Trump and the US Christian Right

March 2, 2016 in General

As I write this, the “Super Tuesday” primary sweepstakes have occurred within twelve US states. While Hilary Clinton is poised to move well ahead of her Democrat rival Bernie Sanders, the same was true of Donald Trump on the “Republican” side. And herein lies the rub. In the South Carolina Republican primary, Trump won with the support of conservative evangelical and fundamentalist voters, much to the unease of the US Christian Right’s self-styled “leadership,” such as Russell Moore (Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission). According to R.Reno (Washington Post ), evangelicals and fundamentalists have acquired some upward mobility, distancing them from their former white working class core voter contingent. However, amongst senior Republicans, there is dawning awareness that fundamentalist militancy is turning off mainstream US voters. The Republicans might have thought that they could have it both ways, but recently, they’ve displayed cold feet over opposition to marriage equality, as well as radical ‘religious liberty’ legislation which enshrines service provider discrimination in state law, leading to backdowns in Indiana and Arizona on the latter. This may explain the Trump insurgency, but it will have some dramatic consequences. Trump’s anti-Hispanic racism has alienated a large electoral constituency in its own right, which may cost him in November-December 2016 during the federal elections. To be sure, not all Republican social conservatives support Trump. Some prefer Ted Cruz or Mario Rubio, because they’re seen as reliable religious social conservatives- Cruz is fundamentalist, while Rubio is a conservative Catholic. However, Trump’s insurgency may split the party, leading some disenfranchised Republicans to vote for other minor right-wing parties as a protest vote. With the rightist vote divided, however, Clinton will benefit… unless Bernie Sanders does something monumentally rash such as run as a third-party candidate himself. Clinton is almost halfway to the Democratic nomination, while Trump is one quarter of the way. Ben Carson is the latest prospective Republican nominee aspirant to withdraw as the field narrows to Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and trailing the field, Ohio’s John Kasich. In the Democrat camp, Hillary Clinton now has twice as many states behind her campaign as Bernie Sanders, her rival for the nomination.

Recommended:

R.R.Reno: “Evangelical Christians are so sick of losing that they’re voting for Trump” Washington Post: 26.02.2016: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/evangelical-christians-are-so-sick-of-losing-that-theyre-voting-for-trump/2016/02/26/d0efa184-da39-11e5-925f-1d10062cc82d_story.html

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