A Sunday report from Politico claimed that U.S. President Donald Trump’s allies are worried that Joe Biden’s rising evangelical support may pose a threat to the president’s reelection in November. According to the report, Biden is following in former President Barack Obama’s footsteps and reaching out to the evangelical community — a strategy that allegedly worked by doubling Democratic support among young white evangelicals and increasing support from the overall demographic by three points in the 2004 presidential election.
“Such an outcome could deal a fatal blow to the president’s reelection, which largely hinges on expanding his support with religious voters to compensate for enthusiasm gaps elsewhere,” the report reads.
According to David Brody, chief political analyst at the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump needs 81 percent support or more from this demographic to win reelection.
“In this environment, with everything from the coronavirus to George Floyd and Trump calling himself the ‘law-and-order president,’ Biden could potentially pick off a percent or two from that 81 percent number.”
As reported by The Washington Post, approximately one-third of Trump’s support in 2016 came from evangelicals. According to Pew Research Center data from last year, 77 percent of white evangelical Protestants identify as Republican or Republican-leaning. Despite this overlap between religion and party, Public Religion Research Institute data released earlier this month suggests that Trump has lost 20 points in support from evangelical voters since March, with a similar loss observed among white Catholics.
Amid this reported loss of support, Biden’s campaign is looking to boost support. Republican strategist Rob Stutzman claims that Biden would benefit from invoking his faith more often, as opposed to continually pointing to his political record as vice president in Obama’s administration and as a lawmaker in the U.S. Senate.
“There are a lot of themes that fit the moment related to justice, authority and loving your neighbor and not in a way that would necessarily make white evangelicals uncomfortable if Biden could speak to them,” Stutzman said.
John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College, claims that some white evangelicals are disappointed by Trump’s coronavirus response and beginning to believe in systemic racism — something the president has yet to address directly via policy proposals. According to Fea, this demographic is “dying” for a reason to withdraw support from Trump in November.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump’s campaign appears aware of the threat of losing support from his religious base. Notably, a previous Politico report claimed that the president’s push for church reopenings back in May was sparked by declining support from religious conservatives.