Columns Election Government & Politics Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Why religion won’t help the Republicans in the midterms

Pastors from the Las Vegas area pray with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a visit to the International Church of Las Vegas, and International Christian Academy, on Oct. 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Not since the religious right burst onto the national political scene four decades ago has an American president done more to cultivate its good will than Donald Trump. Let us count the ways.

  • He assembled a Who’s Who of evangelical activists as his religious advisors.
  • He pledged to do away with the Johnson Amendment barring religious organizations (and other non-profits) from engaging in partisan politics.
  • He said he would restrict Muslims from entering the United States and issued executive orders doing just that.
  • He has attached himself closely to Israel’s right-wing government and moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
  • He has rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to cover contraceptive services for women.
  • He promised to pick Supreme Court justices who would do away with Roe v. Wade, and has chosen two nominees who many think will do that.
  • He has reversed the Obama Administration’s requirement that those who object to receiving social services from faith-based providers be given secular alternatives.
  • He has signed on to a “religious liberty” agenda making it easier to obtain exemptions from laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
  • He has embraced Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose hostility to Islam and opposition to gay rights have endeared him to leading social conservatives.

There’s no question that these positions have locked in Trump’s support among white evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the electorate. Eighty percent voted for him, and his favorability rating with them remains in that neighborhood.

What about the rest of the GOP’s religious base? Will it be on board for the coming midterm elections, which are shaping up as a referendum on Trump and his policies?

Orthodox Jews no doubt will be. In stark contrast to their Conservative and Reform co-religionists, they vote Republican, and Trump’s pro-Israel posture has only made them more enthusiastic about doing so. Indeed, at 71 percent, the Orthodox are Trump’s most loyal religious supporters after evangelicals.

Mormons are a trickier case. A year after his inauguration, 61 percent gave Trump a favorable rating. This was the same percentage who voted for him—well below their usual level of support for Republican presidential candidates. Trump’s decidedly un-Mormon personal style rubs them the wrong way, and there is serious opposition to his immigration policy in a church with longstanding and increasingly strong ties to Latin America. Whether the mixed feelings will rub off on Republicans running for lesser offices in November is an open question.

The American Catholic community, increasingly Latino, is more opposed to Trump’s immigration policies, to such an extent that this has weakened the hierarchy’s support for the anti-abortion party. White Catholics, who chose Trump over Clinton 56 percent to 37 percent, are now evenly divided in viewing him favorably. As for white mainline Protestants, who also voted for him by a significant margin, they appear to be less enamored as well. There’s no question that the religious left, though much smaller than the religious right, has been roused to action by Trump policies in a way not seen since the Vietnam war.

A critical quantitative measure of the role of religion in our electoral politics is the behavior of voters who, regardless of affiliation, say they attend religious services at least once a week. In most elections from 2000 through 2014, these voters chose Republican presidential and congressional candidates over Democrats by margins of roughly 20 percentage points. In 2016 this “God Gap” narrowed to 14 points. Why?

From 2012 to 2016, the percentage of women voting for the Republican candidate dropped by three points and the percentage of men voting for the Democrat dropped by four. Because women tend to be more religious than men, the likely explanation for the smaller God Gap is that Trump lost ground among frequent-attending women while gaining ground among less frequent-attending men. For on issues where there’s a gender divide—like gun control, climate change, and immigration—the GOP position pushes women away and draws men in.

According to a Quinnipiac poll taken at the end of last year, women support stricter gun laws 69 percent to 26 percent, as compared to men, who are divided 47 percent to 47 percent. In March, Pew reported that 54 percent of women were “concerned believers” in global warming, as opposed to just 42 percent of men. Last month, a Harvard/Harris poll showed women considerably more likely than men to blame the Trump Administration for separating children and parents at the border, 64-36 versus 57-43.

Come November, the growing salience of these issues may well widen the overall partisan gender gap and thus shrink the God Gap further.

Finally, any assessment of the role of religion in the midterms must take into account the growing portion of the U.S. population that has opted out of religion: those who answer “none” when asked “what is your religion, if any,” and those who say the never attend religious services. In 2016, the “Nones” voted for Clinton over Trump 67 percent to 25 percent and the “Nevers,” 62-30. Call the latter the “Godless Gap.”

