Patterico's Pontifications

6/22/2020

Interlude

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

–Dana

Trump All But Admits He Ordered the Slowing of Coronavirus Testing to Lower Number of Reported Cases

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:35 pm



I mean, he did admit it at the Tulsa rally.

But we were told that was a joke.

So he was asked about it this morning. He refused to answer the question. But the way he refused to answer was a screaming admission that it was true.

I’m not going to quote from it. It’s not the pull quote that shows he did it. It’s his demeanor, his complaints about testing; the whole thing. Skip to :42 if you must but you should really watch it all.

There is no question he gave the order. None. He gave it. The only question is whether the people surrounding him followed it.

This is evil. I think it’s the single worst thing he has done as President.

He must be voted out.

Can Biden Peel Away Evangelical Trump Supporters?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:59 am



[guest post by Dana]

It’s been a bit of a mystery to me how white evangelicals supported Trump (not just voted for him as the lesser of two evils, but actually wholly embraced him). But everything changes, and the more we have seen of Trump’s true character, and the novelty of the reality TV president has worn off, it’s quite possible that the president is in danger of Biden peeling away some of his evangelical base:

Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has performed better in recent polling among white evangelicals — and other religious groups — than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and is widely perceived as more religious than the current White House occupant. A Pew Research study conducted earlier this year showed that a majority of U.S. adults (63 percent) think Trump is “not at all” or “not too religious,” versus 55 percent who said they believed Biden is somewhat or very religious.

Many conservative evangelical leaders have argued that Biden’s positions on cultural issues — like abortion, judges and religious freedom — are disqualifying. Still, anxiety is growing inside Trump’s orbit about the former vice president’s ability to peel off Christian voters who supported Trump in 2016, including the 81 percent of white evangelicals he carried, according to eight administration officials, White House allies and people involved with the Trump campaign.

Such an outcome could deal a fatal blow to the president’s reelection, which largely hinges on expanding his support among religious voters to compensate for enthusiasm gaps elsewhere.

“Here’s the problem for Trump: He needs to be at 81 percent or north to win reelection. Any slippage and he doesn’t get a second term, and that’s where Joe Biden comes into play,” said David Brody, chief political analyst at the Christian Broadcasting Network. “In this environment, with everything from the coronavirus to George Floyd and Trump calling himself the ‘law-and-order president,’ Biden could potentially pick off a percent or 2 from that 81 percent number.”

This reminds me of David French’s observations about white evangelicals and the so-called “binary choice”:

When C.S. Lewis said “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of very virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality,” he was speaking an important truth. We may think we possess an array of virtues and beliefs, but we don’t really know who we are or what we believe until those virtues and beliefs are put to the test. There is many a man who goes to war thinking himself brave, until the bullets fly. There is many a man who thinks himself faithful to his wife, until the flirtation starts.

There were many men who thought character counted, until a commitment to character contained a real political cost. But that’s the obvious point. I’ve made it countless times before today. White Evangelicals, however, have shrugged it off. “Binary choice,” they say. “Lesser of two evils,” they say—even though those concepts appeared nowhere in the grand moral announcements of the past.

Many millions of Trump-supporting white Evangelicals no longer care about character (though a surprising number are still remarkably unaware of his flaws). That much is clear. But the story now grows darker still. As they’ve abandoned political character tests, they’re also rejecting any meaningful concern for presidential competence.

White Evangelicals, one of the most politically powerful religious movements in the entire world, should not use their power to maintain and ultimately renew the authority of one of the most malignant and incompetent politicians ever to hold national office. They shouldn’t, but they will.

Maybe they will, but there appears to be a good chance that they won’t. Maybe white evangelicals have seen through the ruse. Maybe this significant part of his base finally understands that, just because Trump holds a Bible up for a photo-op does not mean that it reflects accurately his true character. So rather than judge Trump by the props he employs, there is a chance that white evangelicals will judge his character by what they’ve seen with their own eyes and what they’ve heard with their own ears these past three years. Maybe the group now sees the contradiction between the man revealed, in all of his narcissistic and corrupt glory, and his willingness to use faith as a public relations tool. Maybe French is right, and white evangelicals will still support Trump, or even go for Biden. But there is also a good chance they are going to write in the name of that one individual that they can support with an untroubled mind and clear conscience.

–Dana


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