Trump’s candidacy has become a referendum on us

Make no mistake. Donald Trump’s candidacy amounts to a referendum on us. What kind of people are we? To this end, David French writes:

The crucible of the campaign has revealed him to be petty, malicious, and vindictive. He isn’t as bad as his critics feared — he’s worse. But the most disturbing thing isn’t that Trump exists — cruel and ambitious charlatans will always be among us — it’s that millions of Americans are embracing him because of his cruelty, because of his malice

I began by quoting one Founding Father. Let me end by quoting another. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Trump is running not for president of a constitutional republic but to be the strongman of a failing state. A virtuous people would stop him in his tracks. But are we a virtuous people? Tuesday will help tell the answer.

If you think that French is exaggerating the stakes of this election, you have badly misjudged our historical moment. Trump is the personification of everything that is reprehensible in politics. It is the duty of decent citizens to repudiate him. And that includes those citizens who go to the polls on Tuesday.

16 Responses to Trump’s candidacy has become a referendum on us

  1. Ike Lentz February 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Denny, I think you deserve a lot of credit for sticking your neck out and unequivocally standing up to Trump.

    I’ve been dismayed to watch so many evangelical leaders and organizations who stake their personal brand on “defending the Christian Worldview” but won’t make the obvious-but-politically-dangerous decision to publicly speak out against Trump. When I think about all the conferences, books, podcasts, and forums Christian leaders have dedicated to commenting and “engaging” politics and culture, and how few are willing to push back against the danger in their own party, it’s enough to make me question whether any of them were sincere to begin with.

    • Denny Burk February 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Thanks, Ike.

    • Danny Wright February 29, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

      Well said.

    • Ian Shaw March 1, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

      Ike, it’s the same way on the other side with other “Christians” supporting Hillary. In Michigan, there’s a commercial running with a church in Flint (not going to describe the kind of church, but you can imagine) and they’ve got their lead pastor, by name talking about what she did/going to do for the community. Even shows her speaking from the pulpit in this church and holding hands with people while they’re praying. Nothing like taking advantage of a crisis, huh?

      My jaw about hit the floor. I’m not one to use a ‘no true Scotsman’ analogy, but a Bible preaching church has no business stumping for a political candidate. It was absolutely absurd (cough, cough Liberty)

      • Ike Lentz March 2, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

        I think it’s a bad idea for religious leaders to endorse specific candidates, but speaking out against a destructive, hateful, and racist candidate who’s specifically preying on evangelicals should be a no-brainer for evangelical leaders.

        • Ian Shaw March 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

          Agreed

  2. Cindy Young February 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    I have spoken with some elderly members of my community about trumps candidacy to my horror! They are very angry about the riots here in Baltimore! They have come right out and said they will vote for trump as a direct result of the riots. They admitted they don’t care because they know their going to die soon anyway. These are some of the most respected members of my community. I hope and pray to GOD I never succumb to these extreme feeling of anger and despair! I am praying for our elders.

  3. johngresh March 1, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    Just within a day of the SEC Primaries, the support for Trump among my fellow Christian Brothers & Sisters, appears to be growing. The the phrase most often heard is “the lesser of two evils” re: November election of not wanting Hilliary Clinton elected. Unfortunately, the lessor of two evils is still evil. My dismay arises from our Christian leaders whom have endorsed Donald Trump ie Robert Jeffress & Jerry Fallowell, Jr. 1 Samuel 8 warns Israel of the peril of receiving exactly what they wanted. It appeaers we evangelicals are now doing the same.

  4. Ian Shaw March 1, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    A very good piece to read in its entirety

  5. Kent McDonald March 1, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    Today is Super Tuesday. I voted early here in Texas (Cruz). I have been following the Presidential race with great interest and no small amount of trepidation. It is amazing to me how many who self identify as Evangelical are supporting this charlatan (Trump). How can someone call themselves a born-again follower of Christ and support a man with a history of mob associations (La Cosa Nostra, and Philly Mob and more), a foul mouth, a thrice married admitted philanderer, and a man who thinks lying is part of the art of the deal. I am totally flummoxed. This man will “make a deal” with ANYONE on any topic. I can imagine him “dealing” away the Bill of Rights. I know as a “reformed” adherent that God is Sovereign over everything in the Universe. No King ascends to the throne against His will. My only prayer at this point is that the rise of this charlatan is an opportunity for THE CHURCH to choose who they will serve : GOD or Mammon. This man’s God is $$$. This election may well reveal whether America is entering a time of repentance and restoration, or a time of judgment for our past sins. Pray for repentance.

  6. Gus Nelson March 1, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    I am not a Trump supporter . . . yet. What, however, am I to do when the general election comes down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? If Trump is the personification of everything that is reprehensible in politics and It is the duty of decent citizens to repudiate him, is this not equally the case with Hillary Clinton? Her record is one of failure, lies, lawbreaking, and an ends justifies the means mentality (remember her Benghazi testimony – “what difference does it make?”). Sitting out the election certainly isn’t a repudiation of Hillary Clinton, it’s a path to victory for her. So while I will attend the caucus in Kentucky this Saturday and vote for someone other than Trump, I see little option for November. I cannot in good conscience fail to do all I can to prevent Mrs. Clinton from becoming president. If that means voting for Trump, I will do what I must.

  7. Christiane Smith March 2, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    “Politics driving the gospel rather than the other way around is the third temptation of Christ. He overcame it. Will we?”
    (Russell Moore)

  8. Gus Nelson March 2, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    Denny: Apparently my last comment was moderated away. I guess I am stunned at the logic that says A is bad, therefore regardless of B, which is worse, I’ll allow B to happen because I can’t possibly support A. I don’t care for Trump, but he is, in fact, winning the nomination fair and square. If evangelicals stay home or vote third party then Hillary will win. Is she a moral exemplar who somehow outshines Trump? I am aware of the notion that when the choice is between two evils, choose neither. However, when voting for president we are always choosing between two evils (at least at some level) since we are talking about fallible human beings. Was Mitt Romney somehow so much better because he was a “nice guy” even though he was a Mormon,and therefore, a complete denier of the true and living God?

    • Ike Lentz March 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

      Sorry, but even if you disagree with Hillary on every single issue, she doesn’t publicly demean disabled people, accept support from racists, and threaten people who disagree with her. Saying they’re both equally bad candidates minimizes how terrible Trump is. Evangelicals need to stop the equivocation and acting like this is a hard decision.

    • Matt Martin March 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

      Clinton is going to win against Trump. And social conservatives lose with either candidate anyways. So you might as well vote your conscious and choose an independent or third party candidate who best represents you.

  9. Curt Day March 2, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    I think one other party deserves blame for the current acceptance of Trump.That party is the Republican Party. For too long, both major parties have taken their members for granted belieiving that they could get the members to support the party’s preferred candidates while ignoring the people’s grievances. The fact that the Republicans who are embracing Trump are doing so because they have been mistreated by their political party would be meritorious if it were not for the fact that they exercising their independence by choosing Trump.

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