Last Week, Today: Ok, what do we make of Trump? Or Drumpf?

1. Ok, what do we make of Trump? Or Drumpf?

One of the more significant results of Donald Trump's victories on Super Tuesday was that he won both hardcore conservative states as well as some traditionally democratic ones like Massachusetts.

  • The NYT has a profile of the diverse reasons why voters, including longtime Democrats, are supporting Trump.
  • A PhD student finds that the top predictor of Trump supporters isn't age or income or education, but "authoritarianism" (noteworthy: regular church attendance predicts substantive opposition towards Trump).
  • What would a Trump presidency do to motivate his racist fan-base? See thisclip of how a black woman, protesting a Trump rally, was pushed and slapped by white men on her way out. Also noteworthy is how Trump's momentum isprompting black Republicans to leave the GOP party. 
  • Jonathan Merritt sees a silver lining: Trump's rise signals that Religious Right leaders no longer wield the power that they used to over the evangelical base, which might be good news for the evangelical movement . 

Michael tweeted, "If anything, the success of Trump should show us what an awful idea it would be for Christians to unilaterally withdraw from public life."

Fun fact: John Oliver, a comedian, points out that Trump's actual last name is "Drumpf." The Upshot finds that "Donald Drumpf" is the second most-searched candidate's name, after "Donald Trump," beating out Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. 

2. On Dying and Reckoning with the Prosperity Gospel

Kate Bowler, a Canadian professor at Duke Divinity School who researches the prosperity gospel movement, is a 35-year-old mother who is dying of cancer. In this poignant interview with Morgan Lee, Bowler expands our vocabulary of what it means to suffer with faith. She describes the beauty that she sees in the determined faith of those who believe in a gospel of prosperity, as well as how suffering has brought her closer to understanding the "secret of the Kingdom" (living out, in her way, the Beatitudes). 

3. Meet the "Nones," the Democratic Party's biggest faith constituency

This is perhaps the best story reported on the "Nones," the Democrat Party's parallel to GOP's evangelicals, and their effect on the political campaigns. What "Nones," a cohort that is as large as evangelicals but is less organized, want from the president: "Be ethical, but go light on the God talk." Sanders, so far, has a huge lead among Nones. The rise of Nones will likely have a huge effect on political rhetoric and the culture wars. 

4. The Fight over Obama's Legacy: Clinton v. Sanders

"The 2016 Democratic primary has been a litigation of the Obama years, and of whether the president’s 2008 campaign vow of 'change we can believe in' succeeded or failed," Joy-Ann Reid, an MSNBC national correspondent, writes. 
Hillary Clinton believes Obama has succeeded and that we must improve upon it, whereas Bernie Sanders implicitly argues that Obama did not bring about the sweeping revolution that our country needs.

5. Why Electing Hillary in '16 is More Important than Electing Obama in '08

Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for Obama, explains how he changed his mind on Hillary Clinton after working with her in the White House. Clinton "isn't cool or hip" and has "made plenty of mistakes," but "she cares. She tries. She perseveres."  

But can Clinton convince those who hold her accountable for her policies in the '90s that she really has changed? Ashley Williams, an organizer, confronted Clinton with her remarks in 1996 on how "gangs of kids" are now "super-predators" in a private speech last weekend. Clinton didn't address Williams, who was escorted out of the building, and apologize a day later. Sarah Ngu dissects Clinton's apology, arguing that while Clinton apologized for her word-choice, she never addressed the worldview that lay behind those comments.

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