Election Fallout, Trends, & the Christian Witness

There are different layers to the midterm elections. We can look at the superficial results—who won, who lost—we can analyze what this means for the near future politically, but we also need to look at the long-term trends.

On the surface, we see kind of a wash where Democrats took over the House while Republicans have increased their numbers in the Senate. What this means is that Nancy Pelosi and crew will use their power position to begin an unending series of investigations of whatever they deem corruption.The new chair of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, is already more than hinting that he will seek to impeach newly confirmed Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

In other words, prepare for the ongoing circus. No vote for impeachment in the House, though, will ever be favorably received by the Senate, nor should it be. Any impeachment attempt will fail.

By keeping control of the Senate, the Republicans can go forward with the appointment of more judges who will, hopefully, have respect for the Constitution. And that’s no small thing.

In my state of Florida, the Republican candidates for governor and senator won, despite what the polls showed. Ron Desantis will be the new governor and our current governor, Rick Scott, will now be in the Senate. Both victories were razor-thin, but they were victories nonetheless.

The Scott win throws out Democrat Bill Nelson, who had thought he could be senator for life. The Desantis triumph keeps Florida from going into the pit, as his opponent, Andrew Gillum, was a Bernie Sanders acolyte.

Nearly all the polls showed Nelson and Gillum winning, which makes one wonder about polls (as if you weren’t already wondering about them).

Neighboring Georgia escaped the same fate as Republican Brian Kemp narrowly edged out Stacey Abrams, who, as a state legislator, had voted to confiscate guns, and who was running a race based quite a bit on race.

So, at least for now, conservatives can breathe a kind of sigh of relief. The barbarians have not yet broken through some of the walls.

But the trends are not optimistic. Florida and Georgia nearly going the Bernie Sanders route? Ted Cruz having a scare in Texas before pulling out a late win there? Many state legislatures and governorships switching to Democrat control? That reverses the Republican wave of state gains over the past decade.

Why does this concern me so much? Just look at how radical the Democrats have become. This is certainly no longer the party of Truman and JFK. This isn’t even the party of George McGovern in the 1970s. We thought he was radical; he might not even get nominated today.

The deepest concern for me is the spiritual. Democrats have all but abandoned any pretense of caring about Christian beliefs and morality. Wherever they have the upper hand, they will attempt to force into compliance those who disagree with their vision of the perfect society.

For all the talk on the Left of the fantasy of some kind of right-wing theocracy, the truth is more on the side of a totalitarian state of the Left:

  • You will promote abortion regardless of your religious beliefs;
  • You will accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage as normal or lose your business;
  • You will become social justice warriors or face retribution by being stigmatized as racist, sexist, and whatever other “ist” our fertile imaginations will conjure up.

That is not society I wish to see. The only consolation, and it is real, is that the Christian message will be shining in the darkness.

If we are faithful to that message.

Let me end with a Scripture that just came to mind. Jesus, speaking to the Pharisee Nicodemus, after that most famous of all passages about how God so loved the world, ends with these words of stark truth:

And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”

We should always expect resistance to God’s message of love because that same message points out people’s sins. They will never like that. Therefore, we need to be prepared for evil people acting out of the evil that exists in their hearts. Yet when they do, our task is to continue to offer God’s redemption from evil.

We are to love even our enemies.

Stranger Things Have Happened

Yesterday, Donald Trump finally came out with his long-promised list of judges he would consider for the Supreme Court. By all accounts from conservatives, the list is excellent. Apparently, Trump’s people even reached out to National Review for suggestions, which is interesting, since NR began the NeverTrump dialogue with one of its issues.

So, I will begin by giving credit where it is due: this is a good list. Now, the problems.

First, the context of the list is for replacing Antonin Scalia; there is no promise to choose from that list for later Supreme Court openings. I still remember Trump saying that his pro-abortion sister would make a fine Supreme Court justice.

Second, all we have is his word that he will choose from this list. What is his word worth? Well, even his chief spokespeople have said that words don’t matter that much, and that all he has proposed for policies up to this point are mere suggestions.

Huge Conservative

Then there is his sordid history of constant lying. I am on the side of Ted Cruz when he labeled Trump a pathological liar. I believe the evidence of not only the last nine months, but of his whole life, backs up that charge.

Consequently, I do not trust him.

Just try to follow his weaving from one position to another on a variety of issues and what do you come away with?

Trans-Trump

The fact that he is going to be the GOP nominee is a supreme irony, given all his past associations with the liberal side of politics:

Something in Common

Yet we have this mad rush to endorse Trump by most Republican politicians. I understand the rationale of some who have pledged to support the nominee, whoever that might be, but I am not comfortable with taking that position myself. For me, it’s an abandonment of principle to give my support to this man:

Abandon Principles

That’s why there’s so much chatter about a third-party challenge, if for no other reason than to provide a conscience-grounded alternative. As a historian, I know the fate of third parties. I have no reason to think that anyone running on a third-party ticket will win the presidency, but I understand the frustration.

Third Party

Interestingly, though, if there were to be a fourth party as well, all bets are off for the two frontrunners. Let’s say, for instance, in addition to a conservative option, we also have Bernie Sanders, angry over how many states he can win and yet not overtake Hillary, deciding to run as an independent.

That scenario could result in no one winning a majority of the electoral votes, thereby throwing the decision into a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, as it did in 1824. Would that House really choose Trump, or would it instead turn to the conservative candidate?

Of course, any conservative candidate would have to be accepted by strong conservatives and moderates alike to garner enough support, but stranger things have happened—like Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination in the first place.

Do I expect that scenario to unfold? The probability is not high. But I’m watching closely. You just never know.