Evangelicals and Trump explained

So, the real reason that Southern Evangelicals support Trump despite his blindingly obvious lack of Christian faith?  They resent Black people more than they care about Trump’s Christianity.  Political Scientist extraordinaire, Marc Hetherington, and Drew Engelhardt:

The reason Trump won South Carolina and is likely to romp to victory in the southern Super Tuesday states is the persistent importance of race in Southern politics.

Conservative racial attitudes are central to why the South went from being a solidly blue region before JFK and LBJ embraced Civil Rights to becoming a solidly red region since. Moreover, racial attitudes differ substantially between Southern evangelicals and evangelicals living elsewhere…

A lot has changed in 30 years. The average white Democrat and Republican have never before provided such divergent responses. Although Democrats have become slightly less racially resentful over time, the real change has occurred among Republicans. They have become far more racially resentful, even as the country has moved away from the worst parts of its troubled racial past. [emphases mine]

In 2016, nearly 38 percent of Republicans fell in the two most racially resentful categories, with nearly a quarter in the very most resentful one. Indeed, the two most common categories for Republicans to fall into were the two most racially resentful ones.

To us, then, it is not surprising that a candidate who is well known for questioning President Obama’s citizenship and suggested that a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his rallies be “roughed up” and said that black youths have “never done more poorly” because “there’s no spirit” would be attractive to a party that these days is dripping with racial resentment…

And evangelical Republicans? Their racial attitudes differ depending on which region they hail from, too…

In fact, among white Southern Republicans, evangelicals exhibit higher levels of racial resentment than do Southern Republicans who are not evangelicals. These results appear in the next figure. Fully 57 percent of Southern evangelicals score in the scale’s most resentful four categories, compared to 44 percent for Southern non-evangelicals…

These numbers matter when considering Super Tuesday’s consequences. Southern states constitute 428 of the 632 delegates at stake next Tuesday. Except for perhaps Texas, the strongly evangelical South is unlikely to be Cruz country, despite his evangelical-friendly message. The reason is because Donald Trump appeals on a different level to Southern evangelicals, a group that possess extraordinarily high levels of racial resentment. The result ought to be a big day for Trump, making his nomination seem even more inevitable.

 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Evangelicals and Trump explained

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Why hasn’t anyone asked Trump how he stands on birth control . Democrats better start asking.
    Media?

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