Race, Religion, and Partisanship in the United States

Monday, November 14, 2016
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Robert P. Jones

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Public Religion Research Institute

Kim Lawton

Managing Editor and Correspondent, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

Robert P. Jones, chief executive officer of the Public Religion Research Institute, discusses race, religion, and partisanship in the United States in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

Learn more about CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative.

LAWTON: We’re going to get started, I guess. We’ll wait for—we’re expecting a few more people to trickle in, but we’ll go ahead and get started so we don’t waste any time. I was worried that people would be—I was worried that people would be tired of talking about the election, because it seemed like so many people couldn’t wait for it to be over. And I kept hearing from everybody, oh, I can’t wait till it’s over. I can’t wait till it’s over. But yet, everywhere I go, everybody’s still talking about it. (Laughter.)

So I guess there’s still a lot to talk about. There’s a lot to assess, a lot to figure out. What happened and what that might mean for the future? And that’s what we want to do tonight. And to help us do that we have a terrific guest, Dr. Robert Jones or, as we call him, Robbie, who will be talking—(coughs)—pardon me. We will open it up for conversation for all of us. We want this to be an informal conversation where we can all try to help each other figure out what happened and—a little bit—a figure out what may lie ahead.

So—(coughs)—pardon me. Excuse me. I’ve been talking about the election too much already, I think. (Laughter.) This is an on-the-record conversation. And we want everybody to know that. It will be, and is, on the record. It will be posted on the Council on Foreign Relations website, possibly by the end of the week, at least audio, possibly video, and a transcript. So you can keep an eye out for that at CFR.org, is what I’m told.

So now let me introduce Robbie—Robert. Dr. Robert Jones in CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. He’s a leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture and politics. He’s author of the fairly new book, “The End of White Christian America.” He’s got several other books as well, two other books. He’s a columnist at The Atlantic online. He’s a frequent quest on interfaith voices. He appears very often on all sorts of media outlets. You may have seen him this weekend all over the place on CNN and other places. He has his Ph.D. in religion from Emory University. He has an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

So we’re very pleased to hear what he has to say. He’s been polling and doing a lot of studying throughout this campaign season. Robbie and I will talk with each other for a while and then, as I said, we’ll open it up to you. So have your questions—sort of jot them down. We’ll allow quite a bit of time for questions at the end. So maybe we should start with just looking at—give us a sense of what happened with the faith vote, remind us about some of those religious blocs, so to speak, and how they voted.

JONES: Yeah. Well, I guess I’ll start with what’s maybe, you know, an interest killer. (Laughter.) And that is the religious vote looks not that much different than the religious vote has looked in previous elections. And one of the things to say about how we got the current patterns of voting in the faith space in the U.S., is that it basically goes back to Reagan. And ever since Reagan, the patterns have looked essentially the same. And what happened with Reagan was really that white evangelicals in the South in particular made this shift from being reliable Democrats to being reliable Republicans, right?

And it was really as the Democratic Party became associated with—as the party of civil rights. Whites in the South in general, overwhelming numbers of them who were Christian and Evangelical, shifted to the Republican Party. Political scientists, my favorite term for this, they called it the great white switch that happened in the ’70s, and really was cemented by Reagan, who had this great line, you know, you may not be able to endorse me, but I can endorse you, you know, that really, I think, helped welcome many evangelicals—white evangelicals for the first time.

And since that time, essentially, if you plot out—you kind of sort groups from being, you know, most supportive of Republicans to most supportive of Democrats, what you end up with is this really interesting sorting in the religious landscape. And basically what you have is white Christians, of various stripes—Protestant, both Evangelical and mainline, and white Catholics—leaning towards Republican candidates, and basically everybody else leaning toward Democratic candidates. So it’s kind of white Christians, and then non-white Christians, which include African-Americans, Latino Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and the religiously—this kind of growing group of the religiously unaffiliated, all on the other side. And that’s essentially what the landscape looked like this time.

Just to give you a couple examples here, white Evangelical Protestants, you know, in 2012 voted for Mitt Romney 78 percent. This year they voted for Trump 81 percent. So it’s just, you know, right there. It is, in fact, a new high-water mark, and that’s interesting enough, at 81 percent. George W. Bush, for example, got 78. And Donald Trump got 81. But the white Catholics, you go back to 2012, Mitt Romney, 59 percent. This year, 60 percent. I mean, it is remarkably stable, the landscape.

LAWTON: Well, your new book is called “The End of White Christian America.” But clearly it’s not quite the end yet, because white Christian America basically, you know, elected him. What was up with that? (Laughter.)

JONES: Yeah, right. So there’s the question I was waiting for. (Laughter.) Yeah, so, right. So I’ll just—you know, let me—Sam Wang ate a bug on CNN. I don’t know if any of you saw it this weekend—

LAWTON: Oh, that’s right.

