What I Learned On Super Tuesday

super tuesday

by John Ellis

Throughout history, there have been flash-point moments that have altered the trajectory of society. At the risk of sensationalism, the United States of America may be on the front end of such a moment. Two-hundred plus years ago, the political and societal experiment was launched that resulted in this country. Regardless of an individual’s opinion about the founders of this country, it is difficult to deny their genius. The men and women who founded this country[1]were incredible thinkers and exhibited a profound courage as they risked their lives for concepts and theories that no one could know for sure would even work. While their grand experiment ultimately proved fruitful and a blessing to the entire world, the results of Super Tuesday may signal that their experiment is winding down. Or, hopefully, the results of Super Tuesday may signal a coming correction within an out of balance political game, and that grand experiment may take a positive step forward.

Granted, there are cards yet to be played; in fact, there are cards yet to be dealt. Throwing in the towel at this early point would be absurdly defeatist, and possibly a self-fulfilling prophecy, to boot. From a human standpoint, I have not given up hope that this country will come to its senses. And neither should anyone else. However, it would be naïve to ignore the quickly emerging picture that is rising out of the muck of this especially divisive Presidential primary season. The picture is grim, but also helpful in potential ways. I know that as Super Tuesday came to a close, and the returns wrapped up, my reflection revealed some things that I have found painful, disturbing, and helpful.

Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, the dismay that I felt at Donald Trump’s mounting victories took me aback. I mean, I’m the guy who preaches God’s sovereignty; why was I so upset? Well, the sad reality is that my distress revealed my lack of faith in our sovereign God. Instead of my hope being in the imminent return of King Jesus, I had begun to place my hope in human systems and rulers. It’s relatively easy to pay lip-service to God’s sovereignty, but when staring down the barrel of an ideological bazooka, that lip-service resists turning into actual faith.

Thankfully, I’m not required to manufacture faith; the Holy Spirit graciously provides faith. My job is to pray for the faith to see King Jesus in the midst of whatever fiery furnace I find myself. The Holy Spirit reveals King Jesus. And my weak faith doesn’t change the glorious reality that one day King Jesus will burst back onto this world’s stage, and right all wrongs. One day, I will see my King face-to-face, and he will usher me into the presence of the Father for all eternity. What is happening now will not alter my joy on that day[2]. However, being in Christ doesn’t mean that followers of King Jesus shouldn’t be saddened by what’s happening in the world as a result of sin, and that applies to Super Tuesday and the 2016 Presidential election.

Many writers, including myself, have written almost ad nausaem about the evil named Donald Trump. It is true that God is in control, but it is also true that it is good and just to plead with God to spare us Donald Trump as president. Don’t forget, our King, when facing his death on the cross, prayed to the Father to spare him if there was any other way.

We are called to promote righteousness, peace, and justice, and to desire leaders who will reflect God’s concern for righteousness, peace, and justice. That doesn’t mean that a leader has to be a Christian; God’s common grace reaches much farther than many Christians like to believe. But when confronted with the possibility of a man like Donald Trump in the White House, Christians should pray for the hand of God to intervene.

That’s an important prayer, because righteousness, peace, and justice are at stake. Super Tuesday brought home the reality of how angry many Americans are. Previously, I held to an optimistic belief that the number of people in this country willing to burn it to the ground was low. I was wrong. Super Tuesday revealed a possibly revolutionary sized riff in this country.

That riff is scary because it signals that this country may be so sick that it’s on its deathbed. And, it’s scary because it’s reminiscent of Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Does any of this remind you of anything? – a citizenry worried about the economic prospects in front of them, the failing morals of their country, and convinced that their identity as a nation had been hijacked by outsiders. And, out of fear, that citizenry turned to a charismatic showman who promised to restore their country to its former glory. Of course, in embracing that charismatic showman, the people willfully overlooked moral failings that very few would’ve predicted that the people would’ve overlooked. Of course, one of the moral failings was that charismatic showman’s propensity (and glee) for demonizing certain foreigners and promising to drive them out of the country.

Think about it, a year ago, if I had written that scenario and then asked what time and place I was referencing, almost every single person would’ve answered Germany and Hitler. Unfortunately, and scarily, all of that now applies to the United States of America and Donald Trump.

