Tuesday, May 16, 2017

on evangelical Support vs. support for Trump

There's a lot of MSM talk about evangelicals and a supposed passion for Trump. (Here's a sample piece from the WaPo.) There is certainly (at least tentative) support for him. In some part, it's what they suspect/hope he'll do. And in part, it's a function of the MSM and elites response to him-- which mirrors the MSM/elite response to them (or at least their perception of it). In any case, I suspect the support is tentative: Is there any doubt that evangelicals would have been off the Trump bandwagon completely (especially with its troubling baggage) if he had picked a mushy judge?

So, unless their goal is to be antagonistic, MSM'ers/elites should be (really) careful to distinguish between tentative and unseemingly alliances (as Trump and evangelicals)-- and full-throated love and admiration for candidates. Not to be careful here is yet a clear kick in the shorts to evangelicals--MSM'ers exaggerating, etc. for their own rhetorical purposes or out of their smug ignorance.
To be a bit more specific: I think a lot of political support these days-- for a lot of people-- comes down to abortion. For Dems (if not liberals), Clinton was quite acceptable, simply because she would advocate certain judges-- even though she was *so* illiberal in other areas of purported importance/principle to Dems. By settling for Clinton in the primary and then avidly supporting her in the general (vs. holding their nose), a lot of Dems insisted on shouting at us that they are not liberals in any meaningful sense.

Likewise, for evangelicals, like most other folks, "it" reduces to an issue or two-- and that's often judicial nominees in general and abortion in particular. As such, they rightly judged Clinton a mess on that (from their perspective) and other metrics (objectively). And despite Trump's mess, they were happy enough to pick him over her to get his judges. Of course, this reveals them as not (broadly) conservative in any meaningful sense.

Of course, broadening this out a bit further, to the extent that this is key, then we have the larger problem of people seeing judges as de facto legislators. But that's what you do as a short-cut-- and when you don't have legislative policy ideas (as is the case for both major political parties. 


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