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Luring Evangelicals Away From Trump

4 min read

It’s common on this site to bemoan, make fun of, scratch our heads in wonder, bewail the hypocrisy, and otherwise write off the large number of American evangelicals who voted for Trump and still support him in spite of his womanizing, his profanities, his inability to name books in the Bible properly, his multiple marriages and mistresses, the abortions he may well have paid for, and in general his determination to break all of the Ten Commandments. But maybe the worm (the one that dies not) is about to turn.

From Politico, in late  May: Behind Trump’s demand to reopen churches: Slipping poll numbers and alarm inside his campaign

A sudden shift in support for Donald Trump among religious conservatives is triggering alarm bells inside his reelection campaign, where top aides have long banked on expanding the president’s evangelical base as a key part of their strategy for victory this November.

The anxiety over Trump’s standing with the Christian right surfaced after a pair of surveys by reputable outfits earlier this month found waning confidence in the administration’s coronavirus response among key religious groups, with a staggering decline in the president’s favorability among white evangelicals and white Catholics. Both are crucial constituencies that supported Trump by wide margins in 2016 and could sink his reelection prospects if their turnout shrinks this fall.

Trump tried to save himself among the evangelicals by trying to force governors to let churches reopen, pandemic or no pandemic. (Some of these churchgoers think that God will save them from Covid-19, or if not, it was their time to be called “home” — never mind that those they would infect aren’t ready to go.)

It was working, it seems. Although 30 evangelical leaders beg Christians to rethink their support for Trump in new book Published 2 months ago on June 15, 2020 By Sky Palma, in a July 13 article in Breitbart, Poll: 90 Percent of Evangelicals Support Donald Trump’s Re-Election

But now a new group is teaming up with Lincoln Project to see if they can chip away at this last(?) bastion of Trump's base.

'Never Trump' Republicans team with progressives to convert the president's religious base

A left-leaning group focused on persuading religious Americans to vote out Donald Trump in November has recruited some of the president’s leading Republican agitators to assist them.

On Wednesday, Vote Common Good will launch a new partnership with the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump GOP group founded by veteran Republican strategists, to mobilize faith voters to reject Trump on Election Day.

It won’t be easy. But lately there has been some indication of disappointment with Trump among evangelicals and Catholics over his incompetent coronavirus response and the way he has aggravated racial divides in the wake the George Floyd killing and protests.

[R]ecently, segments of Trump’s Catholic and Protestant supporters have been distancing themselves from his response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Lincoln Project and VCG hope to capitalize on that waning confidence, which has extended to Trump’s ability to handle the worsening economic crisis, public health catastrophe and civil unrest.

It helps that Joe Biden is a lifelong Catholic who is well known to practice his faith (without pushing it onto anyone else), who is comfortable with it (and who knows it’s “Second Corinthians,” not “Two Corinthians”).

Part of VCG’s plan is to forge personal connections with religious conservatives in crucial 2020 swing states. Soon they will launch a postcard campaign sending handwritten notes to religious voters asking them to lean deep into their faith for guidance this November. Though the postcards, which Pagitt [a progressive evangelical pastor who founded VCG] described to POLITICO, will vary in style — one will include VCG’s sogan [sic], “Faith, not fear. Hope, not hate. Love, not lies,” the other will feature the “love is patient, love is kind” passage from 1 Corinthians 13 — each will contain a personal note from another voter.

We’re in a two-pronged campaign here. One prong is to GET OUT THE VOTE as much as we can, to not only beat Trump and the rest of the GOP, but to drive them into the ground, bulldoze over them, and then pour concrete on top. (I’m in a gentle mood today.) But the other prong is the margins: Trump won three critical states in 2016 with a total of 77,000 votes and change. Anything we can do to cut into his base cuts into that margin.

Side effect: If Trump sees his evangelical base slipping away, there will be the devil to pay!

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