Inside the Influential Evangelical Group Mobilizing to Reelect Trump

25 May 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump prays during an “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition launch event in Miami on Jan. 3, 2020. (Photo: Marco Bello / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

United In Purpose was at the epicenter of a pivotal 2016 meeting between a thousand evangelical leaders and Trump, during which he sealed an alliance by promising to nominate judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from using tax-exempt resources to endorse political candidates.

UIP promises to be one of the most vital weapons in Trump’s reelection arsenal this year.

The Intercept reports:

But the group, whose supporters include major donors to conservative causes, pastors, and political operatives with decades of winning elections, is serious about serving as the tip of the spear to maintain control of the White House. UIP’s 2020 election plan — which it calls “Ziklag,” a town referenced in the Bible — is a multipronged effort to connect Trump with evangelical leaders and increase support among minority voters through appeals to faith-based messages and church outreach.

UIP did not respond to a request for comment.

And, perhaps most importantly, it plans to use data mining to identify millions of new voters and target them with cheap ads on Facebook. The pandemic, speakers noted on the call, means that they must work overtime to compensate for the effects of mail-in voting.

The unprecedented campaign would mobilize what they call “dormant evangelical and conservative Catholic voters,” with a focus on appealing to religious affiliation as a way to compensate for Trump’s relative lack of support among nonwhite voters. They expect to focus on reducing Democratic support among African Americans and older, religiously active Latino voters in particular, as they tend to hold far more culturally conservative, devout religious views than white liberals.

UIP, though not a well known group, has emerged in recent years as the essential conduit connecting the religious right to the Trump administration.

UIP plans to replicate the 2016 campaign event. But this year, the focus will be on minority faith-based voters.

UIP plans to replicate the 2016 campaign event, which was high-profile enough to generate headlines around evangelical support for Trump. But this year, the focus will be on minority outreach. During the call, UIP’s Brian Burch said that the group hopes to host an event for Trump to meet and pledge support to African American and Latino church leaders.

Burch added that UIP has already “made a series of grants to partners focused in key states” to begin efforts to reach minority faith-based voters.

Ralph Reed, a major figure in evangelical outreach for President George W. Bush, addressed the April call to provide what he called a “macro political picture” of the election ahead. In rapid succession Reed explained previous election results, comparing Trump to Mitt Romney to argue that lower turnout among African Americans in battleground Rust Belt states had been key to GOP success.

And so on. An uncomfortable read.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It is strange to watch these self righteous quasi christians turn their god into a mere servant of their politics, just as He is quoted saying in the NT, in the statement about trying to serve two masters. We see which one they have come to hate while besmirching his name in every way possible.

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