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Saturday, May 25, 2024
Criminal Justice

Will Stormy Daniel’s Testimony Matter to Evangelicals?

They feel like Trump fights for them — and so far that’s been more powerful than any accusations against him.

Zany: If I was asked that question, I would quickly respond with an emphatic “NO!” Why would it? They heard the Access Hollywood tape. They know he cheated on his ex-wife with Melania, and cheated on his first wife with his ex-wife, so obviously he would cheat on Melania with (at least) 2 other women! The party of “family values” is long gone.

These Evangelicals don’t seem to recognize that they are going against the Word of God by worshipping a “false idol.” Did they learn nothing by reading the description of the Antichrist? (If you agree with me that Trump just might be the Antichrist, tell me in the comments.)

Here is an article from 19th News on how Evangelicals are reacting to the Trump trial taking place in New York.


19th News

This column first appeared in The Amendment, a biweekly newsletter by Errin Haines, The 19th’s editor-at-large. Subscribe today to get early access to future analysis.

On Tuesday, in an already historic criminal trial, another historic moment: Stormy Daniels, the porn actor who claims Donald Trump paid her $130,000 to keep secret an alleged 2006 one-night stand that he had worried could derail his 2016 election chances, took the stand. For the first time, she faced the former president in a New York courtroom and told jurors the story she has been consistently recounting for years. 

It was a day Trump has spent the better part of a decade trying to dodge, and he has denied the details of Daniels’ accusations. He has denied having an affair. His lawyers are arguing that the hush money payment was a means of protecting his family — not a mechanism of election interference, as prosecutors allege. But a 2016 tweet suggests he was concerned about how allegations of misogyny and sexual misconduct revealed in the waning days of the campaign might impact the race. He posted on October 16, 2016: “Polls close, but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election.”

Ahead of the election, more than 20 women had accused Trump of sexual misconduct. The “Access Hollywood” tape of him talking about grabbing women had made headlines a month before Election Day. 

In past elections, character — or at least the perception or performance of it — has been a key criteria for a presidential candidate. Even Trump knew this before he realized his own power within the party. It has not proved to be a priority, not for his voters in his 2016 victory, or for his party in 2020 or 2024. 

In the election interference case he currently faces, Trump seems to be aware of the implications and potential consequences of Daniels’ story and has tried to keep it from jurors, too. On Tuesday his lawyers argued for a mistrial on the grounds that Daniels’ testimony was “extremely prejudicial” — which has been his fear all along, in the courts of law and public opinion. 

More stories of Trump’s misconduct, plus court rulings against him, followed his 2016 election. Last year, writer E. Jean Carroll told a civil jury in New York that Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room; the jury agreed. Between that and a pair of defamation judgments, Trump has been ordered to pay Carroll more than $88 million; he has appealed. It was a rare moment of accountability for Trump that, so far, has not translated to the ballot box. 

Daniels’ testimony Tuesday came six months to the day before Election Day, the campaign and courtroom colliding again this year. The Carroll civil trial coincided with the Republican presidential primary and, as I wrote then, that verdict did little to deter GOP women from ushering Trump toward the nomination this summer. Will the details of his first criminal trial or the outcome have any effect on voters this November?

If past is prologue, the answer is: not likely. But this question is on my mind this week after talking to NPR national political reporter Sarah McCammon, author of “The Exvangelicals.” Evangelical voters are among the core of Trump’s base, and he will need their support again to win this fall. 

Evangelical voters, including women, identify with Trump as a persecuted figure, and he has also portrayed himself as such. A vote for Trump, McCammon explained, is a blow for the persecuted — and many of his voters see his legal troubles not as a moral liability, but as an extension of his persecution. 

They feel like he fights for them, particularly on the issue of abortion. Trump doesn’t shy away from this, regularly claiming credit for the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade. Many evangelical voters would say he’s a complicated vessel for their agenda — they know he’s no saint but accept that he’s a sinner. 

These voters have reconciled the evangelical with the electoral. Character may still count as a matter of faith, but not necessarily for their elected officials. I have often thought of Election Day not as a commitment, but as its own kind of one-night stand. And if voters see electoral victory as a means to an end — namely, to maintain power and pass policy that does align with their political and/or moral values — even faith voters may make a choice that is more pragmatic than principled.

This post contains content that was first published on 19th News and republished here under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.

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