A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week with William Crawley.
WC: The Democrats have held onto the U.S. Senate, after a tight but pivotal race in Nevada. Candidates endorsed by Donald Trump have performed much worse than expected in this year’s mid-term elections, yet Donald Trump is expected to announce another bid for the presidency.
His win in 2016 was due in no small part to the support of American evangelicals. But after this week’s elections, how will Republicans of faith respond?
Matthew Sutton is professor of the history of American religion at Washington State University — I asked him if the evangelical tide seems to be turning now against Donald Trump.
MS: Many evangelicals still voted in really high numbers for Trump’s hand-picked candidates, people like Mehmet Oz and Hershel Walker. So it may just be that the rest of America is sort of tired of evangelicals having as much power and as much influence as they’ve been having over the American politics.
WC: What about the increasing influence of the more fringe evangelical figures that have gained a much stronger foothold in politics since Donald Trump was president? Is there evidence that that is waning?
MS: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right on that. One of the interesting things about Trump’s leadership and his presidency was he had to elevate a lot of folks who were kind of on the more religious extremes, who would claim to be able to prophesy accurately the future. And because Trump had so much trouble early on getting the respect of mainstream Republicans, which included mainstream evangelical leaders, he had to turn to these outside figures.
And I think, in a lot of ways, like some of Trump’s hand-picked political candidates, his hand-picked religious allies also were a bit of an embarrassment. And so, for a lot of Americans looking at that, I think they’ve kind of recognized that that may not be the kind of people they want to support or the kind of people they want in the White House.
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