Throughout this depressing White House campaign, Washington Post coverage has been split in a really interesting way when dealing with religion and American politics. This trend continued in a new piece that ran with this headline: "As Trump delivers his Gettysburg address, Republicans prepare for a civil war."
As has been the norm among elite news media, the Post has run its share of breathless "Evangelicals love Donald Trump!" reports.
That's fine. Strong support for Trump among a significant minority of white evangelicals has been a major trend, along with the fact that many others in that camp have reluctantly concluded (Christianity Today report here) that they have to vote for the Donald in order to accomplish their primary goal -- defeating Hillary Clinton, the candidate of the moral and cultural left.
However, when dealing with the politics of the White House race, the Post political desk has basically ignored the role of religious faith in both political parties and among the surprisingly large number of #NeverTrump #NeverHillary voters who have frantically been seeking third-party options. This "horse race" coverage has been amazingly religion free.
With that in mind, let's look at a key early chunk of the Post Gettysburg story:
It was ironic that Trump chose Gettysburg, the site of one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War, for his speech. Win or lose, Republicans are probably headed toward a civil war of their own, a period of conflict and turmoil and a reckoning of potentially historic significance. That debate has already begun, as the tension between Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan has shown throughout the year. It will only intensify after Nov. 8. ...
The Republican presidential nominee has not only failed to unify the GOP; but his candidacy has also intensified long-standing hostility toward the party establishment among the grass-roots forces backing him. That tension has made it harder to find a solution to a major problem: The Republican coalition now represents growing shares of the declining parts of the electorate -- the inverse of what an aspiring majority party should want.
Note the "grass-roots" reference.