Why do a large number of Christian conservatives, specifically "evangelical" folks of faith, stick with Donald Trump through his vulgarities, personal failures and conflict-laden campaign?
It's not because he's virtuous or due to a life of mercy, grace, righteousness or holiness. After years of campaigning, heated primaries and hundreds of billions of dollars, the candidate selection has been determined. Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next president, based on the math of the electorate and demographics. A "Hobson's Choice" results — the options offered or none at all. Informed and intelligent voters are left to choose which of these two will most likely support the issues of their belief system.
From the perspective of logic, the evangelical voting bloc is not falling for the straw argument that this election is about voting for the best of two flawed people. Instead, so many on the center-right, and, yes, even on the working class center-left, see this election about critical and timely issues. The concerns are the anticipated Supreme Court appointments over the next four years, legal immigration enforcement, the repeal-replacement of the Obamacare nightmare that's caused insurance premiums to skyrocket, the identification of terrorists domestically and abroad, the review of significant trade deals that give our economic foes the upper hand. There's more, but you get the drift.
Judeo-Christians have a heart for God, but they're using the brain their Creator has given them.
These values voters also remember.
They remember that in 2008, Democrats had one reference to God in their party's platform, or declaration of beliefs. In 2012, even that reference — "to make the most of their God-given potential" — was removed. After three floor votes of the Democratic delegates and televised loud opposition, the convention chair laughingly ruled "the ayes have it" to restore the phrase. Judeo-Christians also remember the effort to remove the acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the only governing democracy and America's chief ally in the Middle East.
More recent recall reminds voters that liberals have forced public schools to permit gender-confused students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of whatever sex they identify with rather than their biological sex. They remember that while being labeled extremists for their faith, no such designation is affixed to those of Islamic radicalism who behead Christians, take pre-teen girls for sex slaves or drown non-converts in steel cages.
In September, Clinton disdainfully declared that Trump supporters fit into "the basket of deplorables" and "they are irredeemable." Her own emails and those of her loyalists that have recently been made available consistently continue this scorn with references to those of the Catholic belief as engaged in an "amazing bastardization of the faith." Further, a Clinton supporter scoffed that "their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals."
You see, Donald Trump is the personification of voter anger against the bipartisan governing elite. He is neither a model of virtue nor a political savior; Christians already have their messiah. They're looking for a leader who's not worthy of the federal penitentiary and won't sell America to the highest bidder.
Values voters support Trump's stance to directly fight against Islamic terror, now in America; his pledge to make Americans' interests his priority, his dream of no open borders, as Hillary's is of them; and his published list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
Don't be misled. The election's not about personalities; it's about policies.
Robin Smith, a former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, owns Rivers Edge Alliance.