I apologize for such a long time between posts. I promise to eventually finish the series on Trump’s election. But Trump HAS been elected, and taken office, and last week he issued a series of Executive Orders. Through these orders, Trump has restricted travel to and from 7 predominantly Muslim countries, and (at least temporarily) cut off settlement of refugees in the United States.
In the discussion that has arisen about these orders, both online and in person, I’ve made two claims without being able to back them up. The first is that the Old Testament contains 36 different passages requiring us to treat the stranger with kindness. The second is that no other topic is addressed so often in the Old Testament. I’ve been asked by a number of people to document my claim … which has required me to try to figure out where the claim comes from!
In my last post, I looked at the impact of religion on the 2016 election for President of the United States. From the standpoint of religion, one fact stood out: Donald Trump owed his election “victory” (a victory in the Electoral College, but not the popular vote) to support from white Christians. The vote of every other polled religious group in America went overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton. For that matter, the vote of white non-Christians also went overwhelmingly to Clinton.
But, why did this happen? How did Trump manage to get enough votes (fewer popular votes than Clinton, but more votes in the Electoral College) to win the 2016 election, when support from white Christians was not enough to secure the 2008 Presidential election for McCain, or the 2012 Presidential election for Romney?
Let’s start by once again dismissing the dominant narrative, that Clinton’s supposed embrace of racial and ethnic “identity politics” turned off so many white voters that Trump was able to win. Again … the dominant narrative runs smack up against the available data. Romney won the white vote in the 2012 Presidential election by 20%. Trump won the white vote in the 2016 election by a nearly identical 21%. The difference between these two margins is not statistically significant; it is well within any polling margin of error. If you want to explain Trump’s improvement over Romney’s performance on the basis of race, you might point to Clinton’s victory margin among Black voters (80%, compared to Obama’s 87% in 2012) or Hispanic voters (36%, compared to Obama’s 44% in 2012). A better narrative to explain 2016 is that Clinton could not replicate Obama’s success among minority voters.