Campaign 2020

Evangelicals, Donald J. Trump, and the Making of the Tribune in Chief

This piece was originally published with the History News Network on April 19, 2020, and can be read in its original format here: https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/175092

To critics of Donald Trump, the only thing more exasperating than the president’s insults, impulsive decisions, and assertions of absolute executive power is witnessing that a steady stream of apparently damning reports has almost no impact on his large band of core supporters. Representative Patricia Schroeder called Ronald Reagan the “Teflon President” because the accusations under his watch about the Iran-Contra and Savings-and-Loan Scandals didn’t stick. Trump’s Teflon shows an upgrade even from Reagan’s resistance to scandal.

Trump owes much of his success to the proliferation of sympathetic news outlets, along with his bold critiques of mainstream media. This explains the messages his supporters receive, but not why they believe them. A closer look at the voters most committed to Trump can shed light on receiving sides of Trump’s Teflon strength. Consider Trump’s appeal to Evangelical voters.

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