On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh needed to explain away the endorsement by a woman he admires, Sarah Palin, for a candidate he continually defends but does not support for the GOP's presidential nomination. He observed
The point is that if conservatism were this widely understood, deeply held belief system that united conservatives and united people as conservatives, then outsiders like Trump wouldn't stand a prayer of getting support from people. Yet he is. Therefore, it's safe to conclude that there are other things at play here that make people conservative. And look, I'm gonna go back to it.
The thing that's in front of everybody's face and it's apparently so hard to believe, it's this united, virulent opposition to the left and the Democrat Party and Barack Obama. And I, for the life of me, don't know what's so hard to understand about that.
For much of the Republican base, feeling has always been paramount. The candidate needs to feel the grievances he or she does, and must express it well, as do Trump and Palin. Logic and evidence are optional, and generally nowhere in sight.
Akin to that is the sense that the candidate cares about what they themselves care about or feel. The leading GOP candidate stated (segment below) at Libery University "Two Corinthians, 3:17. That's the whole ballgame. 'Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And here is liberty." There was a bit of chuckling, and later a little ridicule, because Trump referred to "Two Corinthians" rather than "Second Corinthians."
Less discussed was Trump's remark, in reference to 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Is that the one? Is that the one you like? I think that's the one you liked, because I love it."
Here is Trump at his Trumpest- telling people he's pandering to them. It was similar to his irreverent pronouncement while campaigning in August in Birch Run, Michigan that The Art of the Deal was only "my second favorite book of all time. Do you know what my first is? The Bible! Nothing beats the Bible."
Perhaps Trump was channeling the '80s commercials with the tagline "Nobody beats the WIZ" because no evangelical ever will compare the Bible to any book. If you believe it is divinely inspired, it is incomparable, in a category of its own, not unlike Aaron Rodgers as a quarterback. Or maybe even unlike that.
But they love the pander, as reflected in the remark of a Liberty University senior "I think the fact that he's putting forth an effort to relate to us is omething decent." Translated: He may not believe it, but at least he cares enough about us that he's saying what he knows we want to hear.
They have to like the effort, because he doesn't talk like they do. In Michigan, it was "nothing beats the Bible." In Lynchburg, it was "Two Corinthians." Also, in Lynchburg it was "I'm a Protestant. I'm very proud of it. Presbyterian, to be exact. But I'm very proud of it; very, very proud of it."
Few people (outside of Northern Ireland) refer to themselves these days as "Protestant." Roman Catholics may refer to themselves as "Catholic" and some Catholics (and possibly Orthodox Christians) as well as many Protestants refer to themselves as "Christian." But "Protestant?" Sad to say- as Trump would word it- very, very few.
Having declared himself "Protestant," it was a wise move to add the sect, Presbyterianism. Still, not many Americans confess to being proud of their religious affiliation, especially if passed on to them by their parents. They may assert pride in their Christian faith or belief but rarely admit to pride in being Catholic or Protestant. If not politically incorrect, it is sociologically incorrect. But then as Trump would proudly assert, there is nothing correct or conventional about his campaign.