“It really is about not giving an inch anymore — this sense of absolute resistance,” says Robert P. 琼斯, director of the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute and author of “The End of White Christian America.”
The imperative for resistance over cooperation
, even when futile
, fueled Trump’s denial of his defeat and the deadly US Capitol insurrection by his supporters that was replete with Christian iconography
. In a different context
, it produced the reflex among conservative politicians and commentators to blame Democratic energy policies for the recent power-grid crisis in Republican-controlled Texas
— as stalwart conservative Sen
. 泰德·克鲁斯, his constituents suffering
, headed to a Mexican beach
“For the Republican Party
, the sensationalization
, and demonization of the political system matter far more than any form of governing
,” Amanda Carpenter
, a former Cruz aide who is now a CNN contributor
, wrote in The Bulwark
. “Political performance 是 the point
. Both the means and the end
. The purpose and the power.
White Christians’ hold on the GOP
For almost all of American history, White Christians have represented a large majority of the US population and controlled the levers of government power. But that majority had shrunk to just 54% 通过 2008 when Barack Obama won election as the first African American president and personified the nation’s changing demography.
Trump has personified resistance to that change with his turn-back-the-clock call to “Make America Great Again.” Faith in his singular mission proved so strong that at last summer’s nominating convention Republicans didn’t even offer a governing platform.
Resistance hasn’t worked. Trump lost his reelection bid, Democrats captured Congress, and the proportion of White Christians in the population has now shrunk to 44%, PRRI research shows.
But White Christians still hold unchallenged dominance within the GOP. They represent two-thirds of rank-and-file Republicans, 琼斯说. And they represent more than 90% of Republican senators, House members and governors.
The most conservative among them — those describing themselves as evangelical or born-again — wield the greatest influence. 去年十一月, that group — 包括 28% of the overall electorate according to exit polls — gave Trump three-fourths of their votes. And their grievances against prevailing national sentiment on issues from gay rights to immigration to racial justice to election integrity echo through GOP stances in Washington and state capitals now.
Just three House Republicans joined Democrats last week in voting for the Equality Act
, which would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
. “An attack on God’s creation
,” declared Rep
. 玛乔丽·泰勒·格林, the first-term Georgian who has become the symbol of House Republican combativeness
只是 11 众议院共和党人 voted to discipline Greene over her public embrace of extremism
. A January survey by the conservative American Enterprise Institute showed White evangelical Republicans likelier than the rest of the party to believe in the conspiratorial QAnon fantasy
, that a
” within the government targeted Trump
, and the falsehood that Antifa rather than Trump supporters staged the January
Local party organizations around the country have assailed 的 10 众议院共和党人 who voted to impeach Trump over that insurrection
. 代表. Adam Kinzinger’s own relatives labeled him a
“disappointment to God.
Instead of condemning the idea of physical resistance, White evangelical Republicans embrace it, the AEI survey showed. Fully 60% agreed that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”
White evangelical Republicans who accept Trump’s election lies also propel the national GOP push to restrict voting procedures. Three-fourths believe Biden did not legitimately win the election, the AEI survey showed; among other Republicans, 一个 56% majority accept Biden’s victory as legitimate.
Even on the pandemic that has claimed more than 500,000 American lives, ravaged the economy and upended normal life, Republican lawmakers reflect the emphatic skepticism of White evangelicals.
In an AEI survey last fall, 68% of White evangelical Republicans said the media had exaggerated the number of deaths from the pandemic. In a separate PRRI poll, 68% expressed resignation over the toll of coronavirus, 称呼它 “必然” rather than the result of failure to control the outbreak.
Biden last week battled GOP resistance to his Covid relief bill and his nomination of Indian-American Neera Tanden as budget director
. Soon he will turn to his plans
— already denounced by top Republicans
– to provide legal status and eventually citizenship to undocumented immigrants
与此同时, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fends off questions about intra-party divisions by underscoring a higher priority: what Republicans agree they’re against.
“I think what you need to focus on,” McConnell told reporters last week, “is how unified we are today in opposition to what the Biden administration is trying to do.”