by Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Jack Brewer
This article was first published at The Washington Times.
Black Americans and evangelical Christians have both played a vital and long-standing role in shaping the culture, society and political landscape of America. This has taken place in completely different political arenas of late, but historically our interests have often gone hand-in-hand. The two of us have been at the forefront of many of the battles facing our communities over the past several years.
Today, our battle is shared. The parallel between black and evangelical Christian voters in America is becoming clear as more and more members of our communities are waking up to the political betrayal of establishment politicians. Our political separation was always an aberration, of course, because blacks and evangelicals share many of the same fundamental beliefs.
It’s important to remember that the first black member of Congress was a member of the Republican Party, as was every subsequent black legislator for the next 67 years.
For the past several decades, our two communities have served as reliable sources of votes for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, but we’ve nonetheless found ourselves with very little influence over the actual direction of the party we’re “supposed to” support.
Every election cycle, evangelical Christians have turned out for Republican Party officials and candidates who promise the world while simultaneously working to instill fear in order to drive them to the polls, only to be sorely disappointed.
Fed up with these Republican politicians who paid little more than lip service to the issues they care about, a record number of evangelicals showed up at the polls in 2016 and took a chance on Donald Trump.
He validated our choice by becoming one of the staunchest defenders of religious liberty and the sanctity of human life ever to occupy the White House. He was applauded for being the first president to attend the March for Life, but his actions speak even louder than his words. President Trump has fought tooth and nail to protect Americans of faith from the onslaught of social policy extremism promoted by contemporary liberalism, and he has appointed almost 200 federal judges who will uphold the dignity and liberty of people of faith for generations to come.
Just as evangelical voters did in the Republican Party, black voters have lost their power within the Democratic Party through the reliability of their support. Even when “their” party has won, the black voters who deliver those victories have been taken for granted, promptly forgotten by the people they put in power.
Mr. Trump’s election in 2016 ended this business as usual. Many black voters, frustrated after eight years of being ignored while the first black president occupied the Oval Office, stayed home. Donald Trump asked them “what do you have to lose?” by giving up on the Democratic Party and voting for him, and that struck many as a fair question.
The Democrats have always supported policies that actively hurt the black community — including open borders, mass incarceration, and on-demand abortion — and their strategy of slandering Republicans as racists was already wearing thin before Donald Trump entered the Oval Office and immediately started doing more to empower black Americans than any other president since Lincoln.
Mr. Trump no longer has to ask black Americans what they have to lose by voting for him. Over the past three years, he’s shown them exactly what they have to lose by giving their votes to the Democrats: The lowest black unemployment rate in American history, thriving black-owned small businesses and historic criminal justice reform that has already resulted in the release of thousands of African-American inmates sentenced under discriminatory “tough-on-crime” laws that passed with bipartisan support in the 1980s and ’90s — all while the Democrats refuse to even clap for these momentous achievements at last month’s State of the Union address.
These shifts fundamentally changed the American political system, and in 2020 we are both convinced that this country is going to experience a continuation of this paradigm shift. The days of these two voting blocs being taken for granted are over. We predict that evangelical voters, appreciative of this administration’s record of keeping its promises, will turn out for Mr. Trump in numbers even greater than 2016. We also anticipate that huge numbers of black voters, perhaps as much as 20 percent, will cross party lines to vote for a president who — unlike generations of mendacious Democrat politicians — has delivered the results he promised on the campaign trail.
Once complete, this shift will mark a return to the natural order of things, with blacks and evangelicals working together in pursuit of our common interests.
Black voters and evangelical Christian voters have long shared the ignominious distinction of voting reliably for parties that paid lip service to their priorities on the campaign trail but proceeded to ignore them as soon as the ballots were counted. Today, these two groups once again share a much more desirable commonality: They can both confidently put their faith in the Republican Party under President Donald J. Trump.
• Jerry Falwell Jr. is the president of Liberty University and co-founder of the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty. Jack Brewer, is a former NFL safety, a co-host of the digital podcast “Level Headed” and an ordained minister who works in prisons across America.