May 15, 2019

PUNDIT MAKES SHOCKING DISCOVERY THAT TRUMP IS GOOD AT POLITICS, AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT HAS LEARNED SOME LESSONS TOO:

But once Trump had prevailed in the primaries, the nominee’s campaign presented conservative evangelicals and Catholics with a deal: Throw your full and unrelenting support behind the party’s standard-bearer and he will vow to be your unstinting defender. No, he wouldn’t give eloquent and moving speeches in favor of building a “culture of life” in which every child is “welcomed in life and protected in law,” as President Bush had done throughout his eight years in office. But he would do something far more valuable: He would act, appointing hardline social conservatives to the federal courts and the Supreme Court at an unprecedented rate, and doing everything within the power of his office to advance the aims of the religious right on other fronts as well.

Social conservatives accepted this blatantly transactional arrangement — and the result has been striking. Loyalty to the president has translated into unceasing efforts on the part of the administration to win concrete victories for the religious right. At the state level, the support and encouragement of the White House has emboldened social conservatives to push their agenda faster and farther than ever before, especially when it comes to criminalizing and restricting access to abortion. And those restrictions will soon make their way to the nation’s highest court, where the president’s two appointees could well help to form a conservative majority in favor of gutting Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the landmark decisions that established a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

On one level, this is a dream come true for the religious right — the prospect of it achieving a long-sought victory on an issue that helped to galvanize the social-conservative movement more than 40 years ago. Yet on a deeper level, it represents a retreat from the high hopes that originally inspired that movement. Those hopes were rooted in a vision of politics as a form of proselytizing.

Like I said, the religious right has learned something, too.

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