Trump: What do white evangelicals think? — interview with Joanna Piacenza | VIEWPOINT

Trump: What do white evangelicals think? — interview with Joanna Piacenza | VIEWPOINT


Joanna: I think that the Me Too movement might
have happened if Trump was not in office, if Clinton got elected, but it would not be
happening to the degree that it is happening right now. Dan: Joanna, thank you for being here at AEI
and being willing to talk about this brand new survey that Morning Consult produced,
looking at white evangelical Protestants, their politics and of course, Trump. Joanna: Yes. Dan: We’d love for you to tell us a little
bit more about it. Joanna: Sure. So we had these conversations about religion
and Trump and especially after 2016, an election that no one really expected to go the way
that it did, we wanted some answers, especially in terms of why conservative Christians, why
white evangelicals, voted the way that they did. You know, many people predicted that because
Trump did not fit the mold of who… Dan: He did not. Joanna: He did not. He did not fit the mold of who the traditional
Republican candidate would be, especially for conservative Christians. That group would kind of fall away. You know, with each news item that came out
about Trump, there is a pretty good, “Oh, this is the thing, that’s gonna make white
evangelicals, you know, not show up.” Dan: Head for the hills. Yeah. Joanna: Yes, exactly. And it turns out they didn’t, 80%, 81%. Dan: Eighty-one percent, yeah. Joanna: Of white evangelicals… Dan: Which a high watermark for the past few
elections, right? Joanna: Absolutely. Dan: I mean, McCain did not do that well,
Romney did not do that well. Joanna: Yep. Dan: Along white evangelicals so, that was
impressive by almost any standard. Joanna: Surprising, very, very surprising,
given the track record of his whole campaign and who he represented as a person to these
groups. So we’re two years in to Trump. Dan: Feels longer. Joanna: Yeah, it does feel like longer. But to say…it’s been a busy two years. Dan: Yes. Joanna: There have been a lot of scandals
involving Trump. Who couldn’t forget Stormy Daniels, for example. And we wanted to kind of figure out, okay,
so we’re two years in, about two years away from the election 2020. Where are white evangelicals right now? Where do they stand? And what does it look like for the next election? What does it look like for the year after? And one of the things that we found in Morning
Consult polling, not the one that we did with you guys, is that Trump’s favorability, it’s
pretty much stayed the same throughout a number of scandals, including Stormy Daniels. With that in mind, you know, you wrote a very
good questionnaire, and I had some input, I had no input. I had some input on it. Dan: You were there in spirit. Joanna: I was there, I helped with the logistics
of it, where we were exploring okay, so what are the social and cultural anxieties? What are the reasons evangelicals might stick
with Trump? Or what are the reasons why evangelicals might
stray from him? And essentially, what we found two years in,
and I’d love to get your take on the data too, but kind of my take is that, you know,
this cultural and social anxiety that fueled Trump’s win to the White House, that evangelicals
pushed him into, is still existing. They don’t necessarily think that his moral
shortcomings, as probably they would phrase it, are reasons to abandon ship, or reasons
to leave the party, or reasons to not vote for him. One of the things that we found was that there’s
a 16 point difference between Republicans who wanted Trump at the top of the ticket
versus white evangelicals, and I believe it was 71% and 56%, something like that. Dan: Yeah, 55%. Joanna: Fifty-five percent, that’s what it
was. Dan: Which is interesting, right? Joanna: Yes. Dan: Like, that majority of evangelicals,
and you offered Trump, Mike Pence, who is of course the VP or any other Republican. And so majority of white evangelicals were
like, “Nope, we want Trump.” Joanna: Yeah. And we you know, we’re going back and forth
about Pence, Trump, I mean, Pence is so much more emblematic of the type of leader that
white evangelicals would want. And yet, there was only I think, a three or
five… Dan: Yeah, honesty, integrity, a family-oriented
politician, and Trump is, of course, none of those things. Joanna: Yeah. Dan: And so you know, what is it? And I think one of the things that the poll
reveals, and some of our conversations have been about is that, you know, he really does
well among evangelicals who have a high level of anxiety in regard to the changing cultural
norms and mores shifting attitudes
around same sex marriage and sexual morality more broadly. But also, evangelicals have sort of a more
authoritarian disposition or sort of more comfortable with that. We see his support a lot higher too. And then, Emily Eakin’s [SP] work has shown
that, you know, high attending of evangelicals are actually less supportive of Trump. But one of the interesting things is, you
know, how many of those folks are actually gonna abstain in 2020? Like that would be not that many. Joanna: Yeah, yeah, I’m not sure. I think there was some other research mentioned
at the panel about gender roles, which I thought was interesting. Favorability or support for Trump, or approval,
approval for Trump, I believe, was a huge divide between those that want modern gender
roles, essentially, not having, I would assume kind of the woman be the homemaker, the man
going out to earn money, or even that hetero normative attitude, not having to be a man
and a woman. I think it was around 50% of people had an
approval rating of Trump, whereas people who wanted the more traditional roles, it was
100%. That to me is really revealing about who Trump
represents, as a person. Very masculine, very manly, you know. Dan: That’s like his whole persona right? Joanna: Yes, yeah. Dan: And sort of the tough guy, unapologetic
image, sort of like a throwback, sort of masculine trope, in some ways. And if you look at where he’s strongest, it
is with, you know, white working class men. And that’s been sort of the backbone of his
support. And you look at some of the folks who’ve been
less certain or less supportive, even amongst constituencies that support him. So white evangelicals, right, like they strongly
