Evangelicals were with Trump in 2016, and will be in 2020

Evangelicals were with Trump in 2016, and will be in 2020
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Many evangelical Christians did not support Donald Trump when he initially announced he was running for president in 2015. Why should they have?  He had made a fortune in gambling. He was thrice married, and he was known to use some pretty salty language at times — hardly the model politician the religious right could enthusiastically support.

As it turned out, however, most evangelicals did get behind him in the 2016 election, giving Trump 81 percent of the white evangelical vote — reportedly the highest percentage ever.  Since then, his support from the Christian community has remained largely steady.  When others part company with him over his latest outlandish tweet, the president has discovered that the evangelicals stick with him.  And it’s well documented that loyalty is very important to this president.

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In fact, it seems likely that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE will again garner most of the evangelical vote when the 2020 election rolls around.  Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon made headlines recently when he predicted Trump will receive 400 electoral votes in 2020 — a boast that no longer seems so unreasonable.  Even some of the Never Trumpers who howled loudest about Trump’s tactics in the 2016 election are coming around: They can see that the president is, slowly but surely, making good on his promises.

How and why evangelicals made the migration to Trump was the main reason I began following the campaign.  There was an untold story that needed to be on the record.  Many leaders in the faith community would have supported any candidate but Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE, who promised to accelerate the lurch toward globalism the country had been on since midway through the Bush years.  Hillary dismissed conservatives as a “basket of deplorables” during the campaign and advocated policies the faith community could never support.

Donald Trump did the opposite. Even before he ran, Trump reached out to evangelicals, and he surrounded himself with Christian leaders such as James Robison, Cleveland pastor Darrell Scott, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Robert Jeffress, and others.  And equally important, he kept his promise to appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice.  He has championed religious liberty in the face of LGBT activists who want not only to silence but to punish anyone who, for religious purposes, does not back their radical redefinition of marriage.

Even though Trump had often said he was not interested in running for public office, his demeanor began changing about 10 years ago.  He cleaned up his act and became more serious about his public persona and he began showing greater interest in religious faith.  He was watching televangelists such as Paula White Cain and Dr. David Jeremiah.  He met with a group of pastors at Trump Tower to pray about whether or not he should run in 2012.  These leaders would eventually become some of his earliest supporters when he decided to enter the race in 2015.  These were also the core of what is now called the President’s Faith Advisory Council.

It is apparent that men and women in the heartland believe Donald Trump has their back.  The president is proving by his words and actions that he is concerned about religious liberty, protecting life, empowering the strongest economy in decades, enacting tax reforms, and making progress in health care reform by repealing the ObamaCare individual mandate, with language written into the recent Senate tax bill at the President's urging.

In 2016, voters in both parties felt the nation was headed in the wrong direction.  They believed a dramatic change was needed, but there was more to it than that.  As he has done throughout history, God raised up an imperfect man to stop the downward spiral and renew the hope of the millions who felt they had no other choice.

The national news media are still scratching their heads, asking how the outrageous New Yorker could have pulled off such a victory, but the men and women who showed up for Trump on election day have no such questions.  They believe Donald Trump is shifting the paradigm in a new and better direction.  Some have called it a second American Revolution, and who’s to say it isn’t?  

Christian voters have discovered their voice. They believe they can change the future course of the country. They were key players in Trump’s first revolutionary victory, and it’s more than likely they’ll have a say in the second one as well.

Stephen E. Strang is founder and CEO of Charisma Media, founder of “Charisma” magazine, and author of the new book, “God and Donald Trump.”