Must-read: McKay Coppins: “The Gospel According to Trump”

Must-Read: McKay Coppins: The Gospel According to Trump: “Trump’s religious posturing is not about theology… [but] about branding…

…dated… by design… rooted in a gnawing nostalgia and economic anxiety that grips much of the country’s white working class. Mr. Trump’s target demographic is not America’s most devout, but its most anxious and aggrieved, and what he’s selling isn’t salvation, but a bygone era of plentiful factory jobs, robust pension funds and safe, monochromatic suburbs dotted with little white churches that everyone in town attended on Sundays…. Mr. Trump is stoking a tribal hostility toward those who worship differently, one that hucksters have seized on throughout history to infect and co-opt America’s faith communities. It is the same visceral force that animated the witch trials in Salem and set fire to the crosses in front of black churches….

Even before he became a candidate, Mr. Trump seemed skeptical that a new era of ecumenical progress might be seeping into American politics. When I interviewed him in 2014, he argued vigorously–despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary–that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because many Christian voters were put off by his alien faith. Eventually, I had to to interrupt him. ‘I’m actually Mormon,’ I said. He raised his eyebrows. ‘You are?’ He promptly recalibrated, telling me about a Jewish friend (‘great guy, rich guy’) who had moved to Utah and fallen in love with the local creedal breed. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘people don’t understand the Mormon thing. I do. I get it. They are great people!’ But alas, not everyone was so enlightened as Trump. ‘There was a religious undercurrent there,’ he told me, then hastened to add, ‘unfortunately.’

January 18, 2016


Brad DeLong
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