President Trump’s Thin Evangelical Line


We all know that Donald Trump is a blunt, brash New Yorker (insert your "New Yawk" accent here). He's a street fighter and he won the presidency that way. Tens of millions of Americans love his tenacity and penchant for brawling. But there's a line. And Thursday morning, he crossed it. Tweeting nasty personal insults is just plain wrong, has no upside whatsoever and can actually end up hurting him politically with his crucial evangelical base. You see, when “Mika and Joe” trash President Trump, it’s good for business and makes headlines. There really isn’t a downside for them. But when the president responds in kind, the downside can be treacherous for him.

The evangelical attraction to Donald Trump was strong during the GOP primaries and reached even greater heights during the General Election when a record number 81 percent of evangelicals voted for him. But he needs to be very careful if he wants to duplicate or even improve on that number next time around. Calling out the media is one thing but making it personal is quite another. Evangelicals don't mind President Trump's unorthodox ways and his fighting spirit. They like when he socks it to Washington bureaucrats and phony politicians. But a pattern of petty personal insults will put Trump in danger of "evangelical voter apathy" in 2020. Diehards will stay with him no matter what but that won't be enough to win in 2020. He needs those, "anti-Hillary Evangelicals." Will they show up and vote for the next democrat nominee? No. Many of them may just not show up at all. If 81% turnout becomes 77% evangelical turnout (especially in key swing states) then he's toast. It's that simple. He needs evangelicals and he knows it. Any slippage and it's game, set, match. He can’t afford to go down this road. It’s not worth it for him.

Look, the art of this deal is pretty simple if President Trump wants to seal the deal with evangelicals going forward: he can bash the media, "the deep state" and disingenuous politicians all day long. He just shouldn't make it personal. Evangelicals are watching. And honestly, is it worth it? I get it. They insult him multiple times daily and Trump’s instinct is to punch back ten times harder. But sometimes it just gets way too personal and it can cause him more political harm than good.

Seems like a good time for a bible verse not just for President Trump but also for all of us because let's face it: we're all guilty of crossing the line from time to time.

Ephesians 4:32

...Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."

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