And one more chart to help rule

Really, really, really good piece from Ezra today on how the changing demographics of race combined with religion is shaping American politics.  You really should read all of it.  Here’s the key graph:

And Ezra’s summary:

In 2018, Americans who claim no religion passed Catholics and evangelicals as the most popular response on the General Social Survey. That arguably overstates the trend: The GSS breaks Protestants into subcategories, and if you group them together, they remain the most populous religious group, at least for now. But the age cohorts here are stark. “If you look at seniors, only about one in 10 seniors today claim no religious affiliation,” Jones told me. “But if you look at Americans under the age of 30, it’s 40 percent.”

These are big, dramatic changes, and they’re leading Christians — particularly older, white, conservative Christians — to experience America’s changing demographics as a form of siege. In some cases, that experience is almost literal.

There’s extensive excerpts from Bill Barr’s recent speeches and a lot of other embedded tweets for context, but here’s the summary:

The Flight 93 election, forever

The irony of all this is that Christian conservatives are likely hastening the future they most fear. In our conversation, Jones told me about a 2006 survey of 16- to 29-year-olds by the Barna Group, an evangelical polling firm, that asked 16- to 29-year-olds for their top three associations with present-day Christianity. Being “antigay” was first, with 91 percent, followed by “judgmental,” with 87 percent, and “hypocritical,” with 85 percent. Christianity, the Barna Group concluded, has “a branding problem.”

It seems unlikely that that branding problem will be fixed by a tighter alliance with Trump, who polls at 31 percent among millennials and 29 percent among Generation Z. If young people are abandoning Christianity because it seems intolerant, judgmental, and hypocritical — well, intolerant, judgmental, and hypocritical is the core of Trump’s personal brand.

That said, I take William Barr at his word. I believe he looks out at the landscape of contemporary America and sees a country changing into something he doesn’t recognize, that he believes Christianity is under an assault from which it may not recover and Trump, whatever his faults, is their last, best hope. And it’s the support of Republicans like Barr that ensures Trump’s survival.

This form of Flight 93ism is more widespread on the right than liberals recognize, and it both authentically motivates some establishment Republicans to enthusiastically embrace Trump, and creates coalitional dynamics by which other Republicans feel they have no choice but to defend Trump against the left. Some protect Trump on the merits, others protect Trump as a form of anti-anti-Trumpism, and others protect Trump as a way of protecting their future careers. But all of them protect Trump as a way of protecting themselves, and a future they feel slipping away.

The fundamental question raised by the impeachment hearings isn’t: What did Trump do? The hearings have added details and witnesses to the account first offered by the whistleblower and later confirmed by the White House call record, but the narrative stands largely unchanged.

Instead, the question raised is: Why is the Republican Party accepting, and even defending, what Trump did?

Barr’s speeches, and the worldview they describe, are a big part of the answer.

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