The Trump Enigma

The Pollsters

Time magazine for 21 November was a unique edition about Donald Trump. In it polling analyst, Frank Luntz, writes this:

"It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? President-elect Donald J Trump. A campaign that began with him blithely riding down an escalator ends with him boldly ascending to the highest office in the land. Polls missed it. Pundits dismissed it. Prognosticators blew it. For decades, millions upon millions of Americans have felt looked down upon and left behind. They were as mad as hell. On Nov. 8, they declared in unison: Enough … But it wasn't just the polls that were off. Never has the political class/industry/elite so misread the electorate and so misunderstood American priorities. The echo chamber of journalists, politicians and corporate leaders and the international community kept reassuring itself that there was no way 'a man like him' could win, even in times like these. The American people decided differently. They did it the British Brexit way, using this election as a vessel to vent their anger against All Things Big."

So what particularly had the polls missed?

The Media

"The media is rigged" was a chant of Trump on the election trail. 'Bias' is probably the right word for why the media missed so much - simple bias from many mainstream journalists, who are secular conformists and so, while intelligent, quite ignorant of the Christian faith. In the UK it is probably even worse than in the US. We have now such a secular Government-controlled broadcast media. A relevant and classic example of bias sticks in my mind. It occurred on the night of President Obama's first election. The BBC journalist on the BBC live coverage, when Obama seemed to be in the lead, exclaimed excitedly, "We're winning". So much for the BBC's impartiality! The journalist was Justin Webb, then the North American Editor for BBC News (he now is a mainstay of the BBC4's Today programme).

Such partiality then means key embarrassing facts regarding favoured candidates are ignored. For example, in the last Trump broadcast debate with Hillary Clinton, two things were not cited as significant in the immediate 'news' reaction. One was the gruesome issue of partial-birth abortion, with Clinton saying she was in favour, while Trump was totally against. It was a substantive exchange with Trump saying, if elected, he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court who could change the abortion law. Then, secondly, there was no mention of the exchange regarding the 'wall along the Mexican border'. Trump alleged that Clinton was also in favour of such a wall. Nor did she deny it, but tried to wriggle out of the accusation. I subsequently discovered that in 2006, as a senator from New York, Clinton had voted for the Secure Fence Act authorizing 700 miles of fence for one third of the border which is now in place. Also subsequently I saw a BBC programme on the border. It featured a journalist accompanied by a local Hispanic lady, showing some of the unprotected areas where the local lady never dared go and where armed police roaming in cars have to face gun-battles with violent drug runners. It seemed from the programme that proper entry points were needed. I discovered Clinton had also 'wriggled' in January 2016 saying,

"I voted for border security and some of it was a fence. I don't think we ever called it a wall."

81 Percent of Evangelicals Voted for Trump

But the question remains, how do you explain the election result? It certainly has something to do with why 81 percent of Evangelicals, a huge proportion, voted for Trump. For at the end of the 20th century so many Evangelical Christians had formed the 'moral majority'. These were those who stood politically for 'family values' and sexual morality. But "how," asked the Evangelical theologian, Albert Mohler, "could 'family values voters' support a man who had, among other things, stated openly that no man's wife was safe with him in a room? A casino titan who posed for the cover of Playboy magazine? A man who boasted that he did not repent of his (well-documented) sins and would not?" The answer Mohler gave was, two words, "Hillary Clinton." So if Trump was bad, she must have been reckoned as very bad by many. But why? The answer is her moral views and decisions.

Mainstream secular journalists, in such as Time, The New York Times, The Times and on the BBC failed, and fail, to realize the great significance of the Evangelical and not least the Pentecostal vote (Pentecostals often being black rather than white). Because of his racist remarks, many black Pentecostals, unlike their white Christian brothers and sisters, would have been unable to 'hold their noses' and vote for Trump. But this time, for moral reasons, they would not have voted democrat as before, because of Clinton's, to the Christian, globally shocking policies. So they would not have voted or voted for another candidate, thus providing one reason for her loss of the black vote. Let me explain.

Righteous Anger

Apart from abortion, there were and are Clinton's views and actions over so called LGBT rights – 'gay' rights. And the mainstream media have, without reason, made this a primary value. So journalists fail to see how angry Christians in the West now are with anti-Christian, secular Governments enforcing on Christians these rights which they strongly believe to be 'wrongs'; and so called 'gay marriage' is seen, at the civilization level, as particularly corrupting and pernicious. But in the run-up to the election in the United States, the imposition by President Obama of 'transgender rights' for many (and not just Christians) was a bridge too far. Obama's enforcing schools to allow boys to sleep in girls' rooms on away trips and to use their toilets and showers if they claim to want to be girls (and vice versa) is seen as trumping Trump for sexual abuse – his being adult, this being child, sex-abuse. No wonder North Carolina voted Republican and for Trump. The State had defied Obama's imposition and then had been punished with all sorts of sanctions and threats.

But Hillary Clinton has been a prime-mover in this decadence. Exactly five years ago, on 6 December 2011, these headlines appeared in The New York Times, "US to Aid gay rights abroad Obama and Clinton say." Hillary Clinton was then Secretary of State and so the chief promoter. The article went on:

"The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the United States would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world."

As a trustee of AID (Anglican International Development) I have been involved in the setting up of a progamme of training desperately needed South Sudanese health workers. Because of the current sad political and dangerous situation in the South Sudan the programme has had to be transferred to, and hosted in, the Mengo Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. When two summers ago, Dr Rose Mutumba, the Hospital Medical Director, came to Jesmond with the Programme Director to report to me, as chairman of AID, I discovered the following: Dr Rose was having to lay-off half the staff in her 60 strong Aids clinic in the Mengo hospital, where 75% of the funding was from USAID; and she would have money only to last until Christmas. The reason? The funding was being withdrawn following an invasion by USAID workers with clipboards, going round her staff asking their views on homosexual relationships. We thank God that on visiting the hospital last May, I learnt that as a result of strong action by angry US Christians, the money somehow came back via another route. But who do you think those US Christians voted for on Nov. 8?

Conclusion

The answer probably is some stayed at home; some, like one American pastor I know, voted for another candidate; but the 81 percent, probably were voting for what they judged the morally least worse. But what should we do in the UK? Of course, pray at least that Mr. Trump keeps his good promises better than he kept his promises to two women called 'Mrs. Trump'. Finally, we should note these words from one American Christian on this election:

"It's more of a reaction than a renewal … Ordinary citizens are complicit in all of the appetites and short-sightedness of liberal consumer democracy. Voters have merely tapped the brakes. The direction of the car hasn't changed. Conversion – real conversion of heart and behaviour – was not on this year's ballot … One of two deeply flawed candidates is now the president-elect. It is a good moment to remember that we're Christians first and political animals second. Our task now is to support the good in Mr. Trump's policies and to resist the bad" (Francis Maier).

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