February 19, 2020
In a February 10 National Review article, Andrew Walker argued there are three categories of religious conservative voters when it comes to supporting President Trump. The first is NeverTrumps, populated by well intentioned, intellectual, and principle-based voters, who couple a dose of spiritual bravado with self-righteous contempt. The second group is Always Trumpers, those who are religiously lukewarm and middle-class, who, although not significantly political, are proud of being Americans and look to the president as the promised disrupter of politics and government as usual. The third group is Reluctant Trumpers, or what I call Moral Trumpers.
Moral Trumpers do not politically idolize the president; they do not see him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan, [Ron: Fair enough. After all he is much more than that, being more like the second comming of George Washington.] but neither do they outright reject him because of his narcissistic personality, sexual escapades, and braggadocio. They view him as an acceptable replacement vote, compared to the Democrat alternative. Yet Walker insists Moral Trumpers are more sophisticated that their detractors give them credit for. Instead of abandoning their Christian virtue, or ignoring common sense, Moral Trumpers think and act more deeply than Trumpian political rhetoric (e.g., "Mexico will pay for the wall").
Moral Trumpers do not necessarily like Trump personally; in fact, many find his personality repulsive. They do not care for his egoistic bantering; they disdain his name-calling and find his abuse of tweeting noxious. Moral Trumpers support and vote for President Trump because the president's endgame is moral: the embodiment of civic and spiritual values, defense of structural and procedural integrity for the republic, and pursuit of community.
First, Moral Trumpers advocate two important sets of values: civic and spiritual. Moral Trumpers know that President Trump pulls back the curtain of policy confusion, silencing his critics with definitive positions, such as reducing illegal immigration on the southern border; establishing free trade deals with China, Mexico, and Canada; and killing known terrorist leaders. Moral Trumpers seek political action but also seek action with a purpose. They believe that President Trump delivers.
Moral Trumpers also demand that policy action evoke spiritual virtues of bygone era. Like the Founding Fathers, Moral Trumpers know that the course of human action lies in the human heart. Fixing roads, tunnels, and bridges contributes to the economic and societal well-being of the nation, but Moral Trumpers know that President Trump's dedication to protecting the unborn from infanticide, stemming the opioid epidemic in rural America, and providing minority children with the opportunity to attend quality alternatives to the nation's failing public school system speaks to the nation's spiritual DNA.
Second, Moral Trumpers express concern for the destructuralization of our federal system of government. Moral Trumpers know that President Trump supports states' and communities' initiatives to address local issues, including everything from addressing the opioid epidemic to combating homelessness, but they also know that he nominates and fights for Supreme Court justices who are originalists, protecting the rule of law, upholding the constitutional principles of a republican democracy.
Moral Trumpers approve President Trump's Hamiltonian use of executive authority, especially when it comes to regulating the economy, and taking a tough stance on tariff and trade deals with foreign nations. However, they support his Jeffersonian appeal to local and state jurisdictional autonomy, fighting back on the divisiveness of sanctuary cities and states.
Third, Moral Trumpers support President Trump's affinity for community. Who would have guessed that a pampered New York billionaire would so attract middle America? As much as his critics loathe him, his base loves his tough talk, nationalistic fervor, and unwavering attention to the middle class and the blue collar. President Trump's populist message, which is on display in his arena-size rallies, depicts his uncensored charisma. While his political enemies cry foul at his Machiavellian ways and means, his enthusiastic followers gravitate to his jokes and taunts of his political opponents.
Moral Trumpers see through the veneer of President Trump's crassness, recognizing that his outreach is political. It is his way of connecting to the largely forgotten mass, what Richard Nixon once labeled the Silent Majority. Where Bernie Sanders and his socialist policies want to sacrifice jobs, wages, and liberty in exchange for higher taxes, bigger government, and trillions more in unfettered debt, stifling any hope for the future, Moral Trumpers recognize the paradoxical genius of President Trump. The loud-mouth billionaire wins the hearts of tens of millions across the political spectrum with a message that is not an obfuscating Hope and Change, but a crystal-clear Make America Great Again.
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