Today’s Recommended Read: White Evangelicals, in Severe Decline, Lash Out in Paranoid Frenzy

Michelle Goldberg, The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It

Those of us who have come to value Ms. Goldberg’s work know that she regularly makes trenchant observations, and pulls no punches in telling us what’s going on. In today’s column, she outdoes herself.

Key takeaway point: the proportion of people identifying as white evangelicals has dropped precipitously, from 23 percent in 2006 to 14.5 percent as of 2020.

Result: a descent into political nihilism and millenarian conspiratology. If they can’t own the country, then they will damn well take the country down.

Ms. Goldberg concludes by observing that the white evangelicals are more dangerous in decline than they were two decades ago, when they thought they were in the ascendency. I don’t agree.

l think the precipitous decline of our political adversaries is a development worth celebrating.

Today’s Read: What the Political Scientists are Telling Us About the Trump Base

Thomas Edsall, Trump’s Cult of Animosity Shows No Sign of Letting Up

Mr. Edsall provides a fairly extensive review of recent political science analysis of the Trump phenomenon. Well worth a read, IMHO.

Spoiler alert: 6 letters. Begins with “r.”

Other than that, I won’t try to summarize, because summarizing a summary is always problematic. But I will add just a few points.

  1. These are the same people who have been calling biologists stupid for the last 200 years, because biologists espouse the theory of evolution. No wonder they don’t want to believe stupid biologists when they talk of illness and vaccines.
  2. These are the same people who believe that “I AM GOING TO HEAVEN AND YOU, MOST DEFINITELY, ARE GOING TO HELL.” No wonder that they show “hostility to outgroups.” Hostility to outgroups is what their preachers have been preaching for centuries.
  3. The article asserts—correctly, as far as I can tell—that the hard core trump base comprises up to one third of our population. But the article does not address the significant variations in attitude and belief within this one third of our population. I know from experience that you can have a semi-reasonable conversation with some of these folks, some of the time, whereas others are impervious to all reason, all of the time.
  4. According to the article—and, again, it’s correct in my view—up to one third of the population year to impose a dictatorship over the remaining two thirds of the population.

Not happening, folks.

Maybe their actions will bring about the end of democracy and make the United States a failed state. But that failed state won’t be a dictatorship. Because the rest of us aren’t going to let it happen.

Every Day, the Line in the Sand Looks More and More Like an Insurmountable Moat, Arkansas governor ponders future in GOP turned Trumpian

Washington Post, In ramp-up to 2022 midterms, Republican candidates center pitches on Trump’s false election claims

Washington Post, Post-ABC poll: Biden earns high marks for handling the pandemic, but many Republicans resist vaccination

I particularly call your attention to the second article cited above. There, the Washington Post extensively documents how Big Lie supporters are winning Republican primaries, and how the remaining semi-sensible people identifying as Republicans are being driven from the party. Viz. Asa Hutchinson, per the first of the three articles above.

Come 2022, the most backward portions of the remaining Republicans will have been softened up by massive loss of life in the coming delta variant renewed pandemic.

Those who survive will insist on making the midterm election a referendum on the Big Lie.

This will be a successful strategy, but only in the most rural parts of our country.

Ever since our ancestors climbed down from the trees in Africa, those who rationally understood reality and grasped the consequences of their actions tended to survive. Those lacking these skills tended to die.

The Canary in the Coal Mine: Oakland County, Michigan

Politico, ‘As Long as the Party Embraces Trump, It’s Going to Have Trouble’: The Republican collapse in Michigan’s Oakland County, once a stronghold, was a long time coming. Is losing these suburbs a warning light for Trumpism?

This is the story of how Oakland County went blue—and what that tells us about the Republican Party’s continuing collapse in America’s suburbs.


Christians, 52; MAGA White Identity Crowd, 48 …

… Or, Of Coal Mines and Canaries

Karen Tumulty, Could the Southern Baptists be tiptoeing away from Trump?

Ms. Tumulty has written a good piece (though, as often happens, her headline writer has not done her proud).

Here are my observations. MAGA tribalism is pretty much the 180 degree opposite of what Jesus taught—not to mention what a lot of the Hebrew prophets preached. The Hebrew prophets wanted justice to flow down like waters. Jesus deplored ethnic taboos that separate humans into Them and Us. He also taught, if the gospels are to be believed, that people who are not nice to “the least of these my brethren” are going to hell in a handbasket.

The new president of the SBC believes that Adam and Eve were actual people, that the whale actually swallowed Jonah, and that Christians are actually supposed to renounce their tribalism, just like Jesus taught over and over.

The Canary in the Coal Mine

We really should pay attention to what just happened at the Southern Baptist Convention. What happened was the anti-Christian Trump white identity folks made a huge push to take over the Convention and then to use the Convention as another vehicle to amplify their white identity grievances.

They really tried hard. For a long time. With lots of time and organizational effort.

They almost succeeded.

But they did not succeed.

They fell flat on their faces.

At the bloody Southern Baptist Convention, of all places.

This, ladies and germs, is a canary in the coal mine.

MAGAworld has gotten louder and louder, not to mention crazier and crazier. Their leaders have vied with one another to see who can say the craziest things—without the whole enterprise collapsing around their heads.

With the vote at the SBC, they are beginning to find out to explore the outer limits of their appeal to venemous craziness.  

Southern Baptist Convention Poised to Expel Remaining Christians

Ed Kilgore, The Southern Baptist Church Is Going to Hell in a Handbasket

Washington Post, Secret recordings, leaked letters: Explosive secrets rocking the Southern Baptist Convention

N.Y. Times, ‘Take the Ship’: Conservatives Aim to Commandeer Southern Baptists: The insurgents, some adopting a pirate motif, believe that the denomination has drifted too far to the left on issues of race, gender and the strict authority of the Bible.

The message of Rabbi Jesus is hard to ignore. I think of Rabbi Jesus in terms of whack-a-mole: you bat him down over here, and he is going to pop up over there.

Now, those in the Southern Baptist Convention who still value the teachings of Jesus are getting sick and tired of equating Christianity with Trump support and voting Republican. They have lost patience with the folks who are digging as fast as the can, down the right wing rabbit hole.

Meanwhile, those on the other side of the aisle no longer want to worship with any remaining Democrats of Trump doubters in their churches.

The time has almost arrived to draw a line in the sand. Then make it a ditch. Then an insurmountable moat.

Let the folks in the Southern Baptist Convention choose which side of the moat to stand on.

And however many choose to stand on the wrong side—probably the majority of the SBC membership—can enjoy their descent into religious, cultural, and political irrelevance.