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.
Many white evangelicals see the increased acceptance of the LGBTQ+ and their protection by the law as a danger to the first amendment right to religious freedom and their family values. Trump has heard these fears and worked to assuage them.
This can be seen through new regulation providing religious exemptions to companies allowing them to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This effectively rolled back non-discrimination employment protections implemented by Obama. Trump has also, against expert military and medical advice, banned transgender individuals from serving in the military.
His pick for Vice President, Mike Pence is famously against gay marriage and hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, with Trump in 2017 jokingly stating: ‘Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!’
He has also has rolled back protections of this community by opposing the Equality act despite its high level of support from the American public. Trump has also appointed anti-LGBTQ+ judges to all levels of the judicial system. This is the case with Judge Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh, both Trump’s appointees to the Supreme Court.
Trump has taken a strong anti-LGBTQ+ stance in his policy proposals and his appointees to offices at all levels of government, and he has been praised extensively by the white evangelical community for these measures.
Trump supports the stance which will win him the most votes. Shortly before the Republican national convention of 2020, his campaign was reaching out to members of the LGBTQ+ community in order to improving his polling numbers and his chances in the election .
[P1] Evangelicals feel their religious freedoms are in peril due to the growing support for the LGBTQ+ community.
[P2] Trump has rolled back protections for the LGBTQ+ community.
[P3] This has assuaged evangelicals' fears.