The History Behind White Evangelicals' Alignment with Trump

This series, running between now and Election Day, examines how American evangelicalism evolved from a tradition of social reform directed toward those most vulnerable to 81 percent of white evangelicals supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It’s a long, sad story of declension from the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament to an unblinking embrace of the hard-right ideology of the Republican Party.

Randall Balmer 2-11-2020

Tent revival during the Second Great Awakening. "America on Stone" Lithography Collection, 1849 lithograph, Harry T. Peters. Public Domain

Last week, President Donald Trump spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual bipartisan event that brings together faith leaders and members of Congress. Using language like “I’ve been with you,” and “you better get out and vote on Nov. 3” — insinuating all those of faith gathered align with the president — Trump called once again on support from his most loyal followers: white evangelical Protestants.