Green: You talk a lot about the bitterness that motivates evangelicals in the realm of politics. Where does that come from?
Howe: It comes from a reasonably understandable place. If people feel that their motives are impugned, if they feel they’re not bad people but are being told they are—being told they’re racist or misogynist—it can foster a mentality of victimhood.
In the minds of a lot of conservatives, the left exists to impugn their motives, and the Republican Party regularly lied to them and said they would defend them and then didn’t. And that was the establishment. Trump became their hero, because he hated the establishment, and he beat up on the media, and he was fighting back against all these forces. The more he fights, the more they feel justified, like, He’s our hero because we needed someone to do this for us.
Trump’s appeal is not judges. It’s not policies. It’s that he’s a shit-talker and a fighter and tells it like it is. That’s what they like. They love the meanest parts of him.