Here is a really obscure fact about American politics that you may not have heard about: Did you know that lots of white evangelical Protestants voted for Donald Trump in 2016?
I know. It's really strange, but it must be true -- because it's in all the newspapers, week after week after week after week.
As I have noted before, it's true that there were evangelical "early adopters" who helped Trump get the 30 percent votes that he needed to gain momentum in the early primaries. As his candidacy became inevitable, many other evangelicals bit their lips and signed on -- many keeping their hard choice private. The best story to read remains this feature at Christianity Today: "Pew: Most Evangelicals Will Vote Trump, But Not For Trump."
Why has the press been so focused on white evangelicals? Trump isn't president today because lots of evangelicals -- for various reasons -- backed him. He is president because lots of blue-collar and labor Democrats voted for him in crucial states. Many of them were white Catholics. Where is the tsunami of coverage of those crucial niches in American politics?
I bring all this up -- again -- because this weekend's think piece is the must-read Michael Gerson cover story at The Atlantic that ran under this double-decker headline:
The Last Temptation
How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory
The key part of that headline is the reference to "seeking political protection." Hold that thought, because we will come back to it. Meanwhile, here is the overture:
One of the most extraordinary things about our current politics -- really, one of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history -- is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump.