- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The liberal agenda picked a national fight over transgender bathrooms, and forced small-business owners to bake cakes for same-sex marriages. Hillary Clinton stood firm for partial-birth and late-term abortions when questioned in a presidential debate. The Democratic platform stripped all references to God and promised repeal the Hyde Amendment.

It was all too much for the religious right. They came out in droves to elect Donald Trump, despite concerns about his personal faith, wavering positions on abortion and treatment of women.

Exit polls, reported by Christianity Today, showed that white Christians cast their ballots for the real-estate mogul by an 81 to 16 percent margin over Mrs. Clinton. It was their highest margin since 2004.

Catholics also swung for Mr. Trump — by a 52 percent to 45 percent margin — after a majority of Catholics sided with President Obama in the previous two elections.

Evangelical leaders were divided on Mr. Trump’s candidacy, openly sparring on his fitness for office, and some evangelical women denounced him.

After Mr. Trump’s leaked 2005 audio recording, where he described grabbing women by the genitals, evangelical superstar Beth Moore posted a tweet that read: “I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it.”

Still, more than 75 percent of white evangelical women voted for Mr. Trump, according to exit polls.

“It isn’t that folks liked him more than previous candidates,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a Trump supporter, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night as the results came in. “They were mobilized by what’s at stake & the clear contrast w/Hillary on life.”

Mrs. Clinton never tried to reach out to the religious right, whereas Mr. Trump courted them.

Mr. Trump put forth a list of 21 conservative Supreme Court justices, and named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, a man who frequently describes himself as “a Christian, conservative and Republican, in that order.”

He promised to protect the life of the unborn and stand up for religious liberty. It was enough in battleground states such as Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, where during the Obama years as many as a quarter of evangelicals voted Democrat. With Mrs. Clinton it was nearly 10 percentage points less than that.

“In [the left’s] religious fervor for progressive, secular advancement, they caused culturally conservative blue collar voters and Christians to perceive an existential threat,” Erick Erickson wrote on his blog Wednesday.

“The left overplayed its hand across the board….Even with adjustments made to the exit polling, more than half the country wants a more conservative direction,” Mr. Erickson wrote.

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