The Religious Right tends to dial up its gloom-and-doom predictions every election season in an attempt to scare its base into voting for candidates who will supposedly uphold “biblical values” (or, more likely, the far right’s narrow view of theology). This year is no different, but some religious zealots are taking scare tactics to a new level by suggesting that this could be the last presidential election ever in the United States.
Take a group called American Pastors Network (APN). They’re not the best-known Religious Right organization, but they make a splash once in a while with some unhinged comments.
Recently, APN issued a press release in which its president, Sam Rohrer, put forth the possibility that a victory for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton could spell doom for democracy.
No matter what happens next month, there will be more scenes like this in the future.
“There is no middle ground,” Rohrer claimed. “Not voting when the stakes are so high and the futures so different is to vote for the side that is given to fraud, corruption and the destruction of our constitutional republic.”
He added: “The stakes are much higher. The nations of the world are hanging much more on this outcome than perhaps ever before. And it’s no coincidence that many are saying that this may be the last real election in the nation….”
Why so glum? Because Clinton, Rohrer apparently believes, doesn’t like Christians and will harm them by appointing left-wing judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Hillary Clinton’s spokesperson has mocked Catholics and evangelicals as ‘severely backwards,’ and she herself called Donald Trump’s supporters ‘deplorables,’ which reveals much about what a Clinton/Kaine administration might do,” the press release stated.
Of course, Clinton herself never called evangelicals or Catholics “severely backwards,” and the Clinton staffers involved in those controversial emails have refuted the claims that they mocked Christians.
Clinton did call half of Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.” It wasn’t her best move, and she later apologized. But she gave no specifics about the makeup of that “half,” and it’s undeniable that at least some of Trump’s supporters do have some extreme views.
Sadly, such hysteria is not limited to the fringes of the far right. Earlier this year, before giving up on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and reluctantly embracing Trump, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins said a Cruz loss would mean there will never be another presidential election in the United States.
Of course, there is really nothing new here. Some radical conservatives insist without evidence that President Barack Obama will refuse to step down at the end of his term should Trump win. For some reason, these same groups never argued that Presidents George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan would resist peacefully transferring power at the end of their second terms.
It’s obvious that the Religious Right has a blind spot when it comes to Trump. After all, he’s the one who circulated the idea that this presidential election is “rigged,” and some of his supporters are pledging revolution if Clinton wins. Trump has also said he may not concede. How are those things not a serious threat to democracy?
The sad reality is the Religious Right has had difficulty pumping up Trump given all of his widely known moral failings. Instead, they’re doing anything they can to make Clinton seem scary. Even if this strategy succeeds and Trump wins the White House, the far right will have traded any integrity it had left for perceived political gain.