If Trump Won in ’16 by a Divine Hand, What Would a ’20 Loss Mean?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


Re-posted from RealClearReligion July 16, 2020. By Myra AdamsRCP Contributor

According to practically every polling and data metric (except fundraising and enthusiasm among President Donald Trump’s base), the president’s reelection prospects look bleak. Nonetheless, his loyal supporters predict victory while continuously reciting these popular mantras:

“All the polls in 2016 showed him losing.”

“Trump supporters lie to pollsters.”

“Polls do not reflect Trump’s secret support.”

On Tuesday, the president reaffirmed those sentiments in a Rose Garden “press conference” that sounded more like a rally speech. Confident of reelection, he also said, “I think we’re doing very well in the polls, and I think you have a silent majority, the likes of which this country has never seen before.”

Trump’s base, armed with that same optimism and great faith, trusts that American voters will keep the incumbent in the White House. The alternative is unthinkable — dystopian havoc, the “end of America” as we know it — if “radical-left socialists” and their “puppet” Joe Biden take power.

Practically the same fears were voiced by the same people in 2016 when, leading up to Election Day, Hillary Clinton was all but officially coronated.

Then, on Nov. 8, against all odds, Trump won a stunning victory. Supporters widely attributed the upset to divine intervention. Count me among them, evidenced by a piece I wrote the following day, “President Trump: Divine Intervention Is the Only Explanation.”

Coordinated prayer efforts encouraging Godly intervention were intense, massive, national, and international — especially in Jerusalem — facilitating the desired outcome exactly when needed.

Chronicling the “coincidental timing” was a Nov. 9 report on the conservative news site World Net Daily headlined “Signs of Divine Intervention in Trump victory.” The title image was captioned, “New York Times graph displaying ‘Chance of Winning Presidency’ in real time.” The graph prominently showcases 9:20 p.m. EST when the election results turned in Trump’s favor and the article quotes some prominent religious and political activists who were involved with the coordinated prayer events.

But that was a “simpler” time. Now our nation has dramatically shifted and changed. No one knows what the heck is going on, what plans to make, or what to expect. Thus, whenever my husband and I discuss the presidential election, he usually concludes with the same refrain, “God is in control.” And I agree, prompting the question:

If Trump was elected due to divine intervention, then would his loss mean that God did not intervene? Furthermore, would a Trump loss be interpreted as the Lord rendering judgment on him?

Statistically speaking on a more earthly plane, if Trump wins — given his dismal mid-July job approval rating — that would be “miraculous” compared to the last two reelected presidents at this same time in the campaign cycle.

According to Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics polling average, President Trump’s job approval is 41.9% with 55.1% disapproving of his performance, a -13.2 percentage point spread.

On July 20, 2012, President Barack Obama’s average job approval was virtually tied at 47% with 47.6% disapproving.

President George W. Bush’s job approval average on July 18, 2004, was 47.1% while 48.5% disapproved, a tiny -1.4 percentage point difference.

Since I am curious about the prospects of another Trump “divine intervention” while the nation is suffering through the triple scourge of a pandemic, severe recession, and racial/cultural upheaval, I turned to an evangelical expert.

Dr. Michael Brown hosts the nationally syndicated “Line of Fire” broadcast and is the author of 40 books. In his latest — “Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?” — he explores the evangelical arguments for and against Trump and then offers a 10-point strategy showing how we can vote for Trump without selling our souls in the process.

Recently, in conjunction with his new book, Dr. Brown wrote an op-ed headlined “Can Trump Be Reelected Without Divine Intervention?” The title is the flip side to his Nov. 9, 2016, op-ed: “Donald Trump, President of the United States by the Sovereign Intervention of God.”

In that earlier piece, I was intrigued by Brown’s concluding sentence:

In short, if Trump indeed is president by divine intervention, we should pray for divine restraint on his life as well, lest this divine wrecking ball wreak havoc on the nation while tearing down what is wrong. May he be a divinely guided wrecking ball!

I asked Brown if he would comment on that statement through the lens of this question: “If Trump loses in 2020, does that mean God did not intervene?” He responded:

Looking back four years later, it’s clear that President Trump has done a lot of good, keeping many of his promises tenaciously, but there has been a lot of collateral damage in the process. So, the wrecking ball has swung freely, demolishing some things that needed to come down while destroying some others that didn’t need to. But that could all be part of God’s purpose in raising up Trump. He has revealed a lot about the nation – from the extreme bias of the media to the radical leftism of the Democrats to compromise and division among evangelicals. God is the ultimate 4D chess player.

Brown also answered my second question: “If Trump is defeated, is that God’s judgment on him?”

No one said that eight years were guaranteed, or that God could not have a purpose in appointing Trump as president for one term. It’s just like God’s purpose during a sports event. It may not be that your team wins the game but rather grows in character. In the same way, God’s reasons for raising up Trump may not always align with our own perspectives. That being said, from an entirely human vantage point, I would say that if he is not reelected, he has only himself to blame, since, despite all the hostility from the left, if he behaved in a more decent way, he would not have alienated so many allies.

It is far easier to ask questions about the controversial topic of presidential divine intervention and judgment than to provide answers. Therefore, I thank Dr. Brown for his thoughtful responses, but for now, I will only answer both questions with my husband’s all-purpose and always true refrain, “God is in control.”

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