Why should evangelicals vote for President Trump? Here are ten ways in which his presidency sustains Western Civilization and follows basic Christian convictions concerning society.
If you’ve kept up with the political discussions amongst evangelicals, then you might think that one-issue voting is the new norm. For many, that one issue is the pro-life issue, and the conclusion is that one must then vote for Donald Trump. But for other evangelicals (call them neo-evangelical, academic elites), the one issue at stake appears to be getting rid of Trump. Whatever one makes of this latter position, I wish to challenge the claim that a vote for Trump just is one-issue voting.
But before I press on to give a fuller picture of the story, let me lay my cards on the table. I am an evangelical in the sense that I affirm the authority of the Biblical books recognized in the Reformed canon. I am also a traditionalist in that I affirm what are often termed traditional views on social issues. I am a conservative in that I affirm that there is something in Western Civilization that is worth preserving because it reflects the good, the true, and the beautiful as commonly accepted historically. I am also an academic who has worked in the university setting, published at the highest level, at the mid-level, and at the popular level. I offer this preface because I realize that what I am about to say is not only unpopular with most academics in the humanities as well as many neo-evangelicals, but it will likely mean my exile from several circles. If that is the case, then so be it. Some things are more important than a popularity contest. This is one of those things.
Why should the evangelical vote for President Trump? Here are ten ways in which his presidency Western Civilization and follows basic Christian convictions concerning society. One could sum up the value that is central to all these issues as heritage (i.e., that which is good, true, and beautiful).
The first and most apparent reason to vote for Donald Trump is his consistent pro-life stance during his time as GOP candidacy leading up to 2016 and his unwavering support for life during his time in office. Let’s look at his record. First, President Trump has appointed originalist Supreme Court Justices who are historically pro-life. Second, he has permitted states to Defund Planned Parenthood of Title X funds. Third, he has stopped having tax dollars fund abortions overseas. Fourth, he has defunded the Pro-Abortion United Nations Population Fund. Fifth, he has required health insurance companies to disclose whether their plans fund abortions. Sixth, he has appointed strong pro-life advocates to important positions in his administration. Seventh, he permitted states to defund Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funds, and he has cut $60 million of tax funds to Planned Parenthood. Eighth, he has canceled taxpayer funds for experimentation on aborted babies. Ninth, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would act against California for violating the Weldon Amendment, which protects organizations from discrimination for not including abortions in their healthcare plans. Tenth, the Trump Administration clarified that abortions are not healthcare rights. Eleventh, Mr. Trump is the first President to speak in person at the March for Life. Twelfth, Mr. Trump signed an executive order protecting infants who are born alive.
Am I missing anything? The wins under the Trump Administration are exceptional. And, for those who preach an ethic of life consonant with the reality that Christ brings life through redemption of all (including embryonic) life, then the president’s efforts have had a galvanizing affect for traditional, conservative, Christians who put a priority on the life of embryos. While the attempt here is not to undermine important discussions about whole-life considerations, whole-life positions are predicated and dependent on the right to life, which is foundational. But, again, this is the most obvious reason to favor Donald Trump’s presidency. And, if you’ve been listening to the recent discussions, then you might think this is really the only reason. Well, think again.
- Appointment of Originalist Supreme Court Justices
Did I mention that Trump has appointed three originalist Supreme Court Justices? And, they have been confirmed! These are not only wins for the pro-life movement, but they are stabilizing wins that keep us close to the constitution—the fundamental law of the land.
- Religious Liberty
As if the wins for the pro-life position are not enough to convince one that religious liberty is protected under Donald Trump, there are additional wins worth noting. You may be familiar with the recent victory of the Little Sisters of the Poor. As the Washington Examiner rightly put it: “Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania was a major victory for freedom of religion and conscience in the United States. It affirms that the Trump administration properly crafted an exemption that allows the Little Sisters, an order of nuns, to carry out its work caring for the elderly poor without being forced to violate the nuns’ consciences.”
- Vaccine Freedom
No matter where you stand on vaccines, the Trump Administration has navigated these waters well. Maybe you are in favor of the vaccine schedule given to us by the CDC. Or, alternatively, maybe you are an anti-vaxxer. Or, possibly, you are somewhere in the middle (i.e., as a hesitator, a non-vaxxer, or a scaled-down vaxxer). President Trump’s stance on vaccines may have been ambiguous on some of the particulars, but what is clear is that he has not pushed vaccines on the American people. For those who hold moderate to anti-vaxxer positions, this is good. But, I am sure that even that those who affirm the CDC schedule without reservation can appreciate the fact that freedom is at stake with administrations that might mandate vaccines in the future. That said, Mr. Trump has consistently taken a very reasonable stance, especially as it concerns the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine. Instead of pushing the vaccine, he has made it available along with other treatments (i.e., therapeutics) that are available. This is left up to the conscience of individuals to make a rational determination about the best way forward for their families. The president has promoted both as options. This is not only very sane, but it is a relief to those who are weary of government control of healthcare.
