Calling your political opponent “the devil” may seem like a desperate cry for attention from a failing campaign, but when it comes to Donald Trump, there is no such thing as a low blow. Insinuating your primary rival’s wife is ugly? Fair game. Questioning whether said rival’s father participated in the assassination of President Kennedy? Have at it. But Donald Trump’s latest line of attacks against Hillary Clinton coupled with surrogate Ben Carson’s statements have been uniquely frightening.
At the Republican National Convention in July, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson gave a bizarre and rambling speech where he painted a portrait of a God-less America under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Of course. How could we ever be expected to trust a woman who nearly fifty years ago had correspondence with a man who “acknowledges” Satan? Hillary Clinton’s ties to Saul Alinsky have been scrutinized since the 1990’s during her husband’s first run for the presidency. Back then she was seen as sympathizing with Alinsky’s supposed ties to leftist organizations. In reality, Saul Alinsky’s methods of community organizing were very moderate by today’s standards. Today’s right wing has resurrected the old attack against her relationship with Alinsky, but given it a new coat of paint. Very soon after Ben Carson’s unorthodox rant, Donald Trump began to call Hillary Clinton “the devil” during his stump speeches.
It makes some sense, from a strategic point of view. While Donald Trump has done a decent job of shoring up support from Evangelical Christian voters, there is still a significant faction of religious right voters who do not trust him. Trump and Carson are shifting the narrative to appeal to those hold-outs. This election is not only a fight to take back the country, but an existential fight for Christianity in America. Ben Carson’s statements have been particularly concerning. He portrays Trump as a Messiah figure who is the last line of defense against the Lucifer-linked Hillary Clinton who will champion a “secular progressive agenda” that is “antithetical to the principles of the founding of this nation.” According to Ben Carson, Donald Trump is humble. So humble that he does not bring up all of the kind and charitable deeds he has done. Never mind the evidence (courtesy of David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post) that he has donated very little of his own money to charity over the past decade. But even if that is true, Ben Carson explains that God acts in mysterious ways. You see, as Ben Carson points out, “throughout the Bible, there are many examples where God could carry out his will utilizing a particular ruler.” And to the people who doubt that Donald Trump is God’s chosen messenger, Ben Carson has this to say: “God’s will can be carried out in a number of ways. I think we underestimate God when we say he can’t work through this person or that person. Because, you know, we’re making ourselves God, and he’s much greater than we are.” And who are we to doubt God’s judgement?
Donald Trump is no Christ. But according to him, Hillary Clinton is the devil. Donald Trump’s campaign has done a good job of attacking Hillary Clinton from all angles over the past few months, but this line of attack is disturbing and should not go unnoticed. Donald Trump is not your savior, and Hillary Clinton is more of a Christian than Trump has ever been.