Why does the Religious Right support the thrice-married vulgarian Donald Trump?

Perhaps the craziest thing in this crazy political year is the extent to which evangelical Christians support the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. What are these people thinking? Trump represents, or recently did, lots of stuff that should make him persona non grata among conservative religionists. But many, if not most, of these folks seem to think he’s the answer to their political prayers. Even The Donald seems surprised. “Why do they love me?” he recently asked. “You’ll have to ask them. But they do. They do love me.” Jonathan Merritt of The Atlantic muses on this matter HERE: And what of Trump’s religious practices? He says that he is a faithful Presbyterian and member of Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, but after this announcement, the congregation released a statement saying he is not an active member. And, of course, Trump’s three marriages are painfully out of step with Christian restrictions against divorce. As USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers notes, Donald Trump is no dummy. She argues that he is scamming Christians in an effort to win over the critical Republican voting bloc. This seems plausible. But if Trump’s political views and religious commitments are so far from most evangelicals’, why are these Christians going along with it? The answer seems to be the growing anti-establishment sentiments held by many evangelical Christians… They like a candidate who will stand up to “the media”—whether Jorge Ramos or Megyn Kelly—because they feel reporters don’t give them a fair shake either. They are drawn to a candidate who hails from outside the Beltway—even if his hometown is the elitist island of Manhattan—because they think the Washington establishment has abandoned them. And they appreciate someone who makes no apology for using politically incorrect rhetoric—even if this includes a bit of profanity or misogyny—because they believe society is increasingly intolerant of many of their sentiments, too.      ...

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Big-time hypocrisy: Fox News complains about Donald Trump’s sexist remarks!

Of all the crazy political happenings this year, one of the weirdest is the unlikely stance taken by Fox News in support of — wait for it — POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. Fox News, like its counterparts in right-wing talk radio, has always dismissed sensitivity about racist and sexist remarks as just so much liberal PC. Regular viewers of Fox News — mostly old, white men — have agreed heartily. But suddenly things have changed. Fox itself is now playing the PC card. The network wants Donald Trump to apologize for his nasty remarks about Megyn Kelly, a prime-time star on Fox News Channel. Amanda Marcotte has more on this matter HERE: Donald Trump has reignited his sexist harassment campaign against Megyn Kelly, and the folks at Fox News are, in seemingly coordinated fashion, striking back. Fellow Fox News hosts and pundits are asking Trump to cool it, and even Roger Ailes has released a statement calling Trump’s abuse “unacceptable” and “disturbing.” It’s almost touching, watching all these conservative media people who usually profit at peddling sexism choose, this time at least, to join together in an effort to stop this one particular instance of it… Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years – decades, if you count talk radio – training their audiences to believe that exhortations against sexism and racism are nothing but the “political correctness” police trying to kill your good time. Indeed, one reason that Trump was able to get so much attention for his presidential run in the first place is that Fox has spent years building him up, knowing that their audience enjoys vicariously needling imagined liberals and feminists with his loud-mouthed insult comic act. (Snip) No one should understand this better than the people at Fox News. After all, this is the monster they created. They should know what it wants and what it’s capable of. But instead, they seem to think that if you just shake your finger at the right wing base and tell them to be nice to the lady who dared talk back to their hero, Donald Trump, they will somehow realize that they’re not actually courageous warriors holding back the forces of political correctness, but that they are instead just a bunch of jerks....