In 2006, when the Democrats recaptured both houses of Congress from the Republicans, the Nevers were 15 percent of the voting population; in 2016, they were 22 percent. In 2006, self-described weekly attenders were 45 percent of the voting population; in 2016, they were 33 percent. By these numbers, there’s a blue wave coming.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

79 Comments

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  • The issue is always people voting. When half thew electorate stays home, Trump, Reagan, and shrub are the results.

  • Trump evangelicals are the greatest marketing tool Satan ever imagined. Gandhi had to be thinking of them when he noted: Jesus is wonderful and ideal. But you Christians, you are not like him.

  • So-called Christians who continue to support Trump debase both themselves and the religion they profess to follow, which is why Christianity is shrinking at a faster rate than ever. Sure, the internet and other factors have contributed to that phenomenon, but the rank hypocrisy that has been exposed by Christian support of Trump has been the straw that broke the camel’s back for people, especially young people, trying to decide whether or not Christianity is for them.

    Jesus’ first arrival on earth happened at a time when Judaism had become so legalistic that Jesus had to explain to Jews that “The Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath.” Now that Christianity has been turned on its head it’s time for Jesus to return and set things right once again. Of course, when he said, dying on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they not what they do,” we humans had an excuse. In the wake of Jesus’ Incarnation that excuse no longer applies. Now we do know what we’re doing and we’re doing it anyway – or at least, some of us are.

  • I wish Silk was right, but I don’t think he is. Too many will still support him ruining this country because they think he will bring the “religious freedom” to discriminate against LGBT people and impose their own faith on any who work for them. They think he will end legal abortions, something that well over half the people don’t want ended, though they do want it regulated. Many of the evangelicals go along with the NRA on gun rights while majorities of people want regulation and some limits. Most want a compassionate solution with eventual citizenship for the DACA kids – dont’ know if evangelicals care about this. Or climate change. Or increasing wealth concentration. Or increasing violence directed to Blacks, Jews, Muslims.

    One of the problems is single issue voters. The TeaPubs have put together a coalition of extremists who support their own particular or a very limited number of issues. They don’t look beyond those issues at all the other very real problems.

    Most important, folks. If you are a citizen, vote. Vote in primaries. Vote in general elections. Vote in referendums.

  • I don’t think Silk is right either.

    But my reason is that religion has not played an important part in any election since the 1960 presidential election, despite the fact that talking heads think otherwise.

    The entire alleged evangelical vote for Trump, for example, is a fabrication out of nothing.

  • Separating a politician’s religious values from his or her policy positions was always more a tack of Democrats than Republicans. The GOP traditionally were the ones who made a big deal about a candidate’s moral fiber and professed Christianity.

    Not any more. With the election of Trump Republicans have essentially conceded that personal character doesn’t matter in politics. All that matters is political expediency.

    I actually agree with that and if it means we’re moving toward a saner time when politicians will no longer be able to hoodwink voters with photo ops in churches, I’m all for it. But the Republicans may end up ruing the day they gave up that particular chip.

  • These kind of polls are interesting, but they don’t say much about who will actually get out and vote. How strong is the cultural paranoia and resentment of Trump loyalists? How concerned are other voters that President Trump is a psychopathic liar? It is the answers to questions like these that will determine victory in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

  • I felt that the Trump vote was an anti-establishment vote. For Evangelical Christians, they have felt like the bastard step children or unwanted country cousin. Mainline churches felt they were rude, crude, uncivilized, lacked appropriate “decorum”! So a vote for Trump for Evangelicals was a vote against mainline Christianity.

    The red-neck white supremacist also voted against the establishment by supporting Trump. They love to see the chaos and disorganization of the administration and the frustration of the establishment that expect people in “polite society” to behave in certain ways (with decorum)!

