Donald Trump negs the church

Pickup Artist in Chief

Hey, Rebecca:

I’m pretty sure you know what “negging” is. It’s a term used in the “pickup artist community” — ugh — that describes the act of insulting a woman to undermine her self esteem and, ultimately, make her susceptible to a man’s c’mons. It’s gross, manipulative, and kind of evil.

Hey, speaking of which, here’s Donald Trump asking evangelical pastors for their help in the coming midterm elections, talking about the law that prevents churches from endorsing candidates … if they receive an exemption from their taxes.*

“Maybe it’s why you are very plateaued. I hate to say it, if you were a stock, you’d be like, you’re very plateaued,” Mr. Trump said, prompting laughter in the room. “I really believe you’re plateaued because you can’t speak. They really have silenced you. But now you’re not silenced anymore.”

It says something about Donald Trump that he can’t ask for help without trying to take down the helper a peg or two. And it’s also telling that the technique he uses to make his sale has so much in common with the practices of toxic, awful men.

The metaphor only goes so far. Conservative Christians are getting something for their association with Donald Trump: Judges, judges, and more judges. If the church is a tribe, it makes sense. If it exists to help bring people into faith, well, Trump is damaging the cause greatly. A change in tax law probably won’t change that.

Sincerely, Joel

*PS: The law is fair: If you’re going to take what amounts to a subsidy from the government, you make a tradeoff. Lots of people might give up their First Amendment rights to get a tax break. But it’s not available to the rest of us.

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