If you are a Republican political operative, there are books you need to have read beginning with Salena Zito and Brad Todd, The Great Revolt which explains based on polling data and interviews, the Trump coalition and how Trump won 2016. The second book is my own book on the 2016, The Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism, What Our Response Should be which includes data we collected post 2016 as well actual campaign successes our organization Americas PAC had and the lesson we learned not just for 2018 but also 2020.
God, Trump and the 2020 Elections by Steven Strang is another book for Republican operatives for the simple reason, Mr. Strang gives us insight into the Evangelical voters, voters who gave Trump 81% of their votes and whose vote total exceeded Black and Hispanic vote totals. Most of us don’t truly understand the Evangelical voters but as Strang noted, they vote in big numbers and even more importantly, he noted that 21 million evangelicals are not even registered to vote and in 2012, some three to five million evangelicals stayed home, ending what chances Romney had of winning in 2012. We certainly don’t want the same thing to happen in 2020.
I don’t know how many times I have been asked why you support just a vile and corrupt man as Trump and my answers are mirrored by Strang. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was as corrupt a politician I have witnessed in my lifetime and worse, she managed to get away with this corruption. The Clinton Foundations was nothing more than a play to pay operation in which donors including foreign donors and government understood that if they want access in a future Clinton Administration, they better contribute to Clinton Foundation and the Clintons were worth nine figures by 2016 after Hillary declared some 16 years earlier, they were flat broke. Peter Schweizer detailed this corruption in his book, Clinton’s Cash. As for Trump morality, the voters including many evangelicals understood he was no saint and Strang himself did not care for Trump during the primaries and like many of us, chose to vote for him out of legitimate concerns for our civil liberties including our religious freedom and economic freedom. The stakes were high in 2016 and even higher in 2020.
I will add that the me/too movement was less about justice for women than other weapons to use against Trump. Democrats and media who were the biggest supporters of me/too movement never seemed concern when Bill Clinton was doing the sexual assaulting nor for that matter, concern when his wife, who often attack those women who dare to speak up. During the 1992 elections, Ms. Clinton led the Bimbo eruption team whose goal was to ruin any women who admitted that they had an affair with Bill Clinton or accuse him of sexual assault.
In 2018, the me/too Party had no problem supporting at least two Senators for re-election who had documented records of abusing their first wives. One of those Senators hit his wife so hard, she had a black eye. Keith Ellison received support from the Democratic Party for Minnesota state Attorney General despite significant accusation of sexual assault. I could go on the number of Democrats whose own past rivaled Bill Clinton supported by the Democratic Party and how many didn’t have to worry about the Media coming after them.
Strang understands that Trump is no saint and while his view of Trump has changed as a result of actually meeting with him, he understands Trump shortcomings but observed that God does bring forth those who are sinners or even non-believers to come forward to do God’s work. One example sited is Persian King Cyrus who allowed Jews to return back to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple.
Strang sees God’s hand at work and his belief that God raised up America to be that beacon of light and hope to the world includes Religious freedom and Strang sees Religious freedom as important for the United States as well as the other freedoms. He discusses immigration reform including controlling our border and the importance of reducing illegal immigration and even makes a biblical case for this. Evangelicals understand that our religious freedom are intertwined with other freedoms, just as freedom of speech and press. For those familiar with the Masterpiece Cake versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission in which a baker refused to use his talent to participate in a gay wedding and the baker found himself fined six figures and threaten with bankruptcy. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor, showing the importance of appointing the right judges. (He is still under siege by the commission despite winning his case in front of the Supreme Court, so our freedom is fragile and for many evangelicals, they see this case and wonder whether they will be worship God ) The recent case in California where an undercover journalist is facing jailtime for a story he released about abortion clinics selling baby parts is another example where our freedom is at risk under a future Democrat administration.
In my book, the Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism, I document this threat to our freedom and much of the left attitude has become worse since my book was released in December 2017, as many colleges are keeping conservative speakers off campus in the name of stopping the hate and redefining hate speech that could simply interpretive of conservative ideas that the left hates. We have a major political party that is now supporting infanticide whereas 80% of voters believe abortions should be restricted in the second trimester including half of those who view themselves as pro-choice and close to 45% of Americans believe that abortion should be restricted in the first trimester. The average American voter don’t believe there is a unlimited right to abortions as Democrats are now supporting abortions up to actual birth and when given a chance to support a bill that would require medical personnel to care for babies who survive an abortion, 44 of 47 Democrat Senators including all Senators running for President and all but one Senator running for re-election in 2020 opposed this. They supported infanticide.
Strang case for evangelical that their freedom and ours are at stake, and he is right. This book explains the evangelical worldview and that is why Republican operatives need to read this book, so they better understand a significant part of our coalition. five million evangelicals didn’t vote in 2012 and that hurt Romney. With some 21 million not even registered, Republicans don’t have a margin of error. Democrats with three states, California, New York and Illinois have 104 Electoral college votes in their hip pocket whereas Texas is still red, but Florida is a battleground state and not a certainty in 2020. Democrats Presidential candidate have 104 Electoral college in his or her back pocket and only needs an additional 166 votes from the remaining 47 states. The only state of more than 20 electoral college that Republicans can count on is Texas 38 and they must find a way to garner another 232 votes from the remaining states. Republicans have no margin of error as Trump won because 70,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania went for Trump.
Strang observed that Trump own outreach has included those moments in which he used the wrong phrases in front of evangelicals and often struggle with the right word. Strang own view is that Trump is making the effort and certainly his policies along with his appointments to the Federal bench shows that he comprehends what they are seeking. For many of us not raised in the evangelical tradition must understand that our battles are intertwined with their concerns and that a free market, constitutional rule of law is what is needed and required for our civil society to survive as a free nation and allow civility to return. Strang explains this well and for that alone, this book does a service by explaining the evangelical view and we might want to understand that to win, you need a coalition and there is no replacing those million of voters. Another aspect is that many Blacks are also raised in this tradition and any outreach to minorities including blacks and Hispanics must include understanding this evangelical underpinning. The ability to add votes from minority communities is connected to understanding the Evangelical worldview.