- The Economy
Prior to the shutdowns, the economy experienced significant economic growth. While Mr. Trump’s economic successes have been thwarted by the unprecedented shutdowns, the economy is surprisingly seeing a rather fast turnaround.
- Middle East Success
Has anyone noticed that we have heard very little about the Middle East during 2020? Maybe that is actually a good thing. While we’re consumed with the pandemic and the riots prompted primarily by Antifa and the Black Lives Matters organizations, little attention was given to the Middle East by the media, and even less so since President Trump forged the recent incredible peace agreement between Israel and several Arab countries.
- Foreign Policy
Remember when Candidate Trump said to Governor Jeb Bush: “Your brother ruined Iraq.” Unlike previous Democratic and Republican Presidents who took hawkish stances on foreign policy and believed America ought to be policeman of the world, President Trump (albeit inconsistently) has assumed an isolationist foreign policy. Mr. Trump took on the ‘establishment’ of both Republicans and Democrats by cutting the gordian knot on the Palestinian issue and overthrowing ISIS as a major force in the Middle East. Oh, and let us not forget the continuing withdrawal from a 20-year war in Afghanistan.
- Closed Borders
Related to his foreign policy is President Trump’s immigration policy. His successes in closing the borders, especially from Mexico, are significant. It is no wonder that nearly 100% of Border Patrol Agents support him. And part of this has to do with his building a superior border wall. Whatever the media is telling the American people about the Mexican border, it is clear from those on the front lines that Mr. Trump has done more for border control than previous presidents. For those who care about lowering drug activity across the border, controlling sex trafficking, President Trump’s actions (while not enough) have enhanced border security more than previous presidents. Now that I am living near the border of Mexico, I can personally attest to his success here.
By establishing law and order at our borders (in Mexico and elsewhere) and bolstering his belief in a merit-based entry system, the president continues to demonstrate a commitment to American interests rather than foreign interests or the interests of global elites.
If the above are insufficient reasons for convincing evangelicals to support President Trump in this election, then it bears repeating that he has explicitly repudiated globalist ideology on numerous fronts (e.g., healthcare, economy, trade, tariffs etc), and has repeatedly committed himself to America-first values. Mr. Trump’s progress on these matters is even more credit-worthy in light of barriers placed by the opposition.
In his commitment to Making America Great Again, Mr. Trump reflects, as Heather Mac Donald has put it, a kind of “positive masculinity” that is “rational and unbowed.” Ms. Mac Donald here was referring the president’s statement upon his leaving the hospital after treatment for the coronavirus about the need for Americans to live their lives without being afraid of COVID-19. But her point reflects a larger truth about President Trump, who demonstrates a masculinity in defiance of the global elites, the technocrats, and the demagoguery of the Democratic party. In academic circles, there is a similar mounting pressure to accept positions and practices that will harm society. The masculine response is not to accede, but, like Donald Trump, to stand against the forces which would have us capitulate.
Mr. Trump stands firmly committed to what good ol’ American conservatives once believed, but which they had lost the the stamina to uphold. He deserves a second term.
Editor’s Note: Please note that the views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the The Imaginative Conservative, its publisher, or its editors. The Imaginative Conservative and its sponsor, the Free Enterprise Institute, do not endorse any candidates for political office.
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 I am certainly not suggesting that one-issue voting is objectionable. All the issues are not on equal footing, and the pro-life position (as it presumes a traditional sexual ethic) is very likely the most important issue of our time.
 “How the Trump administration wins on life and religious liberty,” Department of Health and Human Services [accessed on October 19, 2020].
 There are many examples of Trump’s reasonable approach. For one discussion, see “For Trump, Covid-19 therapeutics are the new vaccines,” Stat [accessed on October 19, 2020]. It is also very likely the COVID-19 vaccine will be out soon, but the Trump Administration has, it seemed, received little to no credit for it.
 “Despite Widespread Pain, Economy Remains Strong Selling Point For Trump,” NPR; “The startling news about Trump’s economy that mainstream media ignored: Andy Puzder,” Fox Business [accessed on October 21, 2020].
 For a non-conservative take, see “Trump’s Foreign-Policy Adventures Haven’t All Flopped,” Foreign Policy [accessed on October 19, 2020]. Do not forget that NAFTA underwent a renegotiation. Mr. Trump also placed tariffs on China.
 “Brandon Judd: Safety vs. lawlessness – here’s why law enforcement supports Trump,” FoxNews [accessed on October 20, 2020]. Brandon Judd points out that it is not simply Border Patrol, but nearly all of law enforcement that is supporting the Trump Administration.
 “President Trump: ‘We Have Rejected Globalism and Embraced Patriotism‘,” The White House [accessed on October 21, 2020].
The featured image shows President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence, attending a dinner in celebration of evangelical leadership Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in the State Dining Room of the White House. This official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen is in the public domain and appears here courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.