First things first. Any citizen of the United States that is an eligible voter has the right to vote for any candidate that they want to. If you want to vote for Donald Trump, do it. It is your right. Trump’s efforts to gain the nomination of the Republican Party are on many levels an accomplishment that no one predicted.
That being said, the rise of Donald Trump can be attributed to several factors which have combined to give him the opportunity to be considered by the voting public. The factor that is most often used as an explanation for his popularity among certain conservative voters is the anger of the Conservative electorate.
However, one recent study suggests that only about 25% of those who are voting for Trump in the primaries are doing so out of anger. That leaves a large portion of his followers with other reasons. I suggest that one big reason is that members of the political party that has not held the Presidency for 8 years in a row consistently do their best to see to it that a member of their party succeeds the sitting President. The most recent example is the Obama election. There was a very large turnout of liberal voters voting for Obama because they were tired of the Bush Administration. There is nothing new about that.
That being said, one can not deny the anger that is being expressed in the Republican primaries. The question then becomes: “What has fueled their anger?” There is no simple answer to that one. Why are they so mad that they will consider an ego-driven, crude, non-politician as a man to put their trust in? Too often the pundits don’t give full consideration for the causes of the anger that has fueled Trump’s rise in the polls.
Factors That Fuel the Anger of the Electorate
Foremost in the mind of the angry electorate is the inescapable fact that they feel that politicians they elected have failed them. Consider the fact that many evangelical voters voted for George W. Bush based upon the belief that he would govern in a way that reflected their basic evangelical beliefs. After 911, the Iraq War, failure of their WMD arguments to justify the war, and, at best, superficial attempts to support the firmly held political beliefs of evangelicals, it became obvious that the promise of George W. Bush for evangelicals was a failure of the highest order.
Another bitter pill for conservative members of the electorate is the failure of the House of Representatives and Senate to thwart the policy prescriptions of the political left as represented by the Obama Administration. Rarely, has any group of Republican legislators made more noise about what they were going to do for the conservative electorate and failed so miserably to actually get something accomplished. If you ask “What has Congress been doing since the Conservatives took over?” The answer is: basically nothing.
Not only have conservative members of Congress failed at stopping legislation proposed by their political opponents, they have pretty much failed to get anything done at all. This Congress has rightly been identified as the “accomplish nothing” Congress. In the eyes of a large portion of the electorate, Washington politics can be characterized by a lot of noise with nothing getting said or done. Don’t think for a moment that their lack of accomplishment has not been perceived as a failure to fulfill the promises made to their political base. In short, for the most part, the conservative electorate is tired of promises made by individuals they elect.
One should also note, that those who consider themselves center-right, or progressive are frustrated on many levels also. However, most of that frustration is directed towards conservative politicians whose main goal was to thwart the policies of the Obama Administration. Washington, as a governing entity, has become largely ineffective in the eyes of both political parties.
One other factor that has given rise to conservative anger is the fact that the Obama Administration has been effective in moving its policies forward and blocking the policies sought by Conservatives. A question not often considered, is whether or not the anger that is fueling the rise of Donald Trump would be as intense had a Republican been in the White House for the past four or eight years.
Both conservatives and progressives are tired of the influence that money has in our politics. Basically a group of about 100 large donors, who donate in secret, are unbelievably influential in determining who gets elected.
When a certain political party has had its representative sitting in the White House for 8 years, there is always momentum to effect change. There is nothing new about that part of the anger that is being expressed about the country.
Do You Know What You Are Getting In Donald Trump?
So the conservative electorate is angry. I get it. Does the level of that anger cause conservative voters to abandon their basic political and spiritual beliefs for the purpose of electing someone who claims to be able to change the way the country is run?
At this point, I would have to say without reservation that the answer to that question is “absolutely”. Many Conservatives believe that electing Donald Trump will be the answer to their anger. In the mind of a large portion of the conservative electorate, nothing that Trump does or says eliminates him from their consideration.
