Thursday, January 11, 2024

Donald Trump’s savior complex

 The religious right has become less pious and more political. It has been Trumpified

by Freddy Gray, The Spectator, January 11, 2024 -Donald Trump has dominated Republican politics for so long that it can be hard to remember the time when he did not. It’s easy to forget that at the beginning of 2016 he started the Republican primary process by losing the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, his more conservative rival.

“He stole it,” Trump tweeted afterwards, graceful as ever in defeat. “The State of Iowa should disqualify Ted Cruz from the most recent election on the basis that he cheated — a total fraud!” ... Skip forward to 2024 and Trump is still grumbling about stolen elections. ...  

Trump may have grown in power but he’s essentially the same ego-crazed maniac that he was eight years ago. What is changing is the soul of conservative America. The religious right, which dominated conservatism from the 1960s to the end of the George W. Bush era, has become less pious and more political. It has been Trumpified.

Eight years ago in Iowa, the powerful white evangelical lobby had just enough clout to hand victory to Cruz, a Southern Baptist who would urge his supporters to “Awaken the body of Christ that we may pull back from the abyss.” Back then, most evangelical leaders were disturbed by Trump — an adulterous braggart, a casino magnate who claimed to love the Bible but couldn’t cite a single verse. It turned out, however, that their flocks cared less about morality and more about Trump’s thrilling ability to offend the wicked liberal left.

In 2016 and 2020, Trump won more than three-quarters of the white evangelical vote. Stranger still, the Pew Research Center found that, from 2016 to 2020, voters with “warm feelings toward Trump” were far more likely to “begin identifying as born-again or evangelical Christians.” In other words, white people, rather than voting for Trump because they are Christian, have started to declare themselves Christian because they support Trump. ... 

... That’s why so many online Trump memes show him as a messianic figure fighting against the satanic Democrats. Trump himself enjoys playing with these notions. He amplifies the biblical proportions of his tribulations at the hand of the deep state and he has made “retribution” the theme of his 2024 campaign. On Sunday, he posted on his Truth Social account a picture of himself with the caption “One of God’s finest warriors.” On Friday, he shared a “God Made Trump” video in which a gravelly-voiced narrator declares him to be “a shepherd to mankind who won’t ever leave or forsake them.”

... On October 2, as one of his New York cases dragged on, Trump reposted another absurd picture on Truth Social of himself sitting next to Jesus Christ in the dock. Journalists and pundits scoffed at his messianic delusions. Surely America cannot vote for this blasphemous moron again! But as we approach another potentially cataclysmic presidential election in America, as Trump faces trial after trial and somehow survives, tens of millions of spiritually minded voters — not all of them lifelong Republicans — will be thinking: maybe God is on his side. (read it all)

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