    Then there are some Republicans perhaps we can simply call them old-school conservatives who also voted against the establishment, in this case the leadership of the Republican party. I think they are the ones that are getting a bit uncomfortable with what they have done as they see how it is beginning to hurt them–loss of health insurance, tariffs on crops and goods and raw materials that threaten their businesses etc.

    They all came together for an un-holy coalition..We will see how the coalition sticks together in a few months.

  • In an ordinary, fact-driven universe what you say is true. But we no longer live in that universe – that is the real chip Republicans have given up. But true to form, Republicans won’t rue the day they gave up the “holier-than-thou” chip. They have become such bald face liars and hypocrites that they’ll go right on castigating Democrats for their various sins while granting “Mulligans” to Republicans in abundance, along with a huge slice of “God forgives all sins,” except of course to Democrats, who will always be guilty, no matter what. And the Republican base, fueled by the lying liars at Fox, will go right along and accept every word as gospel truth.

  • I used to think that this nation was good at heart, despite the roughly 25-30% that has always been there to represent the dark underbelly of the American electorate. But after 2016 that assessment went right out the window, along with a belief that pollsters know what they’re talking about. Now, I think anything is possible and I no longer believe any poll because people LIE!

  • I suspect 2018 and 2020 will be a wake up call to younger voters who stayed out of 2016 due to apathy. I may be wrong.

  • The red-neck white supremacist also voted against the establishment by supporting Trump. They love to see the chaos and disorganization of the administration and the frustration of the establishment that expect people in “polite society” to behave in certain ways.

    That’s the same way spoiled brats behave when they throw temper tantrums – destroy the entire room because Mommy won’t give me a cookie.

  • Christians don’t want anyone else to have the same civil rights as they do. They need someone to persecute to make themselves feel better about their own inadequacies, and they’ve chosen LGBTQ+ people because Russia said so.

  • With each passing election, the bases of the two parties become that much more entrenched. You’re right that hardcore Republicans will probably have an unending supply of Mulligans for their candidates. So too, I expect, will hardcore Democrats. But that won’t matter much.

    What will matter is the vast number of swing voters who identify as independents. Their numbers are growing and they’re becoming less impressed every election cycle by manifestations of religiosity in politics. The hypocrisy of evangelicals who’ve insisted on Trump’s religious bona fides (against the mountain of evidence to the contrary) can only accelerate this.

  • You’re right that hardcore Republicans will probably have an unending supply of Mulligans for their candidates. So too, I expect, will hardcore Democrats

    True enough, but not for the same reasons. Your comment was about people who place themselves on a moral high horse in order to condemn their political enemies but then turn around and spare their allies for the same offences. Democrats don’t do that because Democrats haven’t positioned themselves for the past four decades as the “moral” party the way Republicans have, so there is no equivalence, yet you presented it as such.

    Those precious, wishy-washy “independents” you extol who can’t seem to tell the difference between the political parties may well be the ones who will decide the next election, but I’ve given up trying to woo them. Like the Republicans with whom they aligned themselves in 2016, they seem to be more driven by emotion than fact. I have neither the patience nor the stamina to cajole them into seeing the light of day. So by all means go for it. God knows, someone has to – it just won’t be me.

  • I think that the red-neck white supremacists voted for Trump because he said all of the things that they wanted to hear. I think that they see him as giving them permission to be openly racist. I mean, if one
    is a white supremacist, why would one not vote for the man who calls Mexicans rapists, who, back in 2015 called for a complete exclusion of Muslims from the US< who has made numerous disparaging remarks
    against African Americans, etc, etc, etc (here is a link to a NYT piece about that:
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/15/opinion/leonhardt-trump-racist.html)?

    I don't think the vote had anything at all to do with the "establishment". It had to do with them finding someone who spoke their language.

    Only 36% of eligible voters cast a vote in the presidential election.

  • I agree with you, Elagabalus. While it’s true that both parties have many rich white men, anyone who does not see any difference between the two parties is not looking.

  • I implied no moral equivalency between Democrats and Republicans, nor am I bound to the ideology of either. I only observe what I believe to be true, agree or not.

  • I see plenty of differences between the two parties, but there are similarities too. The main one is that both have become tribal. Another is that they both make excuses for their own. I see nothing to be gained from denying that.