support him, but women, there’s a significant gender gap, women are less likely…white
evangelical women are less likely to support him. If you looked at the mess around putting the
children deportation centers separated from… Joanna: Family separation, yep. Dan: Yeah, separating children from their
parents, it was a lot of white evangelical women actually, who said like, “No, no, this
is not okay.” And we saw a really significant gender gap
there. Joanna: Yeah, I would also argue that Republican
women are more likely to adhere to these traditional gender roles, and are used to seeing a man
in charge. They’re used to taking direction from a man. That’s just natural. Maybe they don’t like know it consciously. But subconsciously, that’s, I think, very,
like threaded within their ideology and their upbringing. Which is why Hillary Clinton, as an individual,
as a strong woman, who, you know, had her issues as a candidate, but was a female. I think that a lot of Republican women and
white evangelical women were turned off to her, because of the fact she was a woman. And they are used to seeing women in powerful
roles. And you could say that about white evangelical
women, because women are not allowed to ascend to certain positions that men are within denominations. Dan: The most amazing thing about Trump is,
well, one we can’t stop talking about him. Joanna: Yes. Dan: But also I think he is the reason we’re
talking about so many of these issues, right? That for the entire Obama era, you know, how
much were we talking about gender discrimination, sexual assault, right? These were not national topics of conversation,
conversation, of race in America is very different. In some way, I think Trump is responsible
for a lot of the types of conversations we’re having, like right now. Joanna: I absolutely, agree. I think that the Me Too movement might have
happened if Trump was out of office, if Clinton got elected, but it would not be happening
to the degree that it is happening right now. It’s an interesting reaction. Dan: Right. Joanna: But I think that there was a lot of
frustration out of progressive women, maybe even more moderate women after the election. And the Me Too movement, it’s not that it
was a reaction to that… Dan: I think it might have been on some level. Joanna: The height of it, you know, like how
big it got could be a reaction, you know, you saw the women’s rally, etc. Dan: Right, that was definitely like the women’s
rallies that we’ve been seeing, and they’re still going on, was an absolute, like, you
know, reaction to what’s happening in the White House. Joanna: One hundred percent yeah, Dan: Well, and looking ahead to 2020 really,
there’s a decent chance, maybe none of the few candidates were pointing that well, at
this point, I think the top two are Biden and Bernie. Joanna: Yeah. Dan: But Warren, I think is still in double
digits. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility
that Democrats nominated a woman and that would be really interesting, right, to sort
of see that… Joanna: The marathoner, they’re calling her
the marathoner. Dan: Really? Joanna: Yeah, because she might have not peaked
too soon, but called it too soon. Dan: Yeah. Joanna: But she’s kind of slow and steady. She’s the turtle in this metaphor, where like
everyone else is the hare. And like she might actually be able to essentially
outlast everyone, because she is such a strong figure who I believe a lot of people can relate
to in a way that they wouldn’t be able to relate to Hillary Clinton. She’s also Methodist, and has been very outspoken
about her faith. And I think that religion is… Dan: That’s characterized a lot of the Democratic
primary, I think people are pretty surprised about that. Joanna: Yes, absolutely. I mean, what? A progressive person that’s religious, like
a lot of people, that’s stumping a lot. And I think that almost everyone that’s announced,
kind of like, bigger names that have announced, have made religion a key part of their announcement,
or made religion a key part of the early parts of their campaign. Cory Booker was in a church, I believe in
his video that announced his candidacy. Kamala Harris mentioned, I think, like one
of the opening sentences when she said, “I announce my run for presidency was with the
grace of God.” She’s an extremely religious woman. Dan: Yeah. Joanna: Warren, I think was in a church just
a few weeks ago in some campaign video. So religion is… Dan: And of course Mayor Pete, right? Joanna: Oh, my gosh. Dan: Who’s gotten the lion’s share of the
attention, I think, on the terms of being religious and a Democrat. But I mean, obviously, a lot of other candidates
are as well. Joanna: In the Midwest. Dan: And it’s a big, I mean, it’s a big contrast,
right? between Trump, right, who, you know, by his
own admission, doesn’t attend very often. And some of these really progressive Democrats
who are making religion sort of front and center about not just what they do, but who
they are. Joanna: But even Pence too, Pence and Buttigieg,
I noticed you used Pete. Dan: Yes, Mayor Pete. Joanna: it is a very difficult name to wrap
like your tongue around. But he is challenging what the public thinks
of when I think of Christianity. And me, that’s a good thing, thinking about
one topic and believing that if you don’t follow this or do this, you don’t fit within
that very specific framework, you know, Christianity, like there’s a reason why theology exists. You can read the Bible and holy books in a
variety of different ways. And he’s kind of offering a new way for people
to view that side of religion. It’s not as if this is something new. It’s just something that’s kind of coming
out of the woodwork in these interesting ways. Dan: And it’s, I don’t think it’s any coincidence
that he’s young, right? He’s like, 37, 38. Joanna: Yeah. Dan: And we’re seeing a kind of generational
divide even in the poll, right? We have that question where we asked folks
if they wanted to keep sort of the traditional beliefs of their church or domination, whether
they wanted to adjust them or adapt totally new ones. And even among some of the most conservative
traditions, you’re seeing the younger folks saying, “Well, we’d actually be open to revisiting
some of these these ideas, around particularly human sexuality.” Joanna: Yeah, it was adjust or adapt, right? So it’s kind of like those three choices,
