The challenge Buttigieg poses to many leaders of the Trump-supporting evangelical world isn’t simply in the realm of public policy; it is in his tone, countenance and the way he carries himself.
Buttigieg does not radiate pent-up grievances, cultural resentments, and bitterness. He’s a person of equanimity, a calming voice in a rancorous political culture. That doesn’t mean he’s right on the stands he’s taking, of course, and those things matter. (More about that later.) But I would say that the splenetic, fear-based approach of many evangelical leaders has created the space and an opening for Buttigieg, who is their temperamental antithesis.
It is one thing for Trump’s Christian supporters to argue that his policy agenda made him preferable to Hillary Clinton. But it is an entirely different matter to never hold Trump accountable. None of Trump’s high-profile evangelical supporters speak out against his cruelty and dehumanizing style, his pathological lying and bullying manner, or his Nietzschean ethic—and in some instances they celebrate it.