  • But parties are tribal by nature. And the parties will always make excuses for their own when it’s perceived to give the party some advantage.
    Sometimes, people think that a party is making excuses when it’s explanations; at other times it’s excuses.

    We vote for individuals, not for parties. Sometimes the choices are good; other times they’re not. I maintain the philosophy that when neither candidate is good, it’s necessary to vote for the least bad one. In all of the years that I have been voting (it’s been since I was 21, because 18-yr-old voting came in later), there’s never been a case where I have not considered one candidate better, or at least less bad than the other.

  • Many Americans have noticed that Christianity in America has largely come to stand for ignorance and hate. Most want nothing to do with such toxic attitudes. It’s a shame, but the few remaining good Christians don’t seem to be having much of an impact on the damage being done to their brand.

  • The language Trump speaks is NOT the language the establishment speaks. Trump is everything the establishment dislikes, a spoiled brat, crude, rude, in your face, a bully, doesn’t know how to behave in “polite” society, a braggart, over the top gauche display of wealth, etc. etc. In Trump they found a kindred spirit, one who is also rejected by the establishment.

  • What I see happening is that both the Republicans and Democrats are pushing more and more to the extremes. (I am a political independent not at home in either party.). Moreover, the old “liberal” and “conservative” labels have been replaced labels that are much more worrisome– “progressive” and “populist.” Progressives want to use the government to implement policies that run roughshod over those with whom they disagree. Populists simply want to implode the system in a way that it unleashes destruction on the body politic. As the D and R parties push further and further toward the progressive and populist extremes, my hope is that enough space emerges so that a large centrist movement emerges and gains traction our political life. This has happened before, especially in the antebellum United States. The original Republican party was a third party that emerged when the Whig party imploded (Abraham Lincoln was orginally a Whig member of Congress) and when the Democratic party fragmented and an extremist faction dominated the South (and eventually led the charge for succession). Today, we face huge problems as a society–an unending Middle East War, a Federal Debt that because of the three presidents since Bill Clinton has exploded and is now going up by nearly a trillion dollars per year, contested understandings of the very freedoms enshrined in the first amendment, an all-or-nothing debate over immigration, and our unwillingness to confront the realities of the African American experience in the United States over the past 250 years. Frankly, the rule of law is breaking down in America 2018 and we are probably headed for some kind of progressive or populist authoritarianism, in which case Trump is simply the first of several bad presidents from both parties that we will see in the next 25 years (much like the period from Andrew Jackson to James Buchanan). You see this all around if you read the comments page of sites like this. We’re too angry to listen anymore. Either we find our way out (and politically, I think we need multiple parties that reflect the nuances of the electorate), or we face a bleak future where freedom and liberty is replaced by something that will fracture our way of life.

  • The “religious” folks who support Trump are deluded. Trump has no interest in protecting real religious liberty. He wants to seriously limit women’s rights of conscience and religious liberty on abortion. He wants (and that’s why he named DeVos as Ed Sec) to destroy and privatize the public schools that serve 90% of our kids by having government compel all taxpayers to support church-run private schools through vouchers or tax credits, which would fragment our school population along religious, ideological, ethnic, social class, and other lines. Trump has no respect for our country’s constitutional heritage of protecting religious liberty through church-state separation. And those are just a few of his many defects. – Edd Doerr

  • Anyone in favor of taking the failed John Dewey-inspired socialist enterprise called “public schools” and respecting our country’s constitutional heritage of parental rights doesn’t deserve our ire.

  • I guess that it all depends on how one defines “the establishment”. Trump has money, power and influence. Although many people may dislike him, he is quite comfortable in circles of extreme wealth and power. He IS part of the establishment. If the establishment had truly rejected him, he would have never won the Republican nomination for president.

  • Bob’s ignorance goes very deep. He seems unaware that public schools began in the US in mid 17th century Massachusetts, that they really got their boost in the early 19th century with Horace Mann, that our public schools are not a “socialist” institution but over 13,500 local school districts responsible to locally elected school boards, that 70% of people polled over the last 40 years have given an A or B to the school attended by their oldest child (the figure would be higher if we supported our schools more adequately and equitably, and if we did not have poverty rates higher than any country in western Europe). Bob’s attack n our public schools is just an echo of what we have been getting from Trump, Pence, DeVos, and the GOP goobers who follow their line.

