With just over four months to go before Election Day, Donald Trump is in a world of trouble. For much of the spring and summer, most polls have shown Joe Biden leading Trump by a margin large enougto prevent Trump from being chosen by the Electoral College even if Biden wins the popular vote.
But in recent days, Trump’s situation has become even more dire. Numerous high-quality polls released over the last three weeks show Trump trailing Joe Biden by anywhere from eight to 12 points. In many of these polls, Trump struggles to get out of the low 40s. In this highly polarized era, such a lead is enough for a decisive Biden victory. Confirming this, FiveThirtyEight’s average gives Biden a healthy lead, with 50.6 percent to Trump’s 41.1 percent.
With such abysmal numbers, it’s not surprising that a lot of Republicans are in panic mode. Some strategists are already fearing a “wipeout” that could not only cost them the White House, but also the Senate. But it’s likely Trump’s numbers would be even lower than that if not for the religious right remaining firmly in his corner.
For the better part of five years, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have insisted that Trump was chosen as president by the only one whose vote really matters. As the story goes, Russia didn’t hack the election for Trump–God did. They believe that Trump’s upset win was nothing short of a miracle, with all indications on Election Night 2016 suggesting that he was going to lose to Hillary Clinton.
Since then, the religious right has used this to bludgeon evangelicals, and to a lesser extent Americans at large, into bowing down to Trump. After all, they argue, shaking your fist at the man chosen by God as president amounts to shaking your fist at the Almighty.
Earlier this week, Trump hinted that he’s at least wondering if there’s something to this drumbeat. On Monday, he sat down CBN News political analyst David Brody for a broad-ranging interview about his relationship with the evangelical community. Considering the welter of bad news Trump had gotten in the polls and about the mushrooming coronavirus crisis, this was a chance for him to essentially preach to the choir.
During the interview, Brody asked Trump if there was anything to the talk that God himself had chosen him for the White House. Watch a clip here.
Brody recalled a number of prominent evangelicals who had spent significant time in the Trump administration, such as former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, believe God chose Trump “for such a time as this.” He’d just now gotten a chance to ask Trump that question.
Trump recalled that HUD Secretary Ben Carson, another administration figure popular with social conservatives, had told him almost the same thing. When Brody asked Trump if he believed he had indeed been chosen by God, Trump’s response was typical.
I almost don’t even want to think about it. Because you know what, all I’m gonna do is, I hope it’s true.
So you’re really hoping that God really did choose you, Mr. Trump? Well, most of the reality-based world is hoping that you and Brody were blowing smoke.
Let’s review what you’d have to believe in order to conclude Trump was chosen by the Almighty himself. You’d have to believe that God himself inspired Vladimir Putin to unleash a horde of bots to spread disinformation among Americans, and a horde of hackers to target Democrats with little regard for the privacy of innocent third parties. Gee, since when did God condone identity theft? And since when did God condone spreading disinformation and fake news?
You’d also have to believe that God did so as part of an effort to intervene on behalf of a man who plastered a private cell phone number on social media, mocked the disabled, condoned violence at his rallies, and reveled in degrading women. Since when does God condone behavior that would never be tolerated from the rest of us?
It says a lot about Sanders, Pompeo, Carson and other Trumpvangelicals that knowing all of this, they still believe Trump was chosen by God. And it says a lot about Trump that he’s even wondering if it’s true.
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