by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Donald Trump elicited the same kind of hopeful expectation among his voters in 2016 that Barack Obama did among his voters in 2008 and 2012. In his forthcoming book, Alienated America, Tim Carney takes another look at who those Trump voters were and finds that many of them identified as evangelical but did not attend church. Carney explains that “every step down in church attendance brought a step up in Trump support, and vice versa.”
You’ll recognize the theme:
The secularization of America is eroding trust. The elites’ replacements for church are strong public schools, country clubs, travel sports teams, and so on. The working class and middle class, it seems, lack those secular institutions of civil society, particularly after the core institution, church, dries up.
It’s got to be a bitter irony for the secular Left. They cheered as they saw Americans turning away from church. But when Middle America turned away from church, they were missing something. And they sought it in Trump.