Trump’s tent revival

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Trump with supporters in Iowa

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Trump with supporters in Iowa

Trump with supporters in Iowa

Trump with supporters in Iowa

The exit pollsters listened! In a couple of last week’s Republican primaries they included an additional religion question, and as a result we know a bit more about who’s hitting the sawdust trail to make America great again by voting for Donald Trump.

In Florida — where Trump trounced the competition — they asked about religious affiliation. So we learned not only that he did marginally better among white evangelicals (49 percent) than white non-evangelicals (46 percent) but also that he did marginally better among Catholics (50 percent) than Protestants (45 percent). Also that Ted Cruz did more than twice as well among Protestants (22 percent) as Catholics (nine percent).

In Missouri — where Trump appears to have just edged out Cruz — they asked about frequency of worship attendance. So we learned not only that white evangelicals preferred Cruz to Trump 49 percent to 38 percent but also that voters who said they attend services weekly or more voted for Cruz over Trump by 20 points (52 percent to 32 percent) and those who attend less than weekly voted for Trump over Cruz by the same margin (48 percent to 28 percent).

None of this is exactly surprising. In particular, it’s been widely suspected that the more religiously observant are less likely to vote for Trump than the less observant. But as CBN’s David Brody notes, Trump was chosen by nearly one-third of the pious Missourians who say they attend services more than once a week. What the additional religion questions do is fill out the picture of a candidate able to draw strongly across whatever demographic spectrum you care to look at at.

That’s at odds with the Beltway meme regurgitated last Friday by the New York Times David Brooks. “Trump voters,” quoth Brooks, “are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else.”

Then how come, in Florida, Trump did as well with college graduates as with those who ended their education with high school or less? That in Florida and Illinois he did as well with those earning over $100,000 a year as with those earning under? All these are losers? Trump’s greater relative attractiveness to America’s dispossessed is, at best, modest.

This would hardly be the first time that demagogic appeal resisted easy sociological categorizing. While the Nazi Party, for example, did better among rural Protestants than urban Catholics, it drew significant support from all segments of German society in winning a 37.3 percent plurality of the vote in the 1932 Reichstag election.

Trump holds himself out to be a master of the universe beholden to no one, and that, it seems to me, is the key to his appeal. At least for Republican voters, it’s a psychodynamic factor that cuts across lines of wealth, education, ideology, and yes, religion.

  • samulet Johnston

    Well it helps to be running against his particular opponents, starting with the shameless Mrs. Clinton, and the Bushes. Rubio self destructed, so now we only have Trump and Cruz to rally around. I plan to write in my own name. What would Jesus do?

  • cken

    I think Trump has created a movement not unlike some of the old time evangelists. The movement is happening because government hasn’t worked well or worked for we the people for about two decades now. Trump is also appealing because he isn’t beholden to the big money politician complex.

    As to religious voters I can’t comprehend how they can vote for Cruz. I think his Seven Mountain Dominion indoctrination is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and certainly not an acceptable doctrine for today’s world.

  • cken

    Not voting or using a write in is a vote for the candidate you least want to hold the office. I think it is better to choose what you think is the best of a bad lot of candidates.

  • Ben in oakland

    They are voting for authority, not for faith. My experience has been that the more people talk about their faiths, the more likely they are really taking about their desire for dominion over other people.

  • Raad Cawthon

    Ben in Oakland. I think you’re own to something there. It seems to me that grandiose expressions of faith always lead eventually to a desire for those doing the expressing to bestow their views on everyone else. As we know, authoritarians are much more likely to support Trump. In my experience they are also more likely to have strong, stringent religious beliefs. A goodly number of folks want someone, be it a preacher, a prophet, or a huckster (sometimes hard to define between the three) to tell them what to do.

  • MarkE

    Friends, let’s be quite clear here. Trump (and Cruz and even, to a certain extent, Sanders) are using the power of fear and anger to fuel their campaigns. Fear of “others”, fear of loss of economic or geo-political power, fear of cultural contamination, fear of religious infringement, and fear of death and dying are the prime motivating factors at play in these campaigns. Anytime fear (a powerful motivator) is the primary asset in a campaign, there will be irrational, despairing crowds who will fall into the trap hook, line and sinker. This is the condition that face Germany post-WWI, the US post-depression and on the cusp of the Cold War, North Korea following the truce at Panmunjon, and the forced annexation of western Ukraine and Crimea in recent years. Sadly, the old maxim may no longer be reliable: the people do not always know best!

