"I must say: I am completely baffled by the Trump and evangelical numbers. Bizarre," Michael Cromartie, the Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, first said in response to a query on the topic.This is just the latest chapter in a long-running thread. Traditional Fundamentalist Protestant evangelicalism has been dead as a political force for years now, long since replaced by a more manageable social reactionaryism. Though they share many positions, social reactionaries are generally in favor of popular public secular displays such as Xmas pageants, by definition more inclined to undo social reforms and far, far more willing to play nice with other denominations.
Cromartie said that either evangelical voters are not prioritizing their values when they go to the ballot box or the definition of "evangelical" or "born again Christian" has grown too broad.
“The definition of evangelical is starting to get elastic," Cromartie said "In the past, evangelicals were people who had moral and culture conservative values and they cared less about the economy and jobs. ... Either they have put on deep dark sunglasses and are saying they like a person who speaks bluntly and emphatically about the fact that we don’t win anymore or the definition has grown too broad."
In exit polls, large numbers of Republican voters identify themselves as "evangelical or born again." In South Carolina, 70 percent of Republican voters identified as evangelical, according to a report in the National Review. But if you look more closely at the numbers, the National Review's analysis indicates that Cruz performed better in counties in South Carolina where voters reported they went to church more often. Trump, meanwhile, did better in counties where voters went to church less frequently.
And, of course, more likely to vote for agnostic sybarites who promise to make America the way it used to be.
Here's what evangelicals were like when I was young.
[Courtesy of Joe Bob Briggs]
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