Donald trump has been winning over evangelical Christians, but apparently not the ones who actually go to church:
Probably a lot of marginally religious Americans call themselves evangelical Christians without having a clue about what it means. They know they’re not Catholics, Jews, or Mormons. They find Ted Cruz creepy and think Trump looks good in a baseball cap.
I recently had an email exchange with a high school friend who is still a devout, or at least a practicing, Catholic. Although he didn’t support Trump for the nomination, he assured me that he and his wife plan to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. I figure my friend and his wife always vote Republican because of the abortion issue. Evidently, a thrice-married pathological liar and narcissist with strong misogynistic and racist tendencies is preferable to a pro-choice liberal Democrat. So much for Pope Francis’s moral influence. The Holy Father has real appeal to lapsed Catholics who were long ago turned off by the morally deaf tone he is struggling to change. To old guard Catholics, Pope Francis, with his overarching concern for migrants and the poor, just sounds like a commie. His denouncing Trump’s wall probably increased Trump’s support among the faithful.
The GOP leadership is in a panic about Trump because he doesn’t toe the line on any of their conservative principles. In fact, conservative principles mean nothing to him. He recently said “This election isn’t about the Republican Party; it’s about me.” http://www.masslive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/05/imagine_trump_as_puppet_with_d.html
What should be dawning on the GOP leadership is that their base has never really bought into those conservative principles either. Loyal Republican voters want smaller government and less government intervention only when it comes to minorities, carping feminists, gays, and leftist professors; for themselves, they want as much government help as they can get. The Republican leadership has been playing the race card and fomenting resentment against women, minorities, and gays for decades, and now it’s all coming home to roost. Trump’s trash-talking attacks on women and minorities are what galvanize the base, not smaller government and free trade.
So the Republican Party isn’t coming apart at all; it’s just slipping out of the hands of ideologues who have been utterly delusional about the broad appeal of their ideology. It’s becoming the party of bitter little authoritarians who long for a leader who’s a tough guy and tells it like it is, i.e., gives voice to their basest fears and resentments. Donald Trump is their man; Ayn-Rand-loving, free-market fundamentalists can go piss up a rope.
But if Trump has alienated Republican strategists and ideologues, he has energized white supremacists by making bigoted discourse mainstream. He has, of course, disavowed (wink, wink) their support, while often re-tweeting their tweets.
There is hope. So far, among Americans in general, Trump is less popular than lice. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/trump-less-popular-than-lice-new-ppp-poll-682411587777