In this piece I’m seeking to explain the popularity of Trump among otherwise conservative Christians. One would think quotes, like the one above, would be enough to be off-putting to biblical Christians in terms of voting for Trump, not to mention the chameleon like character of Trump that finds Trump saying just about every thing imaginable under the sun regardless of how contradictory it all is to what he is saying now. However, Trump’s record, flowery quotes, and ethic of a Tomcat are irrelevant now to many Christians who insist that God may use Trump like God did Cyrus of the Old Testament to accomplish His purposes to change the trajectory of America in a more God pleasing direction.
That there is little evidence to believe that is quite out of the question for those Christians who have arrived at the point of admitting that they don’t care what policies Trump may or may not pursue as long as he keeps making the right people angry.
So what is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man who is currently married to a former porn magazine centerfold, and who was married twice before this current marriage? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for building casinos where risque entertainment for men (Strip clubs) is provided? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for boasting about his sexual conquests? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for saying “I don’t think I’ve ever asked God for forgiveness”? What is it that explains Trump’s popularity among those whom one would think would have scruples regarding voting for a man legendary for saying he has no problem with sodomites in the Military and who is on record as resigning himself to the fact that sodomite marriage is the law of the land?
What I offer below is an attempt to explain why it is that otherwise good Christian people continue to support Trump despite the fact that Trump is the antithesis of everything they say they believe. Just so everyone understands …. this is intended as an explanation of why otherwise good people support Trump. It is not an endorsement of Trump or of thinking in this manner. Personally, I think such “thinking” that ends up supporting Trump is, at best, anti-rational.
1.) Trump has become symbol.
Trump, for many many people, has Transcended being merely human, and has now become the incarnation of a symbol of resistance and defiance. Trump hit a never with his anti immigration talking points and his anti political correctness stance. Symbols don’t have to be rational or consistent. They don’t have to explain or justify themselves in light of past utterances. Symbols are intuitive to people. When people want to identify with their symbols it is stupid for someone to expect an explanation. Symbols are trans-rational (which is different from irrational). Now that Trump has articulated an anti immigration stance it no longer matters that he chastised Republican during the Romney 2012 campaign for being too “mean spirited” concerning immigrants. Now that Trump has articulated an anti immigration stance it no longer matters that Trump has as recent as July of 2015 supported a form of amnesty. Trump is a symbol and one simply does not try to ratiocinate with those who are symbol minded.
So, much as Obama and Palin became symbols in 08, so Trump has become a symbol in 16. It isn’t rational and it’s idiotic of people, like me, to expect it to be rational. People are looking at Trump the same way that patriotic Americans look at Old Glory. It is an emblem of something that moves them deeply in their psyche and emotions. Trump has become intuitive for people and as intuitive the facts no longer matter.
2.) Trump as become hope for the hopeless.
Other Trump supporters who are Christians do not fall into the “Trump as symbol” category, but are those who are seeking to grasp any slim ray of hope they can find. They know that Trump has been all over the map in his rhetoric and in his positions. They know of Trump’s unseemly and sometimes even slimy character but out of desperation they are putting all their chips on Trump to keep his word.
For these folks I often use the old Charles Schulz comic strip “Charlie Brown,” as analogy. In Schulz’ series Schulz would return periodically to a theme where Lucy promises to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick. The problem was that every time that Charlie Brown approached the ball to kick it, Lucy would pull it away at the last second, resulting in Charlie Brown falling on his backside. Over and over again, through Schulz’s series, Lucy would promise that “I’ll really hold the ball for you this time Charlie Brown, and, after some initial skepticism on Charlie Brown’s part, Charlie Brown would try again, only to have Lucy, despite her varied promises, pull the ball away yet again. It didn’t matter how many times Lucy had played Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown was all about the hope of one day kicking that ball out of the cosmos.
Those who insist that Trump is a real hope are like Charlie Brown. Despite all the evidence of past disappointments with lying politicians … despite all the evidence, as seen in his plethora of contradictory positions, that Trump is not the man who is really going to deliver … despite all the pulled footballs of the past the “Trump as hope for the hopeless” supporters still cannot bring themselves to reality. They seem to not have the capacity to realize that, any reason for hope regarding Trump’s current position on anything must have as a presupposition that he is a man of character who will actually do what he says.
The problem is here though that beyond Trump’s constantly changing positions, this presupposition is most obviously false to anyone who looks at even the most recent history of the man. This praise of Trump by people who should know better that he’s an opportunistic charlatan is perhaps what should be expected from people who need the illusion of hope.
3.) Trump as the anti-Obama
David Axelrod, in a recent New York Times piece, put forth the idea that Trump is attractive to people because he is the antithesis of the departing man who has been serving with the title of “President.” Whereas Obama is creepily detached and lacks passion, Trump is just the opposite full of vim and vinegar. Whereas Obama is seeking to destroy America by his immigration policies, and his policies with Iran and his policies to push America into a Internationalist order, Trump desires to “Make America Great Again,” desires to build a wall on the Mexican border, and desires to let the International order go pound sand in order to concentrate on America’s needs. Trump is the anti-Obama.