To many evangelicals, it doesn’t matter that Trump is perceived by most as having a distant relationship with the basic beliefs they have required in their past candidates. His pandering to the Liberty University crowd with his comment about Two Corinthians is an obvious clue that he has, at best, a distant relationship to scripture. Sorry folks, the only reason he even brought those verses up was that they mention the word “Liberty” and he was at Liberty University. To deny that exhibits a lack of clarity about what he was doing. Many of the policy statements that are uttered from his mouth exhibit a complete lack of understanding of evangelical positions as revealed in scripture.
In short, believing that Donald Trump represents members of your faith is a compromise of your beliefs. You can’t have it both ways. Donald Trump has not, and probably will not be a man who represents evangelical beliefs. His words, actions, and policy ideas could not be farther away from any scriptural imperative we claim to want in a candidate. Those who deny that are either exhibiting a complete lack of understanding of the faith they claim to adhere to or their political beliefs outweigh their spiritual beliefs.
The question for evangelicals to answer is: Does it matter that he doesn’t represent your basic spiritual beliefs? Sadly, the anger and desire for change inside the evangelical conservative electorate indicates that it doesn’t matter. That fact alone, casts a long shadow over past proclamations from evangelical voters over the type of individual they want representing them in Washington. Basically it boils down to this: The desire of many Trump supporters to have an evangelical represent them is not nearly as important to them as their conservative political beliefs and their dislike of President Obama. Dislike of all things progressive trumps their need for a President that represents their spiritual beliefs. In other words, spiritual beliefs are not as important as conservative beliefs in spite of all of the proclamations to the contrary.
Another question that must be answered before casting your vote for Donald Trump is whether or not he is really a Conservative , or even a Republican. His entire message is designed to fire up the conservative base. Take a hard look at his stances on “building a wall”, destroying ISIS, expanding the military, overturning the Iran Treaty, overturning Obama’s executive decisions, reversing the Affordable Care Act, and other items on the Conservative hit-list. Regardless of the fact that he will not be able to make Mexico pay for his wall, he has no answer other than bombing and torture to destroy ISIS, our military is the strongest in the world, the Iran Treaty isn’t close to being as bad as conservatives claim, Bush had more executive decisions than Obama, conservatives have no answer for what to do after they overturn the affordable care act, and on and on. He makes these outlandish and foolish claims to fire up his base and get himself nominated. His proclamations are a sure fire way to fire up his base, regardless of the fact that they are guaranteed to cause progressives to turn out in large numbers to make sure he doesn’t get elected.
For the first time that I can remember, Conservative politicians are considering not supporting Trumps’ presidential ambitions. Think for a minute about what that really means. What it means is that they would rather have another Clinton in the White House with all that it implies, than have Trump in the White House. Considering all of the attacks on the Clintons’ over the years, that is an amazing development. It is almost as if they are saying that they will take their chances with the Clintons’ rather than risking the soul of their political party by electing someone who doesn’t represent their basic beliefs and will be a horrible representative of the Conservative Party.
Expressing Your Anger At What Cost?
Another issue to consider is whether or not giving Trump the nomination will negatively affect those Republicans running for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Without Trump on the ballot, the Republicans are at a distinct disadvantage regarding controlling both houses of Congress. With him on the ballot there is a good chance that control of the Senate will be turned over to the other party, and a large number of House seats will be lost. It is entirely possible that the anger of the electorate will cost them the Presidency, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and reduce their majority in the House of Representatives. Each of those outcomes will be a disaster for the Republican Party.
The cost of nominating Donald Trump could result in a huge drubbing in the general election. He can’t win any legitimate percentage of the woman’s vote in spite of his claim that “women love me”. As of today he has a 73% disapproval rate among women. He can’t win the Hispanic vote that is even more crucial to winning this year than ever before in spite of his claim that “Mexicans love me”. He can’t win the African-American vote in spite of all of his claims. He could very well win the “older white man” vote but there are fewer of those around these days. No one who could be considered knowledgeable in the political arena gives him much of a chance to beat the nominee of the Democratic Party.
With all that being said, you have the right to express your anger. Many have died fighting to make sure you maintain that right. However, expressing your anger without examining the costs is a prescription for failure. How angry will you be then?