preserve the current teachings, adjust them to fit kind of newer ideas, and then adapt
completely new ones. And I believe within white evangelicals is
two-thirds, preserve, preserve, preserve, all they wanted to do was preserve those teachings. And then within main lines, I believe it was
still a plurality that said preserve, but still a large chunk either said adjust or
adapt. And we’re seeing this with kind of things
that are going on with the UMC right now. Dan: Yeah. But again, among younger, evangelicals. Joanna: Yeah. Dan: Which we didn’t breakout in this poll,
but the Pew Research Center did in the study they did. And there’s a huge age divide, where younger
evangelicals are much less likely to say, “We need to preserve.” And you’re seeing this a little bit in the
Mormon church as well, where younger folks are really pressing to revisit some of the
teachings around homosexuality. Joanna: Yeah, but what’s interesting is they’re
only around LGBT issues. Dan: Yeah. Joanna: You know, I mean, like, I feel like
immigration is also one of the larger issues and so is healthcare, access to healthcare. Dan: It’s the biggest. Joanna: Yes, exactly. And like, you could apply teachings about
caring for the poor, or caring for the other to those. But we’re not necessarily seeing that as strongly
as we’re seeing it for LGBT issues and issues kind of surrounding that community, which
I think is kind of interesting. I guess we did see with kind of immigration. Dan: Yeah, I mean… Joanna: The kind of the family separation
policies. Dan: One of the things that I think is striking
in Mayor Pete’s, his approach is trying to sort of own these spaces that are particularly
conservative, these ideas right, about freedom, right? And when he talks about his marriage, it’s
about, “I had the freedom to marry the person I loved.” And freedom and faith, right? These are things again, typically we think
about conservatives, Republicans, when we think of those ideas, And he’s sort of trying
to reclaim that for the Democrats. And we’ll see if he’s successful, but it is
kind of an interesting debate that we’re gonna have. And again, someone like that would be a really
interesting foil to Donald Trump. And, you know, how would a debate like that
even work where we’re talking about religious and character, and moral values. Again, something that, you know, 10 years,
15 years ago, it would be weird coming out of a Democrats’ mouth. Joanna: That’s so interesting imagining a
debate between Buttigieg and Trump. I don’t even know how that would go. He would start citing passages in the Bible
and Trump would not know what to do. And then what… Dan: Two Corinthians. Joanna: Right, Two Corinthians. And then what would white evangelical Protestants,
how would they react to that? Do you know what I mean? Like, the… Dan: Their politics, I think would rule the
day. There’s, you know, that question about do
people, when they evaluate Trump, you know, look at their Bible and look at how consistent
it is with some of the Bible verses? And that’s not how people really come to these
kind of decisions. So it’s really more about like, you know,
does he wave the red flag, does he wave the blue flag if I’m a Democrat. And I think that for some of this stuff is
like, top of mind. Joanna: Did you see my piece about most people
thought it was inappropriate that Trump signed Bibles? Dan: No. Interesting. Joanna: Most people including majorities of
Republicans and including majorities, I think we just broke up Christians, thought it was
inappropriate. And we were specific to say, the cover of
the Bible, which is different than signing an inscription, kind of on the first page,
which I know is very common, especially within Southern culture, is you give someone a Bible,
you graduated, here’s your Bible, you know, congratulations. But he signed the cover, which is a little
bit more rare. Most people… Dan: Yeah, but they still like him and they’re
still gonna vote for him. Joanna: Yeah, they still like him and they’re
still going to vote for him. I’m not sure what he could do within this
community, to lose favor with them. I honestly don’t know. Dan: I mean, well, according to Jerry Falwell,
Jr., President of Liberty University, nothing. Joanna: Oh, gosh, yes. Dan: So I mean, I think there’s a lot of that,
right, where evangelical leaders are, you know, in this current environment where they
think they’re getting their butts kicked, culturally, you know, whether it’s marijuana
legalization, or same sex marriage being legal, you know, changing attitudes on premarital
sex. There’s this view that, you know, particularly
the youths… Joanna: The youths. Dan: …are moving away from where they are. And so I think, you know, because they’re
sort of feeling that kind of pressure in the sort of cultural environment, they are, like,
much more open to that stuff. Joanna: So that makes me wonder, because I
know that we’ve talked about this before, about gauging identification within evangelical
communities. And correct me if I’m wrong, I believe that
there’s not a shedding of the evangelical label, but fewer people, maybe there are fewer
young people are identifying as evangelical, but are still evangelical. Is that right? Or is that like… Dan: There’s been a lot of talk about sort
of the reclamation of the Christian label and people sort of shedding evangelical identity
because it’s become sort of synonymous with the kind of support that Trump gets from the
evangelical Christian community, I should say, the white evangelical community. But I haven’t seen it anywhere in the data. I mean, white evangelical Protestants in terms
of their numbers are pretty similar year over year, we’re seeing a modest downtick, but
overall, I don’t think there’s a lot of support for that. Joanna: Interesting. Dan: All right, well, I think we’ve pretty
much covered it. We solved all these problems. You figured everything else at this point. Joanna: For now, yes, until next time. Dan: All right. Well, hopefully we’ll to have you back again
soon. Joanna: Yep. Dan: All right. Joanna: Awesome. Dan: Hey, everyone. That’s end of our discussion with Joanna Piacenza
from Morning Consult. Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed what you saw, remember to like
the video or leave us a comment and be sure to check out the rest of our videos and research
from the AEI.

