“Trump is toast.”
So proclaimed National Review’s Andrew McCarthy after the most shocking Republican Party flop since, oh, 1948, which was followed by the least shocking Republican event imaginable, Donald Trump’s Tuesday announcement of a third run for president.
McCarthy joins a significant lineup of conservative pundits and media in blaming the GOP’s embarrassment on Trump and his demands for 2020 election denial with resulting candidate picks. Democrats took the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area by 12.8%, for goodness sake. The former federal prosecutor contends that Trump has not only surrendered his 2024 chances but is certain to face federal indictment.
Well, no matter what such elite conservatives suppose, Trump retains a massive grassroots following. However, the first post-election poll of Republicans and Republican leaners, from YouGov, put Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as the 2024 front-runner with 42% to Trump’s 35%. A month earlier YouGov gave Trump 45% vs. DeSantis’s 35%. A poll of Texas Republicans was similar.
An intriguing Wall Street Journal package recently offered scholars’ speculations on what Russia will look like in the long term whenever Vladimir Putin’s reign ends. The media could borrow the idea to explore what the American religion landscape might look like when Donald Trump no longer rules the Republicans, whether that’s in the primaries or Election Day 2024, or Inauguration Day 2029.
If you grab the theme, also run this one past your sources: Has this secularized, former Mainline Protestant and onetime “reality” TV personality had more impact on American religion than any member of the clergy during these years?
Other assorted post-election musings.
As GetReligion often observes, Catholics are the swing vote to watch, since white evangelicals are locked into lopsided Republican loyalty (this long before the Trump years). The networks’ Edison Research exit poll showed white “born-again or evangelical” voters went 83% Republican for the U.S. House. No Catholic data were broken out, but here’s one prominent Catholic conservative’s pre-election scenario.
What we need now — talking to you, Pew Research Center — is a religiously savvy poll with a large enough sample to reliably break out white evangelicals, non-evangelical Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics and the growing non-religious and anti-religious population.
Who wants Trump 2024? Biden 2024?
Most important, what factors drive those opinions? Do they vary by whether church attendance is weekly, occasional or non-existent? Edison Research also reported that voters who never attend worship, so vital to the Democrats’ coalition, backed the party by 66% while the GOP won the identical majority among weekly attenders. That’s a news story.
(This turf is also capably surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute, whose President Robert P. Jones is known for writing “The End of White Christian America.” But Pew has a fuller track record and better chances to overcome conservatives’ reluctance on poll participation.)
To state the obvious: Pro-life religionists and politicians need to thoroughly rethink tactics now that the Supreme Court has returned abortion decision-making back to Congress and the states. The question that GetReligion has been asking: Who are the politicos in each party who are willing to discuss “purple” state compromises on this issue? Will the Democrats, in particular, listen to Democrats who oppose abortion on demand?
Democrats consolidated their grip on Jewish voters at 74%, according to a poll by the liberal J Street. This election produced a new Jewish star, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor-elect Joshua Shapiro, who scored a 14% margin over a Trumpy “Christian nationalist.” Rather like Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew nominated for vice president, Shapiro is no mere ethnic Jew but an openly observant member of Judaism’s left-of-center Conservative branch.
Though Pennsylvania Republican Mehmet Oz lost his bid to be the first ethnic Muslim in the U.S. Senate, this was a big year for Muslim candidates. A record 82 won races, compared with 71 in 2020. In all, 146 Muslims ran for federal, state, local or judicial office, including 51 for state legislative seats in 23 states. Those tallies come from the familiar Council on American-Islamic Relations and younger JET-PAC. The second group “seeks to build a strong American Muslim political infrastructure” (contact Executive Director Mohammed Missouri or 626–538–7221).
In such a narrowly-divided body politic, the Democratic and Republican Parties are increasingly hard left and hard right while myriad Independents and moderates are alienated from both and these voters usually decide who wins elections. What does this say about cultural strategies for churches beset by growing cultural resistance?
More Poli Sci 101. How did pollsters perform?
Obsessives with the time and inclination can see in granular detail companies’ forecasts in RealClearPolitics data. Whether with politics or religion, never forget a poll’s “margin of error,” which the media should underscore and too rarely do. If the M.O,E. in a 2022 poll was plus or minus 3 points, a 51% GOP vs., 49% Democrats poll could mean the actual lead was 54%R or 52%D.
FIRST IMAGE: One of dozens of Donald Trump 2024 flags for sale online.
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