Which Way is the Wind Blowing: The Limits of Gullibility and Tribalism

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Aardvark does not enumerate unhatched chickens, but please check out Roy Moore and the Invisible Religious Right:

Last month, after several women had credibly accused her husband, Roy Moore, of trying to seduce them when he was in his thirties and they were in their teens, Kayla Moore published on her Facebook page an open letter, signed by about fifty Alabama pastors, supporting her husband’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. …   The letter was a sham. …

Once you got beyond the ghosts and the real-estate agents, what was most notable about the pastors on Moore’s list was their obscurity. I found a list of the pastors of the thirty-six largest churches in Alabama, assembled this summer by the Web site of the Birmingham News; no pastor on that list appeared on Moore’s. I called leaders within the deeply conservative Southern Baptist Church—the largest denomination in Alabama and, for decades, the core of the religious right—and was told that not a single affiliated Southern Baptist pastor in the state was openly allied with Moore. …

Many evangelical leaders experienced Donald Trump’s ascendance as a personal emergency. Some pastors watched, with dismay and confusion, as members of their congregations defended the moral character of a flamboyantly immoral casino mogul turned politician. During the primaries, the major evangelical pastors were generally allied with other candidates (polls tended to find that they preferred Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz), but, as the campaign developed, and as polls continued to find that evangelical voters held a strong preference for Trump, that general resistance began to weaken. Some pastors talked themselves into Donald Trump, while others remained horrified but kept quiet. “I was flabbergasted that pastors would get up and talk about the goodness of Donald Trump,” John Thweatt, who is the president of the conservative Alabama Baptist Convention, told me this week. “I was really flabbergasted that we were going to throw away Biblical values and dictates because he’s going to fit our party line.”

And now this: