President Donald Trump's overwhelming support from evangelical Christians slipped during the 2020 election as President-elect Joe Biden managed to sway a substantial margin of those voters. Now, Trump's campaign team is searching for someone to blame for its election defeat, according to Politico.
Initially, Trump's campaign advisors and Christian allies dismissed the poll projections that suggested a decline in his support among religious voters, insisting the president delivered for his religious supporters throughout his term.
"You can look at the polls but at the end of the day, the president will perform very well with Catholic voters because he has delivered for them in so many ways," Mercedes Schlapp, a Catholic and senior advisor for the Trump campaign, said.
But surveys focused on early voters and exit polls show that religious voters may have had a sizable impact on the outcome of the election. Politico highlighted one glaring example that explains how the slippage impacted Trump's election performance:
"There is perhaps no better illustration of how the Trump campaign failed to neutralize the threat of Biden's outreach to Christian voters than in Kent County, Mich. An evangelical enclave in the Midwestern battleground state, the county gave Biden 50,000 more votes this cycle than Clinton drew four years earlier, ultimately flipping it from red to blue."
One of Trump's campaign advisors has warned the next Republican presidential nominee not to assume Christian conservatives will automatically back the party in 2024.
"When we look back on this moment from the lens of, 'Here's what the Republican nominee needs to do to win in 2024,' I hope there will be people saying we shouldn't take Christian conservatives for granted," said one adviser to the Trump campaign, who added that future GOP presidential hopefuls "should never again assume white evangelicals can't be persuaded by the right candidate with a D next to his or her name."