For me, at least, the parallels are obvious between what’s currently happening in America and the events in Germany leading up to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor on January 30, 1933. And, judging from the text messages, emails, and Tweets and Facebook posts from many others, I’m not the only one for whom those parallels are obvious. Unfortunately, similar to Germany in the early 1930s, there is a sizeable, yet not a majority, of citizens who will scoff at my warnings[3]. The refusal to see what is obvious to many others is a symptom of a sickness in American evangelicalism.

This growing cancer can be traced to Evangelical American’s willingness to embrace a nationalistic conflation of God and country. And that cancer is rooted in an even more fundamental theological sickness – the conflation of the City of God with the City of Rome. As Christians, first and foremost, we are subjects of King Jesus and are citizens of his kingdom. With our time on this earth, wherever he places us, we are his ambassadors. Unfortunately, many American Christians believe that the United States of America is God’s chosen kingdom. And Super Tuesday shamefully brought home the reality of how widespread is the misguided belief that God equals country and vice versa.

Many who claim to be Christians have willfully embraced a man of immense evil and who stokes the contra-Biblical and disgusting rhetoric of racism. Any policy and any opinion that elevates comfort or way of life above loving your neighbor should be abhorrent to those who claim the name of Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, Super Tuesday has ripped bare a pulsating heart of fear, hatred, and racism in a sizeable portion of the populace.

Part of this, of course, reflects weak faith that looks to human institutions for salvation. However, another part of this is born out of a failure to properly exegete the Bible in many churches. Specifically the failure to teach people that whatever applications the Old Testament promises to the nation of Israel hold for today, those applications are for the Church, and not nations. The Church is the true Israel.

Coming out of Super Tuesday, one of the most important take aways for me was the reaffirmation that the Church in America needs to recalibrate where her loyalties and priorities lie. In the comment section under my PJ Media article “Why I Left the Left,” a conversation about why I constantly referred to Jesus as “King Jesus” took place. One commenter was confused by my use of the term. I resisted the urge to wade into the discussion, but if I had, I would’ve explained that I refer to Jesus as King Jesus because he is exactly that – my King.

Language matters, and calling Jesus my King is not only correct but it’s a linguistic reminder that I literally serve a King, I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and one day my King will return to rule and reign in perfect righteousness, peace, and justice. As was revealed in my own heart late on the night of Super Tuesday, it’s very easy for me to forget where my true citizenry is and where my final hope is. Christians in America need to stop looking at the United States of America for salvation and rest in the peace that comes from the reality that we serve a King who is coming back.

Of course, as I wrote above, our allegiance to King Jesus means, among other things, that we should be concerned with the pursuit of righteousness, peace, and justice within the world. And out of the stench and darkness of Super Tuesday, a glimmer of light revealed a narrow and almost hidden path forward for this country.

According to most pundits, Donald Trump’s ceiling is around 33-35% of Republican voters. That number could grow or it could shrink, depending on the shifting variables of the continuing election season. But, for now, the fact remains that the majority of self-identified conservatives do not want Donald Trump as their president. In fact, the majority of self-identified conservatives are so opposed to Donald Trump as president as to be willing to watch the dreaded Hillary Clinton take the oath of office on January 20, 2017. This, I believe, leaves the door open for a break-away conservative party, recognizing that the Republican Party has jumped the shark, to put forward a ticket that could win the Presidency.

There are reasons (some good and some bad) why the two-party system has dominated the political landscape through most of this country’s history. However, there has been the occasional, flash-point moment in this country’s history where the two party system collapsed. The Presidential election of 1860 comes to mind.

In 1860, with the country angry, scared, and divided, Abraham Lincoln won the White House with less than 40% of the popular vote. The vote was divided between four candidates, with the second place finisher, Stephen A. Douglas, receiving just under 30% of the popular vote. I believe that a similar scenario could happen this Fall.

