In the 2016 US election, white evangelical Christians resoundingly voted for Donald Trump and were critical in his Presidential victory. Despite much of Trump's behaviour seen as an affront to "traditional values", 81% of evangelicals turned out to vote for him. Why?
White evangelicals back Trump because he privileges them in policy decisionsShow moreShow less
As Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, notes: Trump "confers privilege in exchange for constant loyalty at the ballot box, no matter what he does.” His stance on many key policy areas now reflects that of the Evangelical Christian lobby.
Most evangelicals oppose Roe v Wade and contraceptives as a matter of principle. Trump took a strong pro-life stance from the primaries in the 2016 election, whereas Hillary Clinton supported abortion rights and increased funding for Planned Parenthood.
Many Republican presidents have been more devout than Donald Trump, but they are often seen as having compromised on their, and evangelicals’, ideals. This is particularly relevant in cases of abortion laws and LGBTQ+ rights. Trump has been seen by his supporters as a candidate who will not compromise and will follow through on his promises. His repeated attacks on his political opponents and members of his own party when they refuse to fall in line only increases this sentiment.
Furthermore, the presence of an empty chair on the Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016 pushed many conservatives to action to ensure it was filled by a pro-lifer. On the campaign trail, Trump talked of criminally prosecuting women who had abortions or the doctors who performed the practice. His appointees to the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch, Judge Kavanaugh, and potentially Judge Barrett, should she be appointed, would be enough to reverse the vote should they get the chance to overturn Roe v Wade.
Critics, such as evangelical pastor Robb Ryerse, say that Trump is cynically using pro-life voters to increase his base with little care for protecting lives both of unborn children and their mothers.
[P1] Evangelical Christians support pro-life candidates and policies.
[P2] Trump's policies are pro-life.
[P3] Trump's stance on abortion laws is in line with evangelicals' views.