I don’t know that you can compare CBN’s David Brody to Univision’s Jorge Ramos in terms of his influence among a particular American demographic (white conservative evangelicals for the former, Latinos for the latter). But Brody’s a pretty big deal with a pretty big audience. And that’s why his reaction to Donald Trump’s confrontation with Ramos is well worth noting:
[W]hat makes this incident such a winning proposition for Trump is that anytime you take on the liberal, agenda-seeking mainstream media you win. Ramos tried to grandstand and hijack the press conference and Trump stood up to him. This is not an easy task. Many politicians wouldn’t have the stomach for the fight or if they did engage, they wouldn’t have turned the tables as deftly as Trump. That’s what voters want. They want a fighter. They want someone who is going to dish it back to agenda-setting reporters. You see, when it comes to the liberal mainstream media, conservative voters hold a true disdain for the lot of them but they don’t feel they have the power or bully pulpit to fight back against them. Trump is their bully pulpit. Trump is their voice. And that my friends, is the magic of Trump. Jorge Ramos wanted to expose Trump on immigration. Instead, he exposed why Trump is growing in popularity across America. Trump turned the tables. He’s the maestro conductor of this 2016 presidential election. He leads. Others follow.
Wow. I’d betcha Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry–you know, the Republican presidential candidates thought to be competing for the Christian Right vote–would kill to get this kind of praise from Brody. And they are probably, and rightly, furious that it’s going to a dude whose connection to religion is tenuous at best. Recall that Trump’s the guy who seemed puzzled by the idea of asking God for forgiveness for his sins.
Notes Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches:
Give Trump credit for one thing: exposing, in plain view, that much of the religious right is driven more by politics than by religion; that is, more by mythology than theology. The usual demands that candidates pledge their fealty to the Bible, to the Christian nation, to the idea that America is in decline because of secularism have been suspended for Trump. That’s befuddling many observers. But the Trump phenomenon exposes how the piety test is often a proxy for other, irreligious motives.
As someone who regularly lashes Christian Right folk for divinizing entirely secular cultural impulses, I couldn’t agree more. But I would have figured they’d find a political hero a bit more prone to paying lip-service to their formal belief-system.