Christians in America turned out in record numbers to tilt the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. But, could the ground gained by having the most conservative, pro-American president in modern history in the White House be lost after the 2018 midterms?
That question is keeping Christian polling groups and election analysts awake at night. One group in particular, My Faith Votes, is sounding the alarm that Christian disinterest in the 2018 midterms could be catastrophic in terms of keeping a faith-friendly majority in Congress.
Pollster George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute says there were two faith-based segments of the American voting public that turned out to defeat Hillary Clinton and send Donald Trump to the White House: SAGECons and “notional” Christians.
SAGECons (Barna’s term for Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives) voted 93 percent in favor of Donald Trump. Notional Christians, which make up 43 percent of the electorate, went to Trump 49 to 47 percent over Clinton. Barna says that the votes from those two groups, as part of a record 139-million voter turnout, made all the difference.
Justin Yates of My Faith Votes has crunched the numbers for 2018, based on 2016 turnout and historical trends for midterm elections. Yates estimates that 51 million Christians will not bother to vote in 2018. This is cause for serious concern, because there is a lot at stake in the midterms.
Control of the House and Senate is up for grabs, although many political analysts believe the House is not truly in jeopardy of flipping to the Democrats. There are also 36 governorships, 35 attorney generals, more than 6,000 state legislative seats and more than 300 judgeships on the table. If the Christian community sits out for the 2018 election, it could have wide-ranging consequences.
The faith-based community shocked the world by turning out to support Donald Trump in 2016. As president, Trump has repaid his supporters by upholding or attempting to uphold every campaign promise that he made. President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, who is considered one of the most pro-life of the current justices on the court. After the United Nations “lost” $1.4 billion in relief money that the Obama administration sent to persecuted Christians in Iraq, the Trump administration is looking for alternative methods to provide aid directly to Christian minorities in the Middle East. The Department of Justice is no longer enforcing the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom rules.
Mr. Trump even convinced the congressional GOP leadership, which normally shies away from any faith-based legislation, to support the repeal of the 1954 Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment puts churches at risk of losing their 501(c)3 nonprofit status if pastors or congregations speak positively or negatively about candidates. Although the December effort to repeal the Johnson Amendment failed by a narrow margin in the Senate, it is still on the table for 2018 and could still pass.
All of these accomplishments that favor and respect the church are at risk of being unraveled if Democrats seize both houses of Congress in 2018. The willingness of the Washington, D.C. establishment to continue pursuing the “Russiagate” investigation, in spite of a total lack of evidence that implicates President Trump or anyone in his campaign of “collusion,” shows that compromise with the Democrats has become next to impossible.
Even though they are in the minority and have no hope of success currently, House Democrats have entered four separate bills to impeach President Trump. Another bill, HR 2093, would create a star chamber made up of all former living presidents and vice presidents, and give them the authority to remove President Trump from office on a majority vote. Endless investigations into Russian collusion continue unimpeded, in spite of going nowhere. Vanessa Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and wife of Donald Trump, Jr., was sent to the hospital after a mysterious package was mailed to her home. From impeachment to extrajudicial removal to threats against the president’s family, the Democrats are so incensed by the voters’ rejection of their preferred candidate that there no longer appears to be a line they are unwilling to cross.
Just as we are to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:2), as American Christians we also have a say in those who are granted authority: our vote. President Trump has made great strides his first year in office, but it is a drop in the bucket when compared to the previous 28 years of progressivism that our nation went through. It would be a pity if Christians threw these small but significant gains away by staying home in November.
~ 1776 Christian