22 comments

  1. Props to these commentators on being emotionally un-biased on these topics. However, I believe they are still unaware of the over-arching reasons why traditional value/Americans are voting for people like Trump. It has little to do with him being a male. It has more to do with voting for a person who is able and willing to FIGHT for traditional values and uphold the constitution, which means liberty, true freedom of speech, religious freedom, gun rights, and smaller government.

    Trump has fought for these important topics:
    – pro-life
    – gun rights (individual responsibility)
    – traditional family (man & woman family)
    – smaller government (trusting individual freedom)
    – freedom of speech (less politically correct police on hate speech)
    – controlled borders (preserving Patriotic/American values)
    – less government spending (letting the market control the economy)

  2. I think it's because they have one perceived common factor with Trump. They don't see Trump as the Elite. They see him a fellow human stuck on the outside of deep state. I think it's that one factor that matters most.

  3. Here’s a shocker for you: evangelicals would have voted for a Democrat if the candidate shared their moral values. True Americans are not concerned with politics, gender, or skin color. They are concerned with freedom and individual sovereignty.

  4. Evangelicals-Fundamentalists live in a sealed, Us vs. Them, bubble. For Evangelicals, there are two Donald Trumps. There is the one who does not really exist and he lived and did crooked business, was a serial liar and serial adulterer, was president of Trump "university" before the campaign and then there is the Donald Trump created by Trump's description of himself, the stable genius, the financial wizard who has the Midas touch, who loves America…(but hates POWs because they're losers)….the Donald Trump who is helping Evangelicals create chaos in the Middle East so that Jesus can come back a little sooner, the Trump who's sent by God to punish the Liberals for not being Evangelicals and who is going to take back the country from the "invaders", ie., those any and all American citizens who are not White, Protestant Evangelicals-Fundamentalists.
    For the rest of the country, there is only one Donald Trump and he is the scammer president of Trump "university" who stole $41 million dollars from students who trusted him, who believed in him. Believing in Trump is called TDS….Trusted Donnie Syndrome

  5. Who he presented himself as? Wrong. The media told lie after lie about Donald J Trump. Christians are not stupid sheep. Many of us can tell lies when we hear it. During the 2016 campaign we heard a lot of lies about Trump. Over the past three years we've heard even more lies about Trump. Luckily we have eyes and can see for ourselves what a good man he really is. God blessed Trump.

