One of the many paradoxes of the Trump era is that our unusual president couldn’t have been elected, and couldn’t survive politically today, without the support of religious conservatives … but at the same time his ascent was intimately connected to the secularization of conservatism, and his style gives us a taste of what to expect from a post-religious right.
The second point was clear during the Republican primaries, when the most reliable churchgoers tended to prefer Ted Cruz but the more secular part of the party was more Trumpist. But it was obscured in the general election, and since, by the fact that evangelical voters especially rallied to Trump and have generally stood by him.
Now, though, a new survey reveals the extent to which a basic religious division still exists within Trump’s Republican Party. The churchgoers who ultimately voted for Trump over Clinton still tend to hold different views than his more secular supporters, and the more religious part of the G.O.P. is still the less Trumpist portion — meaning less populist on economics, but also less authoritarian and tribal on race and identity.
Ross Douthat, « Conservatism After Christianity. A new survey reveals the Republican Party’s religious divide », The New York Times, 15 sept. 2018.