Only when I considered the numbers below did I come to realize just how much a difference evangelicals are making for the candidacy of Donald Trump. Evangelicals!
Here are the results of the February 20, 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary, with the percentage of the vote achieved by each candidate, according to NBC News:
- Donald Trump 33%
- Marco Rubio 23%
- Ted Cruz 22%
- Jeb Bush 8%
- John Kasich 8%
- Ben Carson 7%
Political experts deemed this to be an emphatic win for Trump. How then was he able to achieve it?
The percentage of all voters who identified themselves as “born-again or evangelical Christians” was 72%. Here’s how that large number of evangelicals distributed their votes:
- Donald Trump 33%
- Ted Cruz 27%
- Marco Rubio 22%
- Jeb Bush 7%
- Ben Carson 7%
- John Kasich 5%
Therefore, Trump won 33% of all voters and, within that total, 33% of evangelical voters. Doing the math, this means that his 33% of total voters can be broken down into 24% from evangelicals and 9% from all other voters (for his total of 33%).
What does this tell us about the importance of evangelicals to Trump? Without them, he would have finished in single digits – 9%. That is, instead of finishing first, he would have finished in or near last place. Last place.
Evangelicals are swinging this election for Donald Trump. Moreover, they are not making the difference between Trump finishing either first or second; rather, they are making the difference between Trump finishing first or last. First or last!
In other words, without evangelical support, Trump would not even be in contention for the Republican nomination. He would be hearing the same pleas to get out of the race that Ben Carson is. He would be a mere also-ran.
Therefore, Trump desperately needs evangelicals to succeed in his quest for the presidency. The question is, why do so many evangelicals think they need him? Why do they trust an unprincipled man who is obviously pandering to them? Why are they eager to put into great power a man who has spent most of his adult life lending his support to those who oppose the values of the kingdom of God?
As I said in No Salvation in the Ballot Box, I will vote for the Republican nominee even if it is Trump because, while he might not keep his promise to resist abortion, the Democrats are sure to support abortion with every ounce of power they have. Nonetheless, I cannot help being shocked that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ don’t recognize that Trump is clearly the least desirable Republican candidate from the standpoint of advancing God’s priorities and seeking His blessing for our fellow citizens. The abortion issue is by no means the only issue that matters, but it is the most important issue (because it is a matter of life and death for those involved), and abortion is an issue that illustrates the problems with Trump that affect the other important issues. That is, he doesn’t even demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the issues he talks about; much less does he demonstrate any history of being on the right side of those issues.
Let us not be asleep, church; let us love the Lord our God with all our being, and let us love our neighbors as ourselves. If we cannot find a good person for whom to vote, we vote for the lesser of the evils presented to us. For if we stay home and don’t vote, we risk the chance that we and our fellow citizens will end up under the greater evil. I hope many evangelicals will come to their senses before Tuesday.