A point that I have repeatedly made is that Trump is no friend of Christians, including the Evangelical Christian bloc that he aggressively courts to his favor. While there are many American Christians who supported him, his clearly immoral behavior even after being given the chance to prove himself otherwise has struck a major division among them. Older white Evangelicals are a larger bloc and tend to support him, and younger Evangelicals not withstanding race tend to support him much less. The decades-long relationship between the Evangelicals and the Republican party as religion has declined, and given how general morality fallen apart and evils such as racism and eugenics have now returned as a part of common party politics, the relationship has become toxic yet stronger as the two groups struggle to survive.
This is something that I have pointed out, and which I have warned is part of a long-term decline in the power of both the Republicans and the Evangelicals. The Catholic bloc has already been severely affected, but this is not a surprise, for if judgment begins with the house of God, as the Church is the one founded on St. Peter per Sacred Scripture and is the only one which is explicitly promised would not have the gates of hell prevail against her, then it is natural she should suffer first. However, she is not going to die or completely disappear, and she will survive and continue. This is not extended in such to the Evangelicals, who are now beginning to seriously feel the pressure of the coming changes.
This sentiment was in an article from the Baptist Press, which said that the power of Trump and largely the Republican party at the moment is confined to the white evangelical Boomer bloc, and their power is declining.
It is rarely noted that Trump was the clear choice of white America. He won the white vote in the cities, the suburbs, the exurbs, the small towns and the whistle stops. Trump won decisively among white mainline Protestants and white Catholics. He triumphed among white women as well as white men. Trump was even supported by 41 percent of white millennial voters.
Still, it was Trump’s overwhelming victory among aging white evangelicals that delivered the keys to the White House.
It is frequently argued that white evangelicals have been brainwashed by megachurch preachers and Fox News. But the preachers and pundits advance by telling a select audience what it wants to hear. And what aging white evangelicals want to hear is precisely what you get from Fox and the big-name preachers on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Council.
Similarly, if aging white evangelicals stayed home on Election Day, GOP candidates would go down in flames. Conservative preachers, pundits and politicians survive by learning to think like aging white evangelicals, a fact that makes this demographic the most powerful people on the planet in the dying days of 2019.
Powerful, and most to be pitied.
Whatever Christianity Today might dare to say, aging white evangelicals are foursquare for their president because they are desperate. Donald Trump smells desperation a mile away. It’s his superpower. Trump needs aging white evangelicals as much as they need him.
As I have said, aging white evangelicals may be powerful, but they are also a people most to be pitied. Like John the Revelator’s devil, they are filled with “great wrath” for they know their time is short. Only 25 percent of younger evangelicals hold a “very favorable” opinion of Trump, compared to 55 percent of older evangelicals. Only 24 percent of religiously unaffiliated voters sided with Trump in the 2016 election, and this group grows with each election cycle, while evangelical numbers are dropping. Aging white evangelicals are fighting like there’s no tomorrow because … there isn’t.
Everybody dislikes the aging white evangelicals except the folks who need them – the president, Fox News and the Republican Party. Trump has melded with his base. “They just impeached us,” he bellowed at a recent rally. Conversely, when Trump is mocked his followers take it personally.
And every time Trump is mocked, aging white evangelicals feel belittled.
Conservative evangelicals punch above their weight because they are custodians of American civil religion, a vision of America as God’s beacon in a dark world. Civil religion enjoyed bipartisan support during the Eisenhower years. For generations, American history and civics classes were exercises in self-congratulation.
For the past half century, however, our civil religion has been “deconstructed” by academics who see it as little more than a mask for white supremacy and the oppression of women and racial and sexual minorities. America, in this view, has a lot of explaining to do. College educated whites broke decisively for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the only white demographic to do so.
In response, aging white evangelicals have doubled down on the myth of American righteousness. In the hands of evangelical faux historians like David Barton, the old civil religion has become a great, sprawling story of God’s providential love for America with footnotes a mile long. Trump’s promise to make America great again dovetails perfectly with American civil religion in both its classic and expanded iterations.
In defending Trump, aging white evangelicals are fighting for their identity. The liberals have transformed a gleaming army of Christian soldiers into a rabble of bigots and fools. Evangelicals won’t take this demotion lying down, especially with Donald John Trump emerging as their champion. A civil religion designed to unify a nation now serves as a dividing line.
All this is quite by design. Trump’s political strategy comes straight out of professional wrestling. Half the crowd is hailing Trump as a Savior while everybody else is baying for his blood. The president has our attention, and that’s all he has ever wanted.
As the impeachment process so clearly reveals, the GOP is now the party of Trump. But the power behind the throne is a band of aging white evangelicals, the most powerful people on earth, and therefore the most to be pitied.
Like the biblical Samson, Trump will eventually bring the entire edifice of American conservatism crashing down around him. Some species of evangelical religion will ultimately rise from the rubble, but it will be greatly curtailed, politically irrelevant and, I pray, more recognizably Christian.
Sometimes it takes a cataclysm to advance the cause of Christ. (source)
This is not something to be happy about, because it is a product of the general decline of Christianity and religion as a whole, and that is objectively not good. However, this is a hard reality that all have to face.
2020 is likely a Trump win, and this will be the last election where Boomers will be the dominant political force. They will still play roles into the future, but in 2024 the eldest boomers will be 78, which is the average US lifespan. They will continue to die off and be replaced by the Millennials and Zoomers, who are angry, younger, and inclined to socialism as well as indifference or even hatred towards religion. They will not stay with the paths put down by their Boomer parents in terms of many philosophical ideas save for the advancement of socialism, but will take it to a fuller conclusion than what existed in the past. In addition, internal domestic demographic shifts as well as to a lesser extent migration throughout the US has a strong chance to turn Florida into a permanently Democrat state and make the former Republican strongholds of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas into swing states. If this happens, then the Republicans will have a hard time ever again winning a major election save for a near literal revolution in the political sense because one will need to win all of them in order to gain the White House as how the current paradigm functions.
This is most likely the last great movement for the Evangelical and Boomer base.
The future is going to be very, very interesting.