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Here’s why I still think Trump won’t win the Republican nomination

You’ve probably forgotten that this isn’t the first time a thrice-married, formerly pro-choice, rude person from New York City has led the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Rudy Giuliani did it eight years ago. And Rudy’s lead in the polls was more impressive at that time than Donald Trump’s is now. In the end, however, Rudy wasn’t much of a factor in the race. Trump almost certainly will meet a similar fate. Tom McCarthy of The Guardian says so HERE: Trump is only at 25% – not high enough to score wins in most primary elections and caucuses – and there are persuasive reasons to believe he cannot climb much higher. What’s more, his numbers in individual state polls in Iowa (22%) and New Hampshire (18%) are currently lower than his national numbers. That means he may not be as competitive early on as he appears. In the first 13 Republican primary and caucus elections in 2012, the winner garnered an average of 41.8% of the vote. Trump is polling nationally at around 25%. Where do the extra 17 points come from? (Snip) Do you know anyone who is undecided about Donald Trump? Neither do most Americans. That’s because Trump is one of the most famous people in the country and is currently benefitting from grossly disproportionate media coverage. Everybody’s heard of Trump. Problematically for him, familiarity has not bred affection. Trump has the worst favorability rating within his own party of any Republican candidate except for Obama-hugger Chris Christie, according to new polling of key swing states by Quinnipiac University. In the contest for undecided voters, Trump appears weaker than any of his rivals, because everybody already knows who he is, and an unusual number of Republicans already don’t like him.                            ...

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Let’s at least give Trump credit for spotlighting the pay-to-play system of politics

In more than a few blog posts of recent weeks, I’ve strenuously argued here that there’s not a lot to admire about Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. I’ve also made clear my sense that The Donald has no real chance of becoming the Republican nominee, let alone the winner of the general election. It’s now time, however, that I give Trump credit where credit is due. He’s done us all a favor by admitting what many of us have known for years: America’s political system has become grossly corrupted by money. It’s called “pay-to-play.” If you grease the right palms, you get the political favors you’re seeking. Trump readily admits to the situation, which is why the Republican establishment hates him. Stanley Aronowitz of Talking Points Memo puts it THIS WAY: So why is Trump the enemy, really? The GOP will say it’s because he’s a clown, he has no experience, he can’t win, he’s more a celebrity than a politician. This might all be true. But there’s another big reason they’d rather not talk about. At the debate and numerous public appearances, Trump has matter-of-factly stated that he is an equal opportunity donor to Republican and Democratic candidates—not for the purpose of civic duty or altruism, but in exchange for influence. He has openly deemed his gifts to politicians a business expense. He went so far as to declare, before 24 million viewers at the debate, that he uses his donations to obtain favors from legislators who are all too eager to bow to his requests. He not-so-subtly implies that politicians are bought and paid for by him and other financial moguls. And he expects a fair return for those dollars, measured in policy rewards like zoning adjustments, subsidies for building projects and long-term tax relief. In short, he lets the cat out of the bag about something the political system has spent more than a century to disguise.  ...

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The GOP debate seemed to indicate that Fox News has an anti-Trump agenda

In several respects, the latter of Thursday’s two Republican presidential debates was more entertaining than I had anticipated. The questions posed to the candidates generally were sharper than one would expect from Fox News personalities. And, more to the point, the questions seemed to reflect an agenda — the objective being to put the repugnant Donald Trump in his place. This mission somewhat surprises me. I didn’t know that the suits at Fox News don’t much care for Trump. I don’t watch Fox News Channel a lot, but I had noticed that Sean Hannity likes to play patty-cake with Trump. I had assumed that this affection for The Donald pertained among the whole crowd over there. Apparently not. Ed Kilgore’s TAKE ON THE DEBATE is especially insightful: Fox News’ purpose in the main 10-candidate event was made plain with the first question: an in-your-face spotlight on Donald Trump’s refusal to promise not to run as an independent candidate. And the relentless pounding of Trump—on his bankruptcies, his past support for single-payer health care and abortion rights, his “specific evidence” for claiming Mexico has dispatched criminals to the U.S. (slurs about immigrants by other candidates didn’t come up) and even his sexist tweets-—continued right on through to Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, designed to show how much damage Trump had sustained. (Snip) From the perspective of Fox News and its GOP allies, you’d guess the ideal denouement would be Trump crashing in the polls, to be replaced in the top ten by Carly Fiorina. We’ll see how avidly and universally the conservative spin machine pursues that outcome in the days just ahead....

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