelical support for Trump is very high. Exactly how high was it in 2020? We now have a new insight via the latest Pew poll.
What is perhaps different regarding this latest poll, published Jun 30, 2021, is that it was filtered. They were specifically interested in talking to those who actually voted.
As a bit of background, one fact that is surprising to some is that only 66% of U.S. adult citizens voted in 2020. Those 34% that did not vote could have radically altered the outcome if they had voted. The thing that makes this specific poll interesting is that it focused on those who actively vote.
The details that Pew have made available presents a great deal of detail. They were looking at who is voting and how their vote has changed between 2016, 2018 and 2020. There were of course also new voters, and so insights in the demographic shifts are also there and appropriately considered.
Where I’m going with this posting is of course obvious from the title of this posting. A core and rather key demographic for Trump has been the evangelical block. When compared to 2016, and also 2018, how does 2020 look?
Are they slipping away after seeing all the incompetence, corruption, and grift after four years? Could a body count of over 600,000 due to a complete failure to address COVID-19 have changed any minds?
So what happened, how did they vote for Mr Two Corinthians, the guy who mocks them in private?
I’m not exaggerating. As revealed by the Atlantic article I link to above, Trump considers them to all be hustlers, and he has nothing but cynicism, contempt, and ridicule for his religious supporters.
It is not one isolated source. In Cohen’s recent memoir, Disloyal, there is an account of Trump returning from his 2011 meeting with the pastors who laid hands on him and sneering, “Can you believe that bullshit?”
How did they actually vote in 2020?
Like this (via Pew) …
Trump’s strong support among White evangelical Protestants ticked up (77% in 2016, 84% in 2020) while Biden got more support among atheists and agnostics than did Clinton in 2016.
Yes, you read that correctly – 84%
Only 16% voted for decency, empathy, and integrity. The rest embraced their Faustian pact with the guy that most of them know is corrupt, unethical, and incompetent. Some might try to fool themselves by thinking that he is really a baby Christian who has accepted Christ. If that is an idea you embrace, then please do share which church Trump goes to. (Hint: none, you have been successfully conned).
How do those numbers actually Break down?
Again Via Pew, here is what they found amongst those that actually voted …
There are plenty of deeply religious people out there who clearly did not vote for the idiot-in-chief. That’s encouraging.
What is fascinating also from the above is the observation regarding those that are nones. Atheists, agnostics, and nothing in particular, all very clearly voted Democrat in very large numbers.
To sum this up
The folks who claim to hold the high moral ground, who have supposedly been touched by god and given a new heart, reveal that when it comes to the ballot box, they have tossed all their values under the bus and voted for one of the most incompetent, inept, and corrupt candidates ever seen.
Meanwhile, those that have supposedly given themselves over to their own desires, the non-religious, voted for the candidate who expressed empathy, tolerance, and basic human decency.
A charge often levelled by the non-religious against the religious is that they are cruel hypocrites that don’t really care about the injustices and racism that exists. Here is definitive evidence that the non-religious were totally correct, they do appear to have called them out correctly.
When it comes to these white evangelicals, one can only speculate that if Jesus himself turned up, they would very firmly reject him because he is middle-eastern. He also clearly has communist leanings with all that talk about helping the poor and the oppressed. Well OK, perhaps not rejected by 16%, but the other 84% would because Jesus is simply not white enough.
The truth of course is that belief does not have an exclusive claim upon empathy and basic human decency, it never did. These are basic human characteristics that have the potential to manifest within all of us regardless of our specific beliefs or lack of any religious belief. The dilemma, an almost universal challenge, is that fanatical beliefs, political and/or religious, often override these basic human characteristics. The result is intolerance, bigotry, ignorance, and much more, not because somebody has decided “Today I’m going to be an intolerant bigot“, but rather because they have been tricked into sincerely believing that imposing batshit crazy beliefs upon everybody else is the high moral ground.
One last observation. This is not about one man, it never has been. Vast numbers have been successfully recruited into a political cult that has very strong religious undercurrents and so this is really about them. How we deal with this irrational mob is now the political challenge of our age.