Dr. Mark Beliles’ article on the recent presidential election gives us time to develop Christian leaders and urges us not to waste our votes.
Dr. Mark Beliles | ATC
The recent presidential election provided interesting insight into the impact of Christians. Trump’s surprising victory with over 62.7 million votes was comprised of no less than 43 million Christians – over two thirds of his total votes! Of these, about 24 million votes were from white Evangelicals, 15 million were from white Catholics, and 4 million were from Hispanic and Black Christians. About half as many Christians voted for Clinton and of these about half were white Catholics and the other half were Blacks and Hispanics. Of her 65.4 million votes only about a third were Christians (and only about a 9 million were Evangelicals).
The ratio among Evangelicals (black and Hispanic included) is about 3 to 1, and among all Christians (including Catholics) is about 2 to 1 in favor of Trump. The gap of over 20 million Christian votes in favor of Trump and the Republican Party far exceeds any other demographic advantage by far, and in the battleground states, the turnout of Christian voters was even higher than in other areas and especially explains how Trump won the most electoral votes.
Hispanic voters are identified by pundits to be crucial to the future of presidential elections but in states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona the influence of Evangelicals on Latinos especially hinders the Democratic Party from winning those states. Studies show that over time Hispanic immigrants gradually become more Republican voters due to both Evangelical and Catholic churches in those areas favoring Republicans. The only likely change in this pattern of voting is if religion declines in America or if the Republican Party stopped appealing to religious voters so much more effectively than the Democratic Party. (Hispanic votes in big margins in California and New York add to the Democratic popular vote nationally, but in terms of the Electoral College, these states always go Democratic anyway.) All in all, it shows the amazing power of Christianity in American politics.
Even more amazing is how sophisticated the Christian vote proved to be. Instead of being swayed emotionally by media soundbites and simplification and perversion of candidates’ views, strong majorities of Christians, even Hispanics, looked past personalities and mistakes by the candidates, and beyond single issues or purely ethnic interests, and voted based on substantial analysis of all issues and worldviews. They did not necessarily vote “for” Trump but clearly against what they deemed was a worse evil in the policies of the Democratic Party. Neither did Christians fall into the mistake of wasting their vote on minor party candidates. The data shows a maturity in the Christian vote in America which is highly commendable. Having said that, the post-vote responsibility of Christians is to not only support those in power, but also reach out with humility to those believers who voted for the Democratic Party and try to educate, learn and heal as much as possible.
If Clinton had won perhaps the direction of the nation was irreversible, but it seems that God mercifully gave to us in America a gift of time. The question we must answer is “time for what?” If we think simply voting and a Trump administration is going to turn America around we deceive ourselves. We must act now to develop better leaders in all the spheres of culture and perhaps in 8 years we might be in a position that new leaders are beginning to step up for the future.
Mark A. Beliles is founder and president of the America Transformation Company. He also founded the Providence Foundation in 1983 and its Biblical Worldview University. Read more here.