Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him

Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him

by Stephen Mansfield


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801093685
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/20/2018
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 856,016
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times bestselling author of The Faith of George W. Bush, The Faith of Barack Obama, Lincoln's Battle with God, and The Character and Greatness of Winston Churchill. Founder of The Mansfield Group, a media training firm, he is also an in-demand speaker and consultant. He holds a doctorate in history and literature and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington, DC, with his wife, Beverly.

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Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen Mansfield, who has authored a number of other works pertaining to the faith of political leaders, published Choosing Donald Trump in order to unpack Trump’s religious and spiritual heritage; Mansfield hopes further to tease out the larger place of faith in the culture during the years of Trump’s presidency (15). Importantly, Mansfield opens the work with a bit of an apologetic that gets at “the eighty-one percent’s” responsibility (or, stronger, culpability) for the Trump presidency. Mansfield describes Trump as “a man churched if not yet converted,” (23) and in large measure this summarizes the president well. He fumbles through an inchoate theology, no doubt suffering malnutrition after Trump’s few Sundays in church over the past decades (89). Yet, he recognized the power of the Religious Right as a political institution; Trump’s recollection of a mentor (of sorts) is illustrative: “he recalls mainly that he learned how to manipulate Dobias to get what he wanted.” (52) In terms of structure, the book has four parts: An Unlikely Champion, The Backstory, The Appeal, and Of Prophets and Presidents. Mansfield opens the book in 2012 with Trump’s convocation speech at Liberty University. The two opening chapters walk us through the years immediately preceding the 2016 campaign. Mansfield characterizes him as “a mixture, then: a maddening, unrepentant, ill-mannered, ever-bragging, ever-warring jumble of bad boy, billionaire, and aspiring saint.” (33) Nevertheless, he knew that it would be important to sidle up to “the court evangelicals.” Mansfield proceeds to take note of those religious influences that shaped Trump’s convictions, as well as those that honed his message when the hour of his candidacy had come. Specifically, in “the Appeal,” Mansfield explores the place of Obama’s and Clinton’s faiths, neither of which are particularly interesting chapters. He does, however, hit rightly on the point that Trump embodies the American spirit. He is the Id: “Trump has not tainted American culture by his crass talk. He has merely reflected it.” (128) In “The Backstory,” the chapters on Norman Vincent Peale’s and Paula White’s formative influences on Trump were the most helpful pieces. Peale, who functioned as Trump’s pastor, instilled in him the “power of positive thinking,” and White connected Trump to a variety of spiritual-political leaders. These two chapters were easily the strongest in the work. However, the closing appeal to “maintain prophetic distance” fell flat for lack of specificity in addition to its triteness. He rightly admonishes those who view Trump as a “man chosen by God” along the lines of Cyrus the Great. But, as far as sketching out how somebody without the means to reach Trump directly would “maintain prophetic distance,” Mansfield fails to offer anything of substance. This part would have served better as a coda than its own extended section. Altogether, Choosing Donald Trump gives an interesting backstory to Trump’s religious position–but little else. --- Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
The 2016 election took hold of the news and social media more than any previous election due to its candidates. The presidency continues to do so each day, now due to the man holding office - Donald Trump. In his book, Choosing Donald Trump, Stephen Mansfield seeks to explain how this occurred. What led to the turn of events which then gave us the unexpected outcome? The author has written books about the faith of other leaders including George W. Bush, Barak Obama, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. The book is broken down into four parts: An Unlikely Champion - takes a look at the surprising appeal Trump gained with religious conservatives. The Backstory - tells the intriguing story of his upbringing and the voices which shaped him throughout the course of his life to date. The Appeal - explains the promises and verbiage which strengthened his appeal among particularly, evangelicals. Of Prophets and Presidents - raises the important question, Will religious conservatives speak the truth of faith to the president? The book is well written and held my attention with every page. Mansfield does a wonderful job at presenting the facts without leaning in any direction. His commentary is presented fairly, in my opinion. It was difficult to put the book down. One of the most sobering thoughts the book left on me is from a quote shared in the closing chapter by H.L. Mencken, nearly a century ago: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folk of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron." If this quote is true, we all are in need of change, and not just politically. We are in need of a heart change which produces deeper character, wisdom and humility in us all. Mansfield heightened my awareness of our need to be informed and stay informed. We all have a responsibility to vote, recognizing each vote helps to guide the formation of our country and our culture. May we be wise and on our knees for our country so that we leave this country better than it has been before. *** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell/ a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.