Election Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion Politics

Latest Trump lie: Evangelicals didn’t vote for Romney

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at an American Renewal Project event at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, August 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Today Donald Trump smacked a roomful of evangelical pastors in Orlando with this:

Honestly, you did not vote for Romney. Had you voted for Romney, it would have been much closer. You did not vote for Romney. Evangelicals, religion, did not get out and vote. And I don’t know why. Whatever the reason, I’m not sure why.

That’s nonsense. In 2012, white evangelicals constituted 26 percent of of the electorate and voted for Romney over Obama 78 percent to 21 percent. In 2008, they constituted 26 percent of the electorate and voted for McCain over Obama 74 percent to 24 percent. In 2004, they constituted 23 percent of the electorate and voted for Bush over Kerry 78 percent to 21 percent.

In other words, white evangelicals turned out and voted for Romney at rates equal to or greater than they did for the two previous GOP presidential candidates. Who knows if Trump knew he was making a false claim? Certainly he was fibbing for effect when he claimed not to “know why.”

“I’m having a tremendous problem in Utah,” he told the pastors. “Utah is a different place. Is anybody here from Utah? I didn’t think so.” (Laughter) He knows perfectly well why evangelicals might not have voted for a Mormon. And he’s sucking up to them by implying that the Mormons are against him. Honestly.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service


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  • To be honest, Trump actually spoke the truth — generally speaking, Mormons ARE against him. But why we are is nothing mysterious, we recognize Trump for what he is and don’t like it at all. Not that I think he’ll actually lose Utah, I expect enough will give in to the temptation to do evil that good may come, but it’s going to be a LOT closer than it’s been in a long time.

  • The rates of evangelical voters might have been the same, but if enough of the evangelical electorate stayed home and did not vote, couldn’t that have had an effect? Evangelical voters haven’t seemed very enthusiastic about the three last GOP nominees. Beyond the demographics, my feeling is that they’re slowly waking up to the sad fact that the Republican Party has been selling them a bill of goods for the last 40 years.

  • I would hope that believers would not vote for Trump, not that I do not find the prospect of a Clinton again in the Oval Office abhorrent either.

  • And the Lord sayeth unto Mohab,

    “Let the Right Wing Morons bringeth ignorance across
    the land.”

    And sayeth Mohab, “What”

    And the Lord sayeth in a booming voice, “Wattaya,

    And Mohab spaketh, “O Lord, how do we stop the
    educated and informed?”

    So the Lord said,” Don’t worry about it, I giveth to
    the right wing the power to spread, hatred, bigotry and violence, and they
    shall raise ignorance to the level of a Sacrament.”

    And Mohab responded, “You say What?”

    In righteous anger the Lord sayeth thus, “I will
    send you a messenger of such overarching ignorance and duplicity that the mass
    of morons will not be able to veer from his message. I will call him trump and
    his venom will be manna to morons throughout the land.”

    This is the Word of the Lord

  • Theologically I disagree with the LDS, that did not prevent me from voting for Mitt Romney, I viewed him as a qualified viable candidate with whom I had more political resonance than the present chief executive. However, many Evangelicals will not make such a compromise between their theology and their politics. They should realize that when they are voting for president, they are not voting for Jesus. Render unto Caesar up to the point that you are not voting for a depraved and perverted homicidal maniac, I cite the Emperor Nero as an example of the latter.

  • One could safely say that not all Evangelicals or not enough Evangelicals voted for Romney.