A clip that made me laugh out loud. Not being religious myself, I’ve always grudgingly admired how transparent Trump is in his pandering to evangelicals. He’s so naked in his insincerity that he attains a degree of honesty few other Republican pols match in their own religious pandering. I think back to the “Two Corinthians” episode on the trail in early 2016. It would have taken so little effort for him to get up to speed on the basic trappings of Christian faith, but he’s just never cared enough to carve out the time. He’d rather play his eight hundredth round of golf. Clearly he didn’t even run through the “Two Corinthians” speech with someone beforehand to say, “What’s this ‘II Corinthians’ thing here? How do I pronounce that?”
Having Park Police gas protesters out of Lafayette Park so that he could traipse across the street and wave around a Bible for the cameras is the supreme example. He’s so crude in his religious grandstanding that it’s impossible to conclude that he respects the faith of his Christian supporters in any meaningful way. “What is it these people like? The Bible, right? Let’s go do some photos with a Bible or whatever.”
He doesn’t hide his cynicism. And evangelicals don’t seem to mind. So why should he change?
Here’s a hilarious example. You can imagine how a Republican politician who *is* versed in Christian belief would have framed this attack. It would have started with the fact that Biden and the Democrats are pro-abortion, would have pivoted to the left’s crusade to use antidiscrimination laws to force Christian bakers and florists to cater gay weddings, and would have landed on the double standard practiced by Dem governors in locking down churches over COVID but not anti-racism protests. He can’t be bothered to make the effort. He goes straight to the subtext. “Yeah, anyway, here’s some stuff for the Christians. Biden wants to hurt the Bible, he wants to hurt God too, and also take the guns, all the stuff you people like. All right? Let’s go have lunch.”
It’s Christian conservatism as a second, or maybe even third, language. How would one “hurt” a Bible, exactly, let alone God? What he’s offering here isn’t an argument or even a thought, properly understood. It’s just pairing random threatening verbs with things Christians find sacrosanct, a la mad libs. “Biden wants to [sinister verb] the [sacred figure].” “Biden wants to vandalize the Holy Spirit.” “Biden wants to rape the archangel Gabriel.”
It doesn’t have to make sense. He’s just checking the box. Again, Christians don’t seem to mind.
Team Biden hit back:
Biden campaign: "Joe Biden's faith is at the core of who he is; he's lived it with dignity his entire life, and it's been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship." pic.twitter.com/BnphvelV5p
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 6, 2020
It’s true, Trump’s campaign did use an altered photo of Biden praying in a new ad to try to make him look weak:
Yesterday: Trump releases attack ad that uses photo of Biden praying in church to try to make him look pitiful
Today: Trump says Biden is anti-God pic.twitter.com/fGxRXju9VB
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 6, 2020
Fair point from Times reporter Maggie Haberman: Why is Trump steering the coverage towards Biden’s personal faith, which is a comparatively strong point for the Democrat relative to Trump himself, instead of letting Biden’s latest insult to black voters percolate a bit? It reminds me of what one source told Politico earlier this week when asked about Trump’s strategy:
“What do you mean by strategy?” said a person close to the president when asked about Trump’s recent conduct. “I don’t think Donald Trump wakes up and says, ‘Here’s my strategy. Let me tweet out something.’ I don’t think there’s a political strategy there. He believes the way he interacts and communicates is what got him elected and he’s going to continue to do that.”
He felt like accusing Biden of hurting God today so that’s what he did. The Christians’ll love it. Won’t they?
FWIW, there isn't a whole lot of evidence to suggest Trump's doing worse among white born-again/evangelicals than he did against Clinton. Among all born-again/evangelicals, however, our last CNN poll did have Biden down only 16. The final poll in 2016 had Clinton down 25.
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) August 6, 2020
I’ll leave you with this. Eventually I’ll figure out why GOPers are so confident he’ll thrash Biden in the debates, but it won’t be today.
Then Trump says:
“And the worst is when he’s in, like, Indiana, and he says it’s great to be with the people of Florida and you have palm trees all over the place.” https://t.co/jdHMdSkJEs
— Taylor Popielarz (@TaylorPopielarz) August 6, 2020