Charisma Caucus

Donald Trump Has an Opportunity With Evangelicals

Donald Trump at Values Voters Summit
Donald Trump has an open opportunity to win over evangelicals, if he takes one piece of advice, David Brody writes. (Reuters photo)

He went there. This morning the question being asked is whether Donald Trump has finally crossed the line. Let's face it; it's not politically correct to call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," and Trump knows this. But as he has said countless times, he doesn't have time for political correctness. He believes this country doesn't have time for political correctness. It's worked for him so far. Trump went big and bold. It's why his supporters love him and why his critics can't stand him.

This is classic Donald Trump. He loves to go for the big shocking statements and generalizations (Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, Hispanics love me, evangelicals love me, I'm the most militaristic person ever, I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created). This is what he does, and even his critics will admit that it's been effective from a political standpoint. In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump made a very clear point on how he operates. He said back then: "A little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. ... It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion."

So once again, Donald Trump has grabbed the headlines away from other candidates. Good or bad, Trump would rather have the media talking about him and his views rather than spending as much time on the other candidates. When other candidates get more airtime, that's bad for business. But now comes the hard part, and I'm not talking about the political fallout.

While the media will beat him up with talk about how this move is hateful and unconstitutional, Trump needs to follow up his bold statement about Muslims and delve in to the deeper discussion of why radical Islamic terrorists hate our way of life. In other words, if Trump is going to come out with a statement like he did about all Muslims, then he might as well go for the whole enchilada, which is explaining the underlying theological problems with Islam and the Quran. What does he have to lose at this point? Clearly, he's trying to figure out why there is so much hate coming from a segment of the Muslim community.

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Well, he needs to bring in experts to better explain the situation. He started to hit at it last night when he told the audience, "They want to change your religion." The truth is radical Islamists do indeed want to establish a global caliphate in which everyone lives under Muslim rule. But he can't leave it there. He has an opportunity to shed light in this area because he has such a huge powerful megaphone. Will he do it? Can he do it? Once again, if he can't (and he will be the first to admit that he is no expert on this) then find some people that can and lead the discussion. That's what leaders do. They don't just point out problems and move on. They bring something up and then take steps to figure it out.

You know, Trump takes pride in saying how he led the way on the immigration discussion. Well now, he has a real opening to do the same here. One last thought, The Brody File has always believed that the only person who can defeat Donald Trump is Donald Trump. Even his closest allies know this. I also believe that all along, this has been a game of, "Don't Spill the Beans." Do you remember it? The object is to toss all of your plastic beans into the pot without tipping it over and "spilling the beans." Trump has deposited plenty of beans into that pot during this campaign. Will this be the bean that tips the pot over?

The Brody File predicts that won't happen. And when it comes to evangelicals, Trump has a real opportunity here to thoughtfully delve into the taboo issues of what is in the Quran, that is, Sharia Law and jihad. But it can't be just shock value on stage. It can't be just for huge applause lines. To resonate with evangelicals, it will have to be deeper than that. He can forge a deeper connection with evangelicals if he'll have the courage to be a truth-teller on the core issue, which lies in the teachings of the Quran. If he makes it about just banning Muslims into America then that is shortsighted and he will lose politically. But if he turns this into a movement to get Islamic leaders to denounce Sharia and jihad (concepts that are in their own book) and moves the ball down the field in that regard, then he'll resonate with evangelicals on this issue.

I'm not saying Islamic leaders will be listening to Trump on this because of his past statements, but evangelicals are listening and they want to hear the unvarnished truth about the concerns regarding Islam spoken without a filter. Trump has no problem speaking without a filter, that's for sure.

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