Like #1 above this is more of a psychological point than a rational point. (Yes, I consider Psychology “irrational.”) The idea here is that just as people get tired of the feel of an old car and can’t wait to get a new one that is different than the one they are “finally getting rid of,” so voters, on a psychological level, get weary with old Presidents and desire, when switching, to upgrade to another model that has a feel that is very different from what they are getting rid of.
4.) Trump as pragmatism
Many Christians will insist on voting Trump, despite knowing his checkered past and despite agreeing that he has been all over the map regarding his positions because they affirm that “at least he’s saying the right things and so you take the coin toss, if for no other reason than to advance the position itself.” This is pure pragmatism where the end (the hope of a restored America) justifies the means (voting for a man who himself has said, in the past, that he is a Democrat). That Trump’s past character is what it is and that Trump has repeatedly articulated a progressive worldview is irrelevant as long as there is a hope (see #2) that, against all odds, Trump will advance anti-Internationalist agenda. In my estimation this is voting for wickedness that good might come, merely because the one with the known wicked track record has, only recently, begun warbling a different tune. In my estimation this is like voting for Hugh Hefner to restore family values, merely because in the last 5 years or so he has begun to talk about the importance of family. In the Christian faith, pragmatism of this variety is eschewed and the Christian does what is right and leaves the consequences with God. Can it really be right to vote for a man who has taken positions so contrary to Biblical Christianity just on the pragmatic basis that it could end up well after all?
5.) Trump and R2K
There are those in the Christian community who will suggest that as the 2016 general election lies in the common realm therefore we are not bound to apply a Christian moral template to these matters. For these folks we are to live with the fact that there is no such thing as Christian voting or Christian politics and so we may vote for just about anyone.
Others will arrive at this position by noting that “we are voting for a President, and not a Pastor,” as if we are relieved of having Christian standards for a President. These people forget that the only other position, besides the position of Elders, which are referred to as God’s servants in the New Testament, are magistrates. In Romans 13 the magistrate is “not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Now, if the Magistrate as God’s servant (“The Magistrate is the minister of God” — Romans 13:4) is not to be a terror to good works then should we not be voting for men who have demonstrated themselves to be workers of good works?
R2K, whether of the Lutheran or Reformed variety, is a sure recipe for doing the devil’s work when it comes to election cycles.
6.) Trump as the bulwark against illegal immigration
Actually, this is the one that almost pushes me into the Trump camp. I agree with many experts who contend that if we lose on immigration we lose on everything. One this issue I have become a “one issue voter.” I am convinced that the International Money interest has determined, in pursuit of a New World Order and in the pursuit of eliminating biblical Christianity that America’s historic Christian and ethnic character must be destroyed. I am convinced that mass immigration is being done to the end of leveling America’s ability to resist the control of the International Money interest. I am convinced that the program of mass third world immigration into the West is pursued to the end of creating a have vs. have not Marxist social order. If I really believed that Trump was going to be a bulwark against this, I might consider voting for him. Alas, I am convinced that Trump is not to be trusted.
I can only adjudicate a man’s intent to keep promises based on his past ability to keep promises. Trump’s failed promises in his previous two marriages suggest to me that I have no reason to believe he will keep his promises to us now. If a man cannot keep his vows as taken publicly before God and man how can I trust him to keep his vows to a nation?
Next on this point, Trump has said, as recently as July of 2015 that his plan to clean up America’s illegal aliens problem is to send them all back so that they can come back legally. Now, Trump wouldn’t let them all return. He has made it clear that the criminal class will not be allowed back. Still, any plan that allows huge numbers to return to America remains an amnesty plan. Such a plan does not answer the intention of the International Money interest plans to assimilate the globe into a New World Order.
I wish Trump were a bulwark to oppose immigration. I do not believe his record or words demonstrate that he is.
7.) Trump as Punishment to the GOP
Of the all the previous one’s I’ve mentioned this one comes the closest to making sense. The GOP, has not, for decades now, represented its conservative base. The likes of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, George H. W. and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, FOX News, National Review, Red State, Talk Radio, Hillsdale College, the Claremont Institute, Cato Institute, David Frum, Glen Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer etc. (what is commonly referred to as “Conservative Inc.) have been the recipients of conservative largess all the while hijacking the Conservative movement and being traitors to Conservatism original intent of regionalism, limited and diffuse Government, and respect for common law and the age old traditions of Biblical Christianity. These Trotskyite neo-cons have slipped the blade to the older conservatism and have successfully reshaped conservatism into their image. They are a loathsome brood of spiders and snakes and if anyone group ever deserved the rise of Donald Trump these people do. This is why, if Trump is elected, there will remain a part of me that rejoices that these people have been anguished.
These people, who are really Fabian progressives, have never been conservative in any meaningful sense. They are Conservative the way that Marilyn Monroe is conservative when compared with Miley Cyrus. They are the Montagnards to the Girondists of the French Revolution. Their only goal has been to retain power. They have never intended to break up the Jacobin worldview predominating in Washington.
Of course, Trump just doesn’t solve this. I suspect that Trump will end up being just another form of dictator that will serve just another expression of the left.
The hatred of genuinely Christian conservative people for Conservative Inc. is understandable and to be applauded but voting for Trump, while burning down Conservative Inc. will not rebuild the fortunes of America.
The only thing that can do that is Reformation and a return to Christ in our families, our Churches, and our Civil realm.