he support of white evangelicals for Donald Trump continues to exasperate and perplex. About 80 percent of them voted for him in 2016—the most recorded for a Republican candidate since 2000—and his approval rating among them remains high. In June, some 1,000 evangelical pastors plan to meet the president, both to “celebrate” his accomplishments (as one leading pastor put it) and to rally Christians for the midterm elections. Neither Trump’s relations with Stormy Daniels, nor his endorsement of alleged sexual abuser Roy Moore, nor his reference to “shithole” countries, nor his toxic tweets, recurrent racism, or general crudity, have proved a deterrent to most conservative Christians—to the dismay of many commentators.
Unofficial contacts play a very important role in shaping bilateral relations, be it economy, international problems, arms control, cultural or religious ties. Russians and Americans may agree or disagree but they should talk. Preachers have influence.
The United States is effectively bankrupt, but that doesn’t matter to the GOP. Once evangelists of fiscal responsibility and scourges of deficit spending, Republicans today glory in spilling red ink. The national debt is now $20.6 trillion, greater than the annual GDP of about $19.5 trillion. Alas, with Republicans at the helm, deficits are set to continue racing upwards, apparently without end.
When US President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu met the other day in Washington they tried to get along fairly well. The fundamental conflict between the US superpower and its political client state was watered down and rhetorically whitewashed. Obama has put up a brave front because he thinks of the day after leaving the White House and the election chances of Hillary Clinton. And Netanyahu was in great shape because he got all his wish fulfilled. A 50 % increase in subsidies, plus the most sophisticated warplanes in order to test them on the Palestinians and the neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Syria or Iran.