Some religious conservatives may see the world in moral terms — right and wrong; black and white. But there’s a long moral tradition, as far back as Augustine, that sees our world in shades of gray. The City of God lives as earthly inhabitants of the City of Man; thus, our world is imperfect. We are to be “in the world, but not of it.” History does not progress only toward human perfection. In this calculus, religious conservatives might see moral contrasts in black and white, but see voting for a morally compromised figure whose administration pushes back against progressivism as an uncomfortable shade of gray.
(Andrew T. Walker – National Review) In January 2021, someone will take the presidential oath of office, and religious conservatives will undoubtedly play a crucial role in whom it will be….
Their influence will be the focus of an untold number of postmortems, of the type they’ve been accustomed to hearing since 2016, when the notorious “81 percent” of evangelicals voted for the unlikeliest of candidates: Donald Trump. There are two competing interpretations of Trump’s enthusiastic support from religious conservatives: that it is a lesser-of-two-evils transaction based on self-interest, or that it shows a voting bloc compromised by every form of democratic vice, whether racism, nativism, or nationalism.
If trends hold, there will be a similar turnout in 2020. Rather than wait for the postmortem, I can tell you what will happen now: Millions of religious conservatives will approach their votes with a political realism that requires balancing undesirable tensions and conflicting realities. They will vote not so much for Donald Trump — with his uncouth speech and incessantly immature tweets — as they will vote against the worldview of the Democratic platform. Those who make this calculation are not sell-outs, nor have they forfeited the credibility of their values carte blanche. For blind allegiance does not explain the voting relationship. That religious conservatives are not progressives does. Between Never Trump and Always Trump is a third category: Reluctant Trump. Voters in this category don’t get the fair hearing they deserve, since they defy the simple binary portrayal of religious conservatives as either offended by Trump or sold out to him.