  • Edd’s ignorance goes very deep. He seems unaware that public schools that began in the US in mid 17th century Massachusetts taught the Protestant religion, Bible lessons, and anti-Catholicism and that this continued in some places into the 20th century, that the over 13,500 local school boards, operate under a thicket of union contracts, Federal court orders, pressure groups, and state laws which reduce their choices down in many cases to little more than what color to paint the hallways.

    As an AFL-CIO/NEA supporter and card-carrying anti-Catholic he disregards the rights of parents:

    “It is the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life.” – Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923)

    “The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause has a substantive component that ‘provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests,’ Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 720, including parents’ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, see, e. g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645, 651. Pp.63-66.”

    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/530/57/

    because he knows that public schools are a gravy train for his beloved unions and a powerful tool for beggaring parents to deprive them of school choice.

  • What union hating Bob does not grasp is that states with strong teacher unions (MA, MD, NJ, etc) have the best schools; that even with unions teachers earn only about 60% of what comparably educated professionals earn; that the average teacher puts in nearly $500 per year from her or his own pocket to help students pay for school supplies and even clothes; Madison and the other Founders passed the First Amendment to protect all citizens’ right not to be forced by government to support religious institutions; that Bob seems to have overlooked a long series of SCOTUS rulings from 1879 to the late 20th century upholding our constitutional wall of separation of church and state. Why does Bob hate public schools and religious liberty so much?

  • It isn’t the establishment that elected Trump! AND the establishment certainly weren’t behind his bid for the presidency at the start! Listen to what many old time Republicans have said about him. Take a look at the number of old time Republicans that decided to leave office.

    Trump was never accepted in the social circles he wanted to and thought he belonged in. He has been rejected by the old time money landed gentry folk, the highest echelons of society (tolerated occasionally because they were too polite or perhaps needed his money and influence/connections). Trump was/is the perfect anti-establishment candidate and president.

  • Strong teachers’ unions means it costs $100,000 or more to fire one, even if she or he is an abuser, so school systems pass them on.

    Why does Edd hate parental rights and religious schools so much?

    Well, he’s a union guy and a card-carrying member of the Americans for the Separation of Church and State, whose zany take on the First Amendment bears essentially no resemblance at all to how the courts interpret it.

  • I respect the right of all taxpayers not to be forced to support religious institutions which puts me in line with Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and the guys who approved the First Amendment and Jefferson’s great addition to the Virginia constitution. Bob has chosen to follow those who hate public schools and religious liberty — the Falwells and their ilk.

  • I respect the constitutional right of every parent to choose the school to educate their child, free of the socialist Prussian education system giving the job of moral education to teachers and bureaucrats.

    I respect the right of every American to her or his hard-earned money to choose that education, and the prying of government mitts off money which does not belong to it in the first place.

    That puts me in line with Madison, Jefferson, and Franklin.

    As Jefferson wrote in defense of parental rights: “it is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation [removal] and education of the infant against the will of the father.”

  • Ah yes, Gandhi’s famous little anti-Christian ditty.

    Of course, every time you see a news headline about India’s git-em-young gang-rape culture, be sure you hat-tip Mr. Gandhi for green-lighting it.

  • Well, I’m pretty concerned with the usual democrat turnout machine. I’ve heard it reported that there are a number of trains coming from Central America and Mexico that have newly minted voters on them.

  • Parents are quite free to send their kids to private schools. But the essence of the thinking of Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and the other founders is that it is wrong for government to compel all taxpayers to help support church-run private schools. US voters in 28 state referenda over the last 50 years have agreed by 2 to 1.

  • Don’t worry. I’m sure the Russian dollars and propaganda, combined with an obscene level of gerrymandering, will win out, eh?

  • Except that Gandhi never actually said it. It has been misattributed to him ever since the 1920s.

