Where Trump and Roy Moore Intersect (Hint: It isn’t Religion)

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Fred Shepherd says President Trump doesn't need to be religious to appeal to Alabama's evangelical voters.
Fred Shepherd says President Trump doesn't need to be religious to appeal to Alabama's evangelical voters.

Samford University

What do President Donald Trump and Roy Moore have in common? The president isn’t particularly religious. But Moore, whose evangelical Christian base carried him to victory Tuesday in the Republican primary for US Senate, might not need a Bible-toting president to win votes in the December general election. For more on this, we turn to Fred Shepherd, political scientist at Samford University.


Here are the highlights.


Does Trump need to embrace conservative Christian ideals to appeal to Moore voters?

No. He can make just the very least gesture in that direction. And it seems to work. So he’s not going to change his style at all. And again it’s just remarkable that this man from New York with his spotty past … who’s been on record as saying the sort of the most un-Christian things you could imagine, it’s still working for him and he’s gotten no message that he needs to change that.


Trump’s appeal among evangelical Christians 

If you look at it logically and substantively, there’s not really that much of a cross-section between the two. But it’s really not a logical thing. It’s much more of kind of a an emotional connection that’s taking place.


Can Doug Jones beat Moore in the general election?

I think there are a lot of people who identify themselves as conservative who won’t support Moore.  And so that’s the big question: Will they simply withdraw and refuse to support a Democrat or will Doug Jones be able to run the kind of campaign that could pull those people over? I think it’s also a question of style if he can present himself as the calm, get-down-to-business-type figure who has a lot of experience in government and he can of course go back to his his his really brave and commendable work prosecuting the 16th Street Church bombers. I don’t think it’s completely out of the question that he could do that but it’s really an uphill battle for him.


Gigi Douban

Gigi Douban

News Director