The Trump campaign on Monday sent out an email blast saying Joe Biden’s record on LGBT issues is “nothing to be proud of,” adding that the former vice president is “far from the champion for LGBT Americans that he claims to be.”
The implication being, of course, that Trump is the champion of LGBT causes. Trump’s grandstanding about his progressive views on those issues could cause evangelicals to rethink their support for the president when they go to the polls in November.
The left, for its part, has been screeching for the last four years, with scant evidence, that Trump has done everything in his power to undermine and roll back LGBT rights. The Trump campaign denies the charges, bragging in the TRUMP PRIDE section of its website that Trump “is the only President to openly support the LGBTQ community since his first day in office.”
“President Trump stands in solidarity with LGBT citizens by supporting and enacting policies and initiatives that protect the wellbeing and prosperity of all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans,” the statement adds, noting that Trump was the first president “to begin his presidency in support of marriage equality.”
“Through his bold plan to end the HIV epidemic to his global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in the 69 nations where it is illegal, President Trump has proven himself to be a strong advocate for the LGBT community both at home and abroad,” the statement concludes.
The far-left Human Rights Campaign, on the other hand, has a list of Trump policies and decisions that don’t align with the LGBT agenda:
- Appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
- Removing mentions of LGBTQ issues from the official White House website
- Removing references on the website to former Secretary of State John Kerry’s apology for the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s and 1960s, along with information about Pride Month observances
- Signing an executive order to begin work on the border wall (yes, that’s apparently an LGBT issue too)
- Announcing that it will “no longer challenge a nationwide hold on protections for transgender students”
- The Department of Education’s decisions to revoke the Obama administration’s guidance on trans students in school bathrooms and locker rooms
- Ben Carson’s HUD announcing that it would not require homeless shelters to post a list of rights afforded LGBT people
- Suspending surveys of the elderly to ask about their sexual orientation
The items are mostly weak sauce, hardly worthy of the left’s dystopian nightmares regarding Trump. The HRC fails to mention that Trump appointed Richard Grenell—first as ambassador to Germany and then as his director of National Intelligence, making him the first openly gay individual to hold that position and the first appointed to a cabinet position.
The email blast from the Trump campaign derided Biden’s slowness in coming around to support the LGBT moral revolution, noting that, among other things, Biden voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and didn’t come out in support of same-sex marriage until 2012. The email points out that even former Vice President Dick Cheney beat Biden to that position, announcing his support for same-sex marriage during the 2000 campaign.
While it’s generally a good thing for campaigns to build coalitions and add to their support base, the move to present Trump as the champion of LGBT rights could backfire, hurting him with conservative evangelical voters who have been among his most loyal supporters.
No doubt support for the LGBT agenda has grown in recent years, even among Republicans and self-described conservatives. A 2019 Pew poll found that 44% of Republicans and Republican leaners now support same-sex marriage, while 75% of Democrats and Democrat leaners do. Among white evangelicals, support for same-sex marriage has grown from 11% in 2004 to 29% today.
That still leaves 71% of evangelical voters, and 56% of Republicans, who have yet to jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.
Moreover, a Public Religion Research Institute poll discovered last year that support for LGBT issues has eroded among individuals under the age of 30, falling by nearly 10% between 2015 and 2018, perhaps as the result of bullying and legal actions directed toward people who haven’t yet submitted to the demands of the LGBT revolutionaries.
While no one likes to talk about gay marriage anymore—that ship has sailed, after all—a wide swath of Americans still believes—despite the near-constant lectures and hectoring from Hollywood types and our moral and ethical betters in the media—that marriage is between one man and one woman, period. The view is based on their deeply held religious convictions, which Trump claims to share. His campaign’s decision to trumpet his support for LGBT issues only highlights the fact that he’s out of step with this segment of his base.
Trump needs his evangelical base to turn out for him in November, probably in record numbers, in order to win. Bragging about his progressive pro-LGBT bona fides may not the way accomplish that. While doing so may result in an increased number of LBGT voters pulling the lever for the president, that support must be weighed against the risk of disaffecting social conservatives.
That the president doesn’t share their view on the sanctity of marriage—and is now flaunting his support for the LGBT revolutionaries—won’t sit well with many in his evangelical base. While it’s true that evangelicals supported Trump in large numbers in 2016 despite his views on expanded LGBT rights, back then he kept his comments on the issue low-key and equivocal.
Now it seems Trump is shouting his support for LGBT causes from the rooftops, taking it to the next level in a bid to woo LGBT voters. Many in the evangelical community fear, rightly so, that their deeply-held religious beliefs will be increasingly criminalized in the coming years. Despite Trump’s vows to defend religious liberty, his open support for the moral revolutionaries—who continue their long march to eradicate what they view as disordered beliefs about marriage and sexuality—may, in the eyes of some supporters, be seen as a warning sign about Trump’s intentions for his second term, when he no longer needs evangelical support.
The president needs to tread very carefully on this issue. Alienating the 71% of evangelicals who still believe in the sanctity of marriage could depress voter turnout—and perhaps even sink him in November.
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