I feel like I ought to preface any remarks about the election with the statement that I did not support Trump, and thought he was entirely unfit for the presidency. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that, but here it is again for anyone who didn't know it.
But I admit that I was a little relieved when he won. It was a "too bad they can't both lose" situation, but I ended up wanting Hillary to lose more than I wanted Trump to lose. If I thought he was unfit, why? Obviously I thought Hillary would be worse, even though she was in a narrow sense more "fit" to be president, in the sense that she has a lot more experience and knowledge applicable to the job. So in what respect was she worse?
Well, I think the Christians who voted against her (whether or not they saw themselves as actively supporting Trump) know the answer to that: the experiences of the past ten or fifteen years have made it clear that Hillary's party (meaning not just the Democrats but most people on the left-liberal side of our political gauge) wishes to see those with conservative social views expelled from polite society and tolerated only to the extent that they refrain from public expression of certain views and abide by laws that force them to act against their consciences. This piece by Megan McArdle, "The Left's Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right" sums up the situation pretty clearly:
I’ve heard from a number of evangelicals who, despite their reservations about the man, ended up voting for Donald Trump because they fear that the left is out to build a world where it will not be possible to hold any prominent job while holding onto their church’s beliefs about sexuality. Discussions I’ve had in recent days with nice, well-meaning progressives suggest that this is not a paranoid fantasy. [my emphasis] An online publisher's witch hunt against two television personalities -- because of the church they attend -- validates the fears of these Christians.
When you think that you may shortly see your church’s schools and your religious hospitals closed, and your job or business threatened in the private sphere by the economic equivalent of “convert or die,” you will side with whoever does not seem to set its sights on your conservative beliefs. If that side is led by an intemperate man who more than occasionally says awful things … well, at least he doesn’t want to destroy you.
Yep. Some Christians are being hysterical about all this and abusing the word "persecution," but that doesn't mean the problem isn't real.
Consider what I look like when viewed in terms of the attributes of greatest interest to the left: White. Male. Heterosexual. Christian. Conservative. And to top it all off, Southern. I might as well change my name to Beelzebub. Or Hitler. The only thing I could possibly to do to dispel the aura of evil produced by those words would be to change my politics, preferably my religion also, and start loudly advocating for leftist causes and denouncing my own cultural background.
I'm not going to do that, of course. In theory I could be persuaded to embrace leftist politics, but I certainly can't be insulted into it. When I look at the face of the left what my eyes actually show me is not the tolerance, understanding, and openness which they insist I should see, but hate, fear, and the explicit hope that my kind will soon disappear from history.
Why in the world would I vote for that party? Why would I not see almost any opposition as preferable?
I think the left made a serious miscalculation. The victories of the Obama administration made it over-confident. They thought that all they had to do was get control at the federal level and pass laws, and meaningful opposition would wither away. Well, perhaps that will happen in time, but clearly there was a lot more life left in the beast than they thought. Hillary had the lowest share of the evangelical Christian vote--16%--of the last five presidential elections. I can imagine that continuing to sink until it gets down to the blacks-for-Republicans level. Trump even carried a majority of Catholic votes--52%, 60% for white Catholics.
It need not have been this way, and need not be this way in the future, though the signs are that it will be. The Obama administration did not have to take the extra steps it did to alarm Christians. It did not have to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor. It did not have to bathe the White House in rainbow lights after the Obergefell decision. It did not have to try to force every school in the country to comply with the latest demands from the sexual revolutionaries in regard to toilets and locker rooms. The state of Oregon did not have to try to destroy a harmless little bakery. Mozilla did not have to force out Brendan Eich. The state of California does not have to try to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. And so on.
The headline of Megan McArdle's column refers to a "doomed" effort at coercion. I don't know whether it's doomed or not in the long run, but I don't see any indication that it's going to stop. That means we are doomed to keep fighting the culture wars, which are at bottom religious wars, until one side completely subjugates the other. The left thought this victory had been achieved under the Obama administration, but the declaration of victory was premature. And war sometimes produces alliances that would not and even should not exist under normal conditions.