Trump’s Campaign in 2016 Was a Populist Revolt. In 2024, It’s a Quest for Retribution
For the LA Times, columnist Doyle McManus analyzes the prospect of former President Donald Trump abusing his power if elected president in 2024. Noting that Trump has called for investigations, indictments, and jail for his critics, McManus writes that Trump’s 2024 campaign is not a continuation of his populist-conservative policies, it is a crusade for revenge. Some anti-Trump Republicans have spoken out, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who recently said “His base loves the authoritarian streak.” PRRI’s 2023 American Values Survey found when asked whether they think the country is “so far off track [that] we need a leader who is willing to break some rules,” most Trump supporters (54%) agreed.
Texas Supreme Court Temporarily Halts Court-Approved Abortion
J. David Goodman reports for The New York Times that on Friday the Texas Supreme Court temporarily halted a lower court’s order allowing Kate Cox to obtain an abortion based on a fatal fetal anomaly following an appeal from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton previously sent letters to three Houston hospitals that if an abortion was allowed they would not be protected from eventual prosecution or civil lawsuits. Lawyers for Cox’s doctor have stated that she believes her patient’s abortion is medically necessary to preserve her health and future fertility. PRRI research finds that 57% of Texans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Elon Musk Restores X Account of Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones
The Associated Press reports that Elon Musk has restored the X account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after a poll came out in favor of the Infowars host. Jones is best known for promoting the conspiracy theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax to tighten gun restrictions; he and Infowars were banned from Twitter in 2018 for abusive behavior. Family members of Sandy Hook victims were awarded nearly $1.5 billion for the harassment and threats they endured from Jones’ followers. PRRI research finds that Republicans who most trust far-right news (47%) are far more likely to believe in conspiracy theories such as QAnon than those who do not trust TV news (26%).
Preaching to Polarized Congregations: A Responsibility and a Challenge, Clergy Say
For Religion News Service, Adelle M. Banks reports on the approaches clergy are taking to reach their congregations amid increasingly tense circumstances. Andrew Hanauer, president and CEO of One America Movement, a Maryland-based organization that supports leaders of congregations across faith traditions, asked: “How do you preach in a way that moves people out of complacency […] but also lets them know this is not a Democratic church or a Republican church, it’s a church for all God’s people?” Banks writes that clergy have been fueled by their work in comedy, psychology, and theology, and say that reducing polarization is a “spiritual necessity for them and an ever-increasing part of their job description.” PRRI research finds that mainline Protestant clergy are less likely to believe America is in danger of losing its culture and identity compared with American churchgoers (37% vs. 65%).
Read PRRI’s full report “The Persistence of QAnon in the Post-Trump Era: An Analysis of Who Believes the Conspiracies” here.