Trump seemed to defy all laws of politics as he held a lead in Republican primary polls even after insulting veterans, women, immigrants, all Muslims, etc. The most interesting—and perversely amusing—example was his repeated gaffes when trying to pander to the Christian right. He said he’d never asked God for forgiveness (“Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes?”), and made fun of Holy Communion (“when I drink my little wine and have my little cracker”). The notorious germophobe was visibly uncomfortable when a preacher laid hands on him.
Most infamously, he referred to “Two Corinthians” instead of Second Corinthians in a speech at Liberty University. And Trump seemed to pay no price for halfheartedly faking a deep and abiding love of Christ. He still got the endorsement of Jerry Falwell, Jr. (“In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment”). It was a moment when Trump’s campaign felt like satire again.
But the Iowa caucuses kind of squished that. According to entrance polls, evangelicals were 64 percent of the Iowa Republican vote, up from 57 percent in 2012. And Ted Cruz won 34 percent of their vote. Trump won only 22 percent of evangelicals, just ahead of Marco Rubio, who won 21 percent. But Trump won among non-evangelicals, getting 29 percent of their vote.