Thoughtful writers across the political spectrum have decried the fact that Donald Trump received 80+% of the white American evangelical vote.
They want to write off evangelicalism as provincial, out-dated, hateful, even dangerous. The truth is that I’m getting a little tired of it.
I’m a white, heterosexual, suburban, evangelical male who didn’t vote for Donald Trump.
I lived in Pennsylvania and was registered as a Republican, and didn’t vote for Donald Trump.
I voted for Hillary Clinton.
I voted for her not because I like her, not because they weren’t other candidates on the ballot. I voted for her because (1) I couldn’t vote for Donald Trump, and (2) I couldn’t throw my vote away on a third party candidate.
Just for the record, I voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I actually like John McCain, but I felt it was irresponsible pandering to have someone like Sarah Palin on the ticket, even as a Vice President. I could not vote for a candidate I respect with the possibility of an outrageously unqualified candidate sitting in the number two seat. If that’s true for the Vice Presidency, how much more is it true for the Presidency itself.
I cast a ballot in 2012, but I didn’t cast a vote. Do not and did not support the Obama administration’s aggressive actions on LGBT-issues and on abortion. By 2012, I could not in conscience vote him. It also seemed irresponsible to vote for Mitt Romney, a man married to the very business interests that had almost collapsed the global economy in 2007. So I declined to vote, casting votes on down-ticket candidates but not selecting a presidential candidate.
I don’t claim that my approach to this issue is without fault. I don’t claim that there aren’t other political calculations to be considered. All I claim is that this approach made the most sense to me.
There reaches a point when one begins to whether the shouting down of evangelicalism because of its endorsement of Donald Trump is really about its endorsement of Donald Trump.
We’re at that point right now.
It’s plausible that what is masquerading as stinging criticism of evangelical complicity in the election of a candidate that James K A Smith has called a “man child” is actually about a lot more than one candidate.
The question is, what’s beneath it?
One Reply to “Despicable Don and me”
I voted third party. I didn’t feel it was throwing my vote away; I was hoping that enough would vote third party that 1) the duopoly would be broken (it’s scandalous that the presidential debates are controlled by the D&R oligarchy, who make it virtually impossible for anyone else to get attention), 2) whichever one won would be a minority winner, therefore knowing they didn’t have an unfettered mandate to do some of the more egregious things they’d promoted, 3) both parties would learn that nominating such awful candidates (and they both were awful in morals and policies) wouldn’t get an automatic vote, and 4) Christians in particular wouldn’t be seen as making politics more important than their faith. Unfortunately, while many toyed with the idea of a third-party vote, very few followed through.
What’s beneath the media attacks on evangelicalism? Evangelicalism is the last bastion fighting against the sexual revolution, which is sacrosanct on the left. But the evangelical moral compromise involved in supporting Trump is real, and makes it easier for progressives to dismiss everything evangelicals stand for, and to claim the moral high ground (at least in their own eyes, and increasingly with the force of law behind them). (Catholics are still fighting against abortion, but the Catholic church is so hopelessly compromised on sexual matters and does such a poor job of of teaching what it claims to believe that the Catholic laity is almost indistinguishable from nonbelievers on sexual morality.) But evangelicals with their full-throated, ongoing support of the Donald are giving their enemies the rope to hang them with.