  6. I wish people would stop using hetero-normative, as if being heterosexual isn't the statistical norm (what at least the 65% closest to the mean are/do). The entire LGBTQ+ community is less than 4% of the population. They are outliers. That's just reality. Does that mean that non-heterosexuals are not human or worthy of dignity and equal right? Of course not. They should be able to live their lives, like anyone else. But pretending that they are a part of the "norm" when it comes to sexual orientation is ridiculous.

  7. According to traditional White, Protestant Evangelical-Fundamentalist beliefs, their religion, their understanding of Christianity immunized them against being deceived. Other Christians, like Liberal Christians and Catholics could be and were deceived but White, Protestant Evangelical-Fundamentalist were not and indeed could not be deceived…as long as they continued to be Protestant Evangelical-Fundamentalists. Any urgings or tendencies to abandon Protestant Evangelical-Fundamentalism were seen as/experienced as temptations sent by the Devil himself. 
    So….how ironic and fitting it is that a serial liar, a serial adulterer, a convicted fraudster and man who openly, brazenly claims to never have needed forgiveness has been Mulliganized to become their religious hero and messenger from God.

  8. Evangelicals are not Christians. Saying you're a Christian does not make you a Christian. A Christian is one who follows Jesus. Jesus never got involved in politics or socials issues. The Romans were evil but Jesus never remonstrated against them but instead preached repentance because He knew that sin was at the heart of all evils in the world. He never got in bed with them or encouraged them to pass laws that would force people to do His will. Evangelicals are doing basically what the Roman Church did during the dark ages, using the state to carry out its degrees. A Christian never uses force, but rather appeals to the conscience to do what is right. Evangelicals are what the Bible refers to as the daughters of the great whore in Revelation 17. Now that the protestant reformation is "over" they are no longer protestants, but part of the family of Rome.

  9. Two non-evangelicals discussing why evangelicals vote in a particular way. It have been better if the interview had at least one evangelical to help explain why evangelicals vote the way they do.

  10. Amazing how hypocritical evangelicals are willing to be—shouldn't have been a surprise I guess

  11. Many people forget that it wasn't about endorsing Trump but preventing Hillary/the Dems.

    If you have 2 unoptimal choices you choose the lesser of 2 evils, virtue signalling to own Trump is ridiculous.

  12. Absolutely horrible product here. “White evangelical women” hated Hillary because she was “strong.” Yeah, just like they hate Margaret Thatcher, women in ministry on tv, Joni Ernst, Marsha Blackburn and other strong, pro-life woman. This guest is pathetic and AEI is not what it once was.

  13. She is a Buddhism adherant, hardly someone who would understand evangelicals, or why they like Trump VS ANY democratic alternative, almost all of which are for abortion on demand, ignore, even praise the illegality/immorality of the Clintons, before they were in office and during their respective public "self service" to primarily benefit themselves.
    Eugene F Douglass, MS, MDiv, PhD

  14. If you would stop with your arrogant assumptions that everyone should think like you, you would realize the truth, that HRC is a deceitful elitist and fake individual, and Trump is honest, open, brilliant and loves our country….you would understand clearly why Trump won against all odds and why he will win again. I along with most Christians will never vote for a sad person who is for abortion…. open your eyes….you sound so amazingly ignorant and YOU Miss, are part of the problem.

  15. This is very interesting but I still can't wrap my head around why people who say they are "God fearing Christians" would put their faith in such an amoral man. I suspect they are motivated by racism, misogyny, and some of the more hateful parts of religious fervor that make it OK to detest and punish others who are perceived as different.

  16. The White Evangelical Christian is a made up religion,
    faith, practice, and God; they are full of s*** at every level; an abomination
    of God's word. They seek and practice, money, power, idolatry, deviances, indifference,
    they pick and choose what is in their rewritten bible to follow in order to uplift
    their supremacist views so to spit on all creation which shares this planet…this
    is the history of their kind (exploitation).

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