Much ink has already been spilled trying to parse Donald Trump’s appeal to evangelicals. Are they “Trumpvangelicals” more concerned with “immigration, Islamophobia, and guns” than abortion and gay marriage? Or just bad evangelicals? Or are they Appalachian rednecks, the descendants of the Scots-Irish who colonized the southern highlands with a distinct cultural folkway that combined a fierce distrust of central authority with the worship of charismatic leaders, seething xenophobia, a penchant for retributive justice, and, in the words of David Hackett Fischer, an “intense hostility to organized churches and established clergy … and an abiding interest in religion.”
My vote is with the latter. Trump’s appeal to evangelicals is more
folkway than religious. But as the last couple of election cycles have
demonstrated, the evangelical vote doesn’t deliver the general election.
If it did, we would have Mitt Romney in the White House. But the
Catholic vote does. And now the conservative Catholic cabal that teamed
up with evangelical power brokers to deliver us George W. Bush, and
tried to shove Romney down the nation’s throat, is in a full-fledged
panic that white, Catholic, working-class voters might throw their
support behind Donald Trump and upset their neocon apple cart.
In “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” published in the National Review,
“natural rights” proponent Robert P. George and Pope John Paul II
biographer George Weigel lament that the Republican Party, which has
been a flawed but “serviceable” vehicle for “promoting causes at the
center of Catholic social concern in the United States,” is about to be
hijacked by one Donald J. Trump.
Read more at Religion Dispatches >>