  • samulet Johnston

    Hi MarkE,
    “…..This is the condition that face Germany post-WWI, the US post-depression…”
    I respectfully disagree. This election cycle may be part of a bad tendency, but it is far, far, yet from a “clear and present danger”. We do not yet have gangs of thugs smashing windows, and setting fire to buildings, and beating citizens in the streets, and what orchestrated unruliness we have had so far, has been from the left, shamefully attempting to deny indoor political assembly to their opponents. Jeffersonian/Jacksonian politics has always been messy and undignified, but the Republic goes to work everyday and watches the noisemakers on TV. Not an unusual or dangerous situation – yet.

  • Debbo

    Mr. Johnston, I agree with you about the Right’s politics of fear, but disagree that it comes only from the Left. Pushing, shoving, kicking and punching protesters was perpetrated by the Right. Protesters show up at all kinds of events, including Clinton, Sanders, Kasich and Crooz events. The beating up only happens at Drumpf’s events. He is also the only candidate who urges the violence on.

    (I’m not denying that some on the Left have blocked streets, shouted, disrupted, hit back, etc.)

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Cruz and Trump are at best two faces of evil. I certainly hope the “shameless” (whatever that means) Mrs. Clinton prevails in November or else the rest of the world is going to wind up having to come and kick our tail like they did Germany’s in 1945.

  • samuel johnston

    To be clear and concise. The whole idea of preventing a political candidate from making his speech is disloyal to the to the spirit of the Constitution (Amendment #1) and dangerious to the Republic. Taking physical action (disruptive behavior) to deny a candidate his forum to make a speech, is unlawfull. Likewise, I am appalled when an assualt is committed on persons being removed from the hall by police officers.
    Just because you hate the words and the person who says them, is no excuse, it is anarchy. Due process is as close to justice as man has been able to achieve. What do you have better to replace it? Anarchy is inevitably succeeded by tyranny.

  • cken

    That makes no sense whatsoever. Especially since it was Clinton and Obama who left Americans be killed and lied about it.

  • cken

    It is the liberal democrats like Hillary who are rapidly moving us towards a totalitarian fascist state. It is the liberals who promote PC speech which abridges the first amendment. It is the liberals who want to take away everybody’s guns.

  • Debbo

    I agree that even someone who is completely objectionable, such as Drumpf, should be allowed to say the ignorant, sometimes hateful things he chooses. However, when he incites his minions to violence with his wishes for the good old days when he could simply punch the protesters, he has crossed a line.

    It seems we agree on most of what constitutes acceptable behavior. However, I empathize with those who are consistently unheard, struggle for respect, and feel discarded by the government and other public institutions. If they protest in a disruptive manner, at least their existence is recognized.

  • Debbo

    Ohferpete’ssake. If you want to convince others of the rightness of your position, vague generalizations, dog whistle assertions and unsupported statements won’t do the trick. In addition, I am a liberal, grew up on a farm with several different guns, and want nothing to do with yours. I hope you have a wonderful relationship with them.

  • Samuel Johnston

    I too with empathize those who are consistently unheard, struggle for respect, and feel discarded by the government and other public institutions – but the politically correct only sympathise with “protected groups” (unfortunate legal term). As a youth, I lived in a public housing project. I worked many terrible, low pay non union jobs, and was generally treated with little consideration, regularly insulted and imposed upon, and occasionally abused.
    I went to a night law school, and have independently practiced law, mainly representing ordinary working folks, who did not have the means to hire high powered legal firms (except on a contingent basis for personal injury). Like it or not, the Trump supporters tend to be poorer than those who are part of the academic culture of political correctness, and they have certainly had to deal with their lives becoming less secure and orderly with the passing decades. I do not share the opinions of that group, but they do have legitimate…

  • Glenn Harrell

    It is perhaps true that we feel the instinctive need to correlate the whole of who Donald Trump personifies with the downtrodden, poor, uneducated, religious and hyper-emotional populace.

    Should we be surprised that the weight we all feel on our backs placed by a dysfunctional government knows few social, economic and religious boundaries?

    A man like Trump comes along and appears to be powerful enough to get the gorilla back in the cage and everybody wants to watch his show.

    A millionaire watches Sanford and Sons reruns, not because he is poor or wants to be. It’s just entertainment.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    What the heck are you talking about?

  • cken

    Seriously you don’t know about Benghazi!!