  • Horse sh*t. I’m waiting for black people to figure out that gang-rape is wrong. You’d think it’d be obvious.

  • No, it is not the essence of the thinking of Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and the other founders is that it is wrong for government to compel all taxpayers to help support church-run private schools.

    It is the essence of YOUR thinking.

    The current trend is against you, against the NEA, and against the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and its odd take on the First Amendment.

    It is, however, against the thinking of the Founders that the government elbow its way into education, tax so heavily that parents of ordinary means are effectively blocked from school choice, allow national teacher’s unions to dominate public education, adopt a Prussian education model proposed by Horace Mann, made worse by the psychological theories of John Dewey, require teachers to be trained in schools espousing and incorporating those theories, in a socialist enterprise that is more appropriate to the former Soviet Union.

    Jefferson, Madison, Franklin would not approve.

  • Just as the tide goes in and out, a conservative government is likely to be replaced with a more liberal one and vice versa.

  • What do you mean it’s time? Hasn’t the Donald already made it as great as possible, just by being the most unbelievable president the world has ever dreamed of, far beyond anything we ever dreamed possible?

  • HA!! Too true my friend; too true.
    It is only going to get better!
    Strong economy
    Strong military
    Out of Paris deal
    Peace with NK (I hope)
    Two constitutionalists to the SCUS (I hope)
    Tax cuts for all
    Keystone pipeline
    Unemployment at all time lows
    Etc, etc.

  • Strong economy, indeed! Why he’s so great, he made it actually get stronger from the very day he was elected, even before he set foot in the White House or had any authority to do anything, and all those silly experts would say that is downright impossible! All his measly predecessors had to actually be in office to have an impact on the economy. But not Donald! You know a sincere person, speaking his mind when you see one, right?

  • Ha! You obviously know nothing about economics, finance or market behavior.
    I’ll keep it simple. If you want to trade thoughts; I’m all for it.
    Obama’s economic policies were not very favorable to business. Increased regulation, the implementation of the “affordable” care act, tax increases and his intent to move to green energy solutions crippled the psyche of the American business.
    The US went into recession, the market fell and GDP growth of 1% became the new normal.
    Trump, whether you love him or hate him is pro- business. On top of that he’s pro-American business. Small business owners such as the local supermarket, machine shop, gas station, law office employ the bulk of the people in the US and suffered the greatest during the previous administration. When they saw trump reduce regulation and taxes and just talk about being pro-us business; business owners felt that they could open up the pocket books and spend money.
    It’s simple economics. Nothing personal.

  • Obama’s Green energy efforts hurt the psyche of business and that’s how he is the one who caused a recession that began months before the election that put him in office? Hilarious. Tell us some more of your jokes, o great economics guru.

  • Hey genius- what were Obama’s unemployment, stock market and GDP numbers for his 8 years? Oh yeah, how many jobs list? How many people went from full-time to part-time? What happened to interest rates? Quantitative easing anyone?
    Go back to your XBox.

  • You are wrong, as usual. In 1787 Congress in the Northwest Ordinance required states to set aside land for public schools. Altho public schools started in MA in the mid 17th century, they really took off with Horace Mann. Dewey was not a main figure as states and local communities built and ran public schools. The feds got into education and only marginally in the 1960s. Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and most of the Founders considered it deeply wrong that government should force anyone to support religious institutions. As a Catholic school grad I am well aware that the vast majority of private schools are religious institutions. Please read what Madison, Jefferson and Franklin really wrote.

  • Where was the economy and all those indicators in December 2007?
    Got your degree from Trump U? Or your alternate reality from Fox News?
    Some of us actually remember recent history.

  • Who cares. The fact is his policies did nothing to improve; and made worse pretty much many economic numbers and indicators over the 8 years of his administration.

  • Only in Bizarro World where up is down and black is white. What color is the sky in your world? I’m done. You don’t accurately reflect facts and seem disconnected from reality. There is no point talking to you.

  • “The GOP traditionally were the ones who made a bigger deal about a candidate’s moral fiber and professed Christianity…..With the election of Trump Republicans have essentially conceded that personal character doesn’t matter in politics.”