In any other year, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders are unelectable. One of this election’s great ironies is that Trump is pretty much the only person on the planet that can’t beat Hillary Clinton head-to-head. That’s a fact, but it also doesn’t change the fact that a larger percentage of Americans don’t want Hillary as president than those who do. If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination and Hillary Clinton wins the Democrat nomination that opens the door for a strong third party ticket. And I know what that ticket should be.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska would make a great ticket for a new Conservative Party. This flashpoint in history provides true conservatives with the opportunity to allow the bloated and ineffectual Republican Party to fade away and a new political party to emerge. I believe, considering how unelectable the current frontrunners are, that a Tim Scott/Ben Sasse ticket could win the election with less than 40% of the popular vote.

Over the next few weeks (or months), I’m planning on writing more about a Senator Tim Scott and Senator Ben Sasse ticket. As I listen to DC insiders and wonks talk, read pundits, and look back at history, I believe that we are living in a moment of history that, while troubling, if enough good people push forward with courage can become a positive flash-point in history. However, even if evil prevails, we can rest assured that our hope is in the imminent return of King Jesus.


 

[1] Yes, women. Research Mercy Otis Warren and Abigail Adams, for starters.

[2] If you have yet to bow the knee in faith and repentance before King Jesus, joy will be lost for you forever because you will be consigned to an eternity of punishment for your rebellion.

[3] I’m not claiming to be 2016’s Samuel Untermyer, but I’m not NOT claiming to be 2016’s Samuel Untermyer either.

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One thought on “What I Learned On Super Tuesday

  1. Wow. A lot of food for thought in this one. For starters thank you very repeatedly using the expression “King Jesus”. That is so helpful for me in my thinking and I need to start using it in my vocabulary as well because we so easily think of our choosing Jesus and therefore think that Christianity is a democracy just like America is. But, that is far from the case. Salvation isn’t just trusting in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and righteousness. It is also submitting our wills and our ways to His sovereign decrees. We are to lose our lives, take up our cross, be willing to be forsaken by those we love for the sake of His name.

    I think your comparison to Nazi Germany might be a bit of a stretch. I do recognize parallels for sure but Germany then was very different from America now. Germany was coming off a “defeat” in World War I. It was a defeat the people didn’t want and thought it was forced on them by weak and cowardly government leaders. Then, Germany was treated as the ultimate bad guy after WW I receiving horrible treatment from the allies including having the war blamed on them. This was very offensive and angering to many Germans. The German economy was also in horrible shape after WW I. Inflation was spiraling out of control. Finally, the German Republic (known as the Weimar Republic) was very new. The Germans had no experience of governing themselves. And, this was a government forced on them. The Weimar Republic was full of many different political parties and factions (including a strong Communist party) which made it much easier for a strong leader or dictator to take over. The people just wanted a guy to take charge and end all the chaos. Thankfully, here in America, we have a long history of governing ourselves and we have two longstanding parties that have survived tumultuous times in the past (like the Democrats did back in 1968). So, while I don’t like Donald Trump and don’t want him to be the nominee and definitely not president, I have wondered how well, if at all, Congress will work him (or with Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz for that matter). This populist anger appears to be focused on the presidential race only right now. Polling data seems to indicate that most Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing but they like what their local representative or senator is doing. So, Trump is to be feared and fought against and prayed against, but I don’t see our being in the same situation as Germany was.

    This anti-foreigner stance is also not new in American history. So, I don’t know that the 1860 election is the best parallel. Seems like the elections of the turn of the 20th century might be better parallels. Those elections were very populist. There was a lot of anger about the economy on the part of the working poor and a lot of anger directed at immigrants. Alternative parties emerged and ran fairly well nationally (including Socialists like Eugene Debs and Robert LaFollette). The 1912 election was characterized by a split in the Republican Party where Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third party (Progressive or Bull Moose) candidate against William Taft the Republican. Woodrow Wilson was able to win as a Democrat. But, the idea of a true conservative third party is intriguing. One that is not based on a fueled by hate or fear. Tim Scott and Ben Sasse appear to be great young conservatives nationally. I would be inclined to write one of them in come November. I am partial toward governors running for president though since I think recent history indicates that governors tend to be better presidents even among the Democrats.

    Sorry for the long comment. I again thank you for your great writing and for helping me to think properly regarding these national issues.

    Oh, and I’m still trying to get used to your referring to yourself as a conservative so much. 🙂

    Like

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