Seeing Donald Trump holding a Bible and pretending to be a religious leader is enough to short circuit every synapse in one’s brain.
How can these so-called Christians support the most vile and corrupt president the United States has ever had? This is a deep mystery that many political observers have tried to figure out.
Perhaps the best explanation is also the most cynical one: their motivations for supporting Trump have nothing to do with religion or spirituality but are all about obtaining and keeping political power.
Recently NPR reported that a group of Evangelical leaders is extremely concerned about the effect that Trump’s scandals will have on the midterm elections. Because they are totally committed to seeing Republicans stay in power, many (tax-exempt) religious organizations have done everything possible to help GOP candidates get elected — including Trump.
So what disturbs these Evangelicals about Trump is not his immorality or dishonesty but the fact that he may hurt Republican chances of keeping control of Congress.
In fact, they have scheduled a meeting on June 19th in Trump’s Washington Hotel for the express purpose of planning out a midterm strategy with the president.
Did these people ever hear of the constitutional principle called “separation of church and state?” Thomas Jefferson should be rolling over in his grave right now.
“We’re very concerned about the allegations,” said an Evangelical leader involved in planning the June 19th meeting with Trump. He said he is very worried that the Stormy Daniels sex-scandal allegations and Trump’s divisive rhetoric could “suppress evangelical turnout in the November midterm elections.”
“It is a concern of ours that 2018 could be very detrimental to some of the other issues that we hold dear, like preserving religious liberty and restricting abortion rights,” the Evangelical said.
But what if these people believe that Trump truly endangers their political power? Might they want to dump Trump and go with Pence, a true believer?
That theory was recently espoused in an article in Newsweek Magazine called “The End of the Trump Presidency Now Looms” by Ronald Feinman.
“With the midterm congressional elections now less than seven months away, and with the Republicans running scared about potential massive losses, and with more criticism emerging from not only respectable conservatives, but also from some of his own loyalists, Donald Trump’s time in the Presidency seems rapidly coming toward a sudden end,” Feinman argues.
Concerning Trump’s June 19th meeting with Evangelical leaders, Feinman has this to say:
“This group is alarmed at the thought that the Trump scandals could cost them the advancement of their religious agenda. It could be, two months from now, that gloom and doom will set in, and cause these pastors and ministers and their allies to consider Trump’s resignation as preferable, as it would bring a “true believer,” Vice President Mike Pence, to the Presidency.”
“One would think behind the scenes that many congressional Republicans and conservatives would clearly prefer Pence, who is religiously devout, and does not have the drama and controversy that Donald Trump constantly presents. With Pence, the right-wing would not lose, but instead gain a great deal of comfort.”
Most people don’t know that Richard Nixon also had a meeting with Evangelical leaders who informed the beleaguered president in 1974 that they were withdrawing their support for him. Shortly thereafter, Nixon resigned from office.
We may see history repeating itself once again in the coming months. If Trump’s scandals stay in the news and get worse, and if his legal problems mount to the point where he is in serious legal jeopardy, then it is entirely possible that Trump will be seen as more of a liability than an asset for Evangelicals and other right-wing leaders.
And if that happens, it is likely that we will be nearing the end of the Trump presidency.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.