Last night, Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination to become the forty-fifth president of the United States. Before he announced his campaign on June 16, 2015, fewer than 23 percent of Republicans said they could vote for him. Across the next year, he vanquished sixteen political professionals and is now one step from the Oval Office.
Why did he win the nomination? Consider ten factors:
One: Trump is not a professional politician. Republicans’ trust in government is below 10 percent, its lowest point since polling began in the 1940s. Voters wanted a candidate who isn’t part of the “system” and says what he thinks regardless of political correctness. Trump’s claim, “I am your voice,” was met with resounding cheers last night.
Two: Trump has achieved success in the “real world.” His business employs over 22,000 people; Forbes estimates his personal net worth at $4.5 billion. Voters wanted someone who knows how to run things and embodies the American Dream.
Three: Trump has celebrity and name recognition. Americans love celebrities, as do news outlets. The New York Times estimates that Trump received $2 billion worth of free media coverage during the presidential primaries.
Four: Trump embodies voters’ anger. According to surveys, 67 percent of Americans say they are angry at the federal government; 84 percent are angry with Congress. Trump’s belligerence mirrors the spirit of the times.
Five: Trump promises to protect the religious freedom of Christians. A higher percentage than ever before believe it has become more difficult to be an evangelical Christian in recent years.
Six: Trump says he loves our nation. Seven in ten Republicans believe President Obama doesn’t love America. Trump’s supporters believe that their candidate ran for president for no reason except to serve our country.
Seven: Trump promises to defend us from our enemies. Seventy-six percent of Republicans believe that Islam is “at odds” with American values. Trump promises to keep terrorists out of our country and to rebuild our military.
Eight: Trump promises to control immigration. By more than a two-to-one margin, Republicans who supported Trump said immigrants weaken society.
Nine: Trump says he’ll protect American jobs. Many are frustrated with the economy and believe foreign trade is stealing our jobs. White working-class voters supported Trump in the primaries over all other GOP candidates combined.
Ten: Trump “can’t be bought.” According to Gallup, 75 percent of Americans believe corruption is widespread in our government. By self-funding his primary campaign, his supporters say, Trump did not sell himself to outside interests.
What does Donald Trump’s success say about our country? Many Americans are angry, afraid, skeptical, and frustrated. That’s bad news for our culture, but good news for the gospel.
I am truly grateful for those who choose public service. At the same time, no humans—whether they are presidents or CEOs, scientists or celebrities, soldiers or pastors—can meet the deepest needs of the human heart.
But Jesus can: “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). As Watchman Nee noted, “God will answer all our questions in one way and one way only. Namely, by showing us more of his Son.”
Discouraging times are the best times to show our Savior to our world.
NOTE: For more on last night’s Republican convention, please see Nick Pitts’s report on our Facebook page.