    How did Trump qualify from a suitability standpoint to become a partisan political candidate? It would be interesting to know how Trump was rated OK by the GOP and/or Uncle Sam to run for, and be elected to, the highest office in the land.

  • Well, he technically qualifies because he’s a natural born citizen and he’s over 35. Those are the only constitutional requirements.

    Trump’s nomination is a case study in what’s wrong with the primary system for nominating presidential candidates. Letting the people choose the nominee sounds like a wonderful thing. But, unfortunately, the people sometimes make very big mistakes.

  • Unless mistaken, I vaguely recall it is the FBI that does the background investigation and turns its results over to the party leadership. From this point, I gather, it is pure politics. It would be interesting to have access to the records.

  • To be more specific, a review in The Times (London) of E. Stanley Jones’ 1925 book “Christ of the Indian Road” misattributed the quote to Gandhi, but Jones’ book actually attributed it to Dwijendranath Tagore, the older brother of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

  • You are wrong, as usual.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Ordinance_of_1785

    “The Land Ordinance of 1785, adopted May 20, 1785 by the Continental Congress, set the stage for an organized and community-based westward expansion in the United States in the years after the American Revolution. Under the 1785 act, section 16 of each township was set aside for school purposes, and as such was often called the school section. Section 36 was also subsequently added as a school section in western states. The various states and counties ignored, altered or amended this provision in their own ways, but the general intended effect was a guarantee that local schools would have an income and that the community schoolhouses would be centrally located for all children. An example of land allotments made specifically for higher education is Ohio’s College Township.”

    These “section 16″s were often ignored, the land sold to finance other purposes of the government, or otherwise repurposed since education is – under the 10th amendment – left to the states or the people to regulate as they saw fit.

    Horace Mann Mann devised the system established in Massachusetts after reading an English translation of French philosopher Victor Cousin’s work “Report on the State of Public Education in Prussia.” In 1843, Mann traveled to Prussia to investigate how the educational process worked. Upon his return to the United States, he lobbied heavily to have the “Prussian model” adopted.

    Prussia, you will recall, was the center of German militarism, a Deutschland version of Sparta, whose aggressiveness, militarism and conservatism – especially of the Junker class of landed aristocrats in the East who dominated first Prussia and then the German Empire, led Germany into a series of increasingly destructive wars until Germany was crushed in WWII.

    Dewey, a psychologist, was the proponent of “teachers college”, so that the indoctrination program that Mann advocated could be more clearly begun with the teachers. His theories became dominant in those colleges in the early 20th century, permeating teachers who trained in them and thus the schools they worked in.

    Please read what Madison, Jefferson and Franklin really wrote.

    This socialist mess is NOT what they had in mind.

  • No point talking to you. If you are as smart as you say, and honest, you would not be comparing one average of 8 years beginning with a severe recession handed to him by his predecessor with 18 months that continues a recovery trend that already started long before he began. You have an ideological bent and will not represent the facts in good faith. You are a waste of time.

  • Rape is a tool of war in those cases. Impregnate the women so they can have YOUR children. In that case, it makes sense although not to those of us with first world problems. Bible said to kiil all except the young virgin girls in several places.

    “The Congo war saw thousands of gang rapes every week, with each relief center reporting 10 or more daily victims of gang rape with battering of women.[115][116] The Rwandan genocide of 1994 witnessed numerous gang rapes by soldiers.[117] Bosnia war during the 1990s saw a similar campaign of gang rapes.” I notice you ignore the non black gang rapes (wiki search) during conflicts. Syria, Pakistan, Russia and Australia also are there for gang rapes.

    The central park 5 were found to be innocent after Trump put in a full page add for them to be killed. But, we know he is racist from the first time he was in the New York Times.

  • I absolutely agree!! I have to admit, I misunderstood your previous comment. I looked at your comment history and you won me over with “Nazi scum”. Have a great night.

  • 3 has-been buffoons

    Giuliani
    Gingrich
    Huckabee

    falling all over themselves to kick the fat behind of the Traitor-in-chief.

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