Revenge of the Deplorables!
There may be another reason Donald Trump did so well with evangelical voters: Hillary Clinton didn’t want them! President Obama’s former faith outreach director thinks that’s the biggest difference between his boss’s campaign and the former First Lady’s.
“We asked for the votes of evangelicals, and the Clinton campaign didn’t,” Michael Wear told Emily Belz. “It’s a campaign,” Wear went on, “you ask for people’s votes. And Hillary asked for just about every vote except this [group’s].” Of course, as most Americans know, Clinton’s camp didn’t just ignore evangelicals and Catholics — she mocked them. In emails between her top communications official and others, WikiLeaks helped spell out the campaign’s hostility toward the church. (Not that Hillary’s disdain was exactly a secret after her “basket of deplorables” rant.)
“Evangelicals feel embattled in this country… Hillary Clinton’s pretty historic silence toward white evangelicals, the campaign’s ignoring these voters, worked to affirm the isolation they were feeling. …Her campaign wasn’t even interested in being in the argument. That hurts.”
Wear also blames Clinton’s extremism on things like repealing the Hyde Amendment, which even some in her base opposed. “Maybe pouring tens of millions of campaign dollars into how pro-choice your candidate is, maybe that’s not as motivating as some groups want to tell us it is.” It was an interesting take on a campaign that will be dissected for decades.
And while pollsters continue to take a beating over the election no one saw coming, at least one expert was right: George Barna. For months, he insisted that Donald Trump would need at least 86 percent of SAGE (Spiritually Active Government Engaged) Cons to win. By the end of the night, the GOP nominee had 94 percent — easily outperforming every Republican since Ronald Reagan. Remarkably, 90 percent of them turned out to vote — which was the result of a lot of hard work from FRC Action, who invested tremendous time and energy explaining the stakes of this election and urging battleground voters like North Carolina’s out to vote. It paid off. On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s “largest segment of support,” Barna notes, “was the Christian conservative vote.” Even Fox News credited our team with moving the needle on evangelical turnout.
The message from the church was loud and clear: we can help you win. In the end, the importance of the Supreme Court (which more than 1.5 million Americans saw in this FRC Action ad) and the candidates’ position on key issues far outweighed the concerns over Trump’s character. “Mr. Trump did not win because of superior political strategy or performance,” Barna explained. “God produced a miracle in response to the prayers and fasting of His people… The challenge is now for the body of Christ to be agents of reconciliation and unity, and to now lead the country toward policies and behaviors that will honor God and His life principles.”
Several conservatives leaders emphasized that point and called for Christians to stay engaged at a post-election press conference in Washington yesterday. As I said in our election webcast yesterday, I believe that if the Republican Party, led by Donald Trump, follow through on their commitments, we’re on the cusp of a conservative generation. But that will take all of us! So don’t be tempted to think your work is done. It’s just beginning! To hear more from conservative leaders about what’s ahead, check out the video from the press conference.
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