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“Trump Appeals to Christian Conservatives with Apocalyptic Rhetoric and Promises to Combat Anti-Christian Bias”

Donald Trump has long been known for his salesmanship, and he has successfully applied his skills to selling himself as a protector against the world’s evils. Whether it be Democrats, President Biden, the media, or communists, Trump portrays them as threats to American traditions and values, painting each action as a step towards an impending apocalypse. This apocalyptic rhetoric resonates particularly strongly with religious audiences, especially right-wing evangelical Protestants, who view the struggle between good and evil as crucial to their beliefs. When speaking to Christian conservatives, Trump’s warnings of imminent doom carry extra weight, particularly when he focuses on the perceived threat to Christianity itself.

In a recent speech to Christian conservatives, Trump employed his familiar doomsdayism. He claimed that certain groups had unleashed foreign jihadists to praise Hamas in American streets while slandering law-abiding citizens as domestic terrorists. He also alleged that legislation existed allowing newborn babies to be killed in an extension of abortion rights and vowed to take back the education system from communists and those advocating “transgender insanity.” However, his central pitch revolved around the need for Christians to rally behind him and his candidacy. He expressed incredulity at how any Christian could vote for a Democrat and pledged to create a federal task force to combat anti-Christian bias in America, investigating all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment, and persecution against Christians.

The decline of religiosity in America is not a new phenomenon. As early as 1976, Tom Wolfe wrote about young people drifting away from faith, with this trend extending beyond just the left and encompassing various demographic groups. While overall Christian identification has declined across political affiliations, Trump was targeting a specific subset of American Christians – conservative Christians, particularly white evangelical Christians. In both his presidential campaigns, Trump enjoyed overwhelming support from evangelicals. Polling data shows a strong correlation between the percentage of white Christians in a county and Trump’s margin of support.

The decline in religious participation is a concern for religious leaders, particularly on the right. Republicans are more likely to believe that Christians face discrimination compared to other groups, such as Muslims or Black people. However, this perception is rooted more in cultural anxieties than religious concerns. Conservative Christians rally around Trump because he promises to combat broader social change that allows for the expression of non-conservative-Christian sentiments and values. Trump’s rhetoric taps into the insecurity and sense of embattlement felt by these conservative Christians.

Ironically, Trump’s rhetoric may contribute to Republicans’ improved standing with Black Americans. Gallup data suggests that younger Black Americans are less likely to regularly attend church services, and those who don’t attend church are less likely to align with the Democratic Party. The erosion of religious community and regular church attendance correlates with a weakening of partisan loyalty among Black voters. Trump, however, remains focused on his sales pitch, catering to an audience that feels a loss of cultural power and assuring them that he will protect their interests.

Ultimately, Trump’s ability to sell himself as a defender against cultural change has proven successful in the past. If atheists constituted a significant portion of the electorate and responded positively to his rhetoric, there is no doubt that Trump would tailor his speeches to appeal to them as well. As long as there is an audience that feels threatened and in need of protection, Trump’s salesmanship will continue to resonate.


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