Charisma Caucus

Why Trump's Carson Slam Will Backfire With Evangelicals

Let's get straight to the point: Donald Trump mocking Ben Carson's belt buckle story is a bad move. Here's some Brody File analysis:

First of all, here's what Trump doesn't understand: the real meaning of the belt buckle story is not what happened in that moment of anger. It's what happened afterward. God got a hold of him and he gave his life to Jesus Christ.  That's why evangelicals love the guy. It's a story of redemption and should not be mocked. Period. Trump will not endear himself to evangelicals in Iowa or any other state for that matter with this kind of talk. It's uncalled for. There is absolutely no political upside to doing this. Trump is flamboyant and in your face, and that's part of what folks like about him. But save that for George Will, Karl Rove and other GOP establishment types.

Secondly, Trump talks about how you can't cure a pathological disease that Carson himself said he had when it came to his anger. Well, newsflash: Without Jesus, that's correct. But with Jesus, all things are possible. Jesus changes lives. It's called the Holy Spirit. There are countless examples of people who were the worst of the worst and then gave their lives over to Jesus and became new people in Christ. Let's start with the apostle Paul, who killed Christians for a living before becoming one of the great men of the Bible. It's called being "born again." So when Trump says there's no cure, he's wrong. Jesus cures. Does that mean someone becomes perfect after they receive Jesus Christ? No, of course not. Jesus was the only one who lived a perfect, sinless life. But those who authentically surrender to Christ do in fact have changed lives. So Trump is wrong on this account too. When evangelicals across the country hear him say that you can't change your pathological nature, they roll their eyes and think, "With Jesus you can."

Look, I have no idea if this tirade against Ben Carson in Iowa will be Trump's undoing. That's been predicted countless times and it's never happened. I'm not about to predict that this will be the final nail in the coffin. However, from strictly an evangelical analysis perspective, it makes no sense for Trump to attack Carson. Why? Because the media is already after him, looking for every nook and cranny, so there's no need for Trump to pile on. It's not a good strategic move. Remember, this isn't about Trump trying to convince Carson supporters to switch to his side. That ain't happening. Rather, he needs to convince evangelicals who are undecided to come his way. Why tick them off? His rant against Carson does him no favors.


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