JONES: —because he’s a kind of political science professor at Princeton who basically said he was so sure of his model ahead of the elections that if Donald Trump won he would eat a bug. So on CNN this weekend—(laughter)—he ate a bug.

LAWTON: You’re eating a bug?

JONES: No, I did not promise to eat a bug. (Laughter.) So what—here’s the thing. So the book, you know, was—I begin the book with an obituary for white Christian America, and I end the book with a eulogy, right? So I was, like, no mistaking, like, this is a world that is dying. And in fact, I went ahead and pronounced it dead in the book. And I want to be careful what I meant by that, though. I didn’t mean sort of white Christians are dead. I didn’t mean white Christian churches are dead. What I meant was the dominance of that cultural world that white Protestants built in the country is dead.

And so if you think back—and it’s not—you don’t have to go back that far, but if you think back about the power of the National Council of Churches, for example, right, in the 1960s—I mean, it had—Calvin Trillin’s got this new book out where he’s kind of pulling a bunch of his reporting from the 1960s. And the first essay in there is Jackson, 1964. And he writes in there that he—you know, basically all these groups on the ground were trying to get the attention of the National Council of Churches, because if they could get on the radar screen of the National Council of Churches, they had enough power to insert them into the national conversation and really change the game. Like, I can’t imagine anyone else having that kind of a strategy today, right, to get on the radar screen of the National Council of Churches as a strategy for affecting national social change. It just wouldn’t happen.

So we’ve come a long way. And so what I was saying in the book is that that world, the dominance of that world, really, is what I have pronounced dead. And you know, another historian, you know, said, look, in the middle of the 20th century if you were in charge of something big and important—whether it was an NGO, or the government, or a business—chances are you were white, you were Protestant, and you were male. You know, and that’s just not the world we live in anymore. So that’s what I mean by that.

I am on record in the book as saying that Mitt Romney’s campaign was the last one in which a white Christian strategy could be plausible, all right? (Laughter.) So I am on record. So I’m not going to mince—

LAWTON: Here’s your bug. (Laughter.)

JONES: —not going to mince any, you know, words. I mean, that’s where I’m at. But the—I guess the one thing I would say—I’m hedging, maybe, into a bigger question. But is that I do think—one of the biggest dangers of this election is because it actually looks a lot like 2012, even though it didn’t feel like 2012—but if you look at where it ended up it looks a lot like 2012, is there’s a danger by everybody, I think, to over-interpret the exit polls, and, like, to think that something bigger happened here in terms of a fundamental shift in the country than in fact did.

So because the fundamentals have not changed. And I’ll just give you one kind of note here, and why I think that Trump’s victory with, like, the support of white Evangelicals was more like pulling a rabbit out of the hat than representing any big fundamental shift in the country is just a couple of stats. One is, what basically the book is riding on, my realization as we were looking at all of our polling data, that the country, since President Obama, has gone from being a majority white Christian country to a minority white Christian country. So when Barack Obama was running for president two election cycles ago in 2008, 54 percent of the country identified as white and Christian. That number today is 43, right? So we’ve gone from being a 54 percent white Christian country to a 43 percent white Christian country just in the last eight years.

And those demographics—those trends are only moving in one direction. Now, what—there’s—so I think what’s happened here is there’s a little bit of an illusion happening at the ballot box. The ballot box, because of turnout, turns out being kind of a time machine. It sort of takes America back about two election cycles. So the way Americans look at the ballot box is the way the general population looked, like, eight to 10 years ago. And it’s because older whites tend to turn out of at higher rates than everybody else in the country. So they’re overrepresented.

To give you just one example—and then I’ll let you ask another question, because I’m rambling on. (Laughter.) One other example—well, just one example to kind of illustrate this is, so, white Evangelicals in 2008 made up 21 percent of the population. They made up 26 percent of voters that year, right? So they were five points overrepresented just because of higher turnout rates in the election. This year their numbers have dropped from being 21 percent of the population to 16 percent of the population. But they still make up 26 percent of voters, right, because they are turning out at higher rates. So they’ve managed to kind of prop up a bigger influence at the ballot box than they in fact have in the culture. And when you have a low-turnout election they’re more able to do those kinds of things.

LAWTON: And I do want to move to some issues that may have some international implications in a minute, but while we’re talking about Evangelicals, just to unpack that a little more, one thing that really fascinated me in the campaign was the amount of debate within the Evangelical community about Donald Trump. And you had some high-profile people, maybe younger Evangelicals, women and others really raising concerns, raising questions, which made a lot of people think that the old guard, the old religious-right model was ending. But yet, in the final analysis, when a lot of people thought maybe there is an opening for the Democrