At the 2015 Values Voter Summit (VVS) in Washington, D.C., Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump struggled at times to win over the crowd of about 2,700 far-right fundamentalist Christians.
When the twice-divorced real estate developer and reality television star called U.S. Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) a “clown” during the Family Research Council’s (FRC) confab last October, he was met with loud boos from the audience. Thus, it was not surprising that Trump earned just 5 percent in the VVS presidential straw poll – well behind evangelical favorites like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rubio.
But within seven months of his stumble at that conference, Trump was the last man standing in the 2016 Republican presidential race – having defeated all the candidates who finished ahead of him in the VVS poll. Certainly, this must have been a bitter pill for the Religious Right to swallow, given that much of its leadership backed the likes of Cruz, Rubio and Carson throughout the primary season.
Faced with the possibility of at least four more years of another Democratic president, however, most high-ranking Religious Right figures have wasted little time throwing their support behind Trump under the guise that he is essentially the lesser of two evils. But what does it say about a movement supposedly anchored in “biblical morality” when its kingmakers quickly abandoned some of their cherished principles in order to support a presidential candidate who had never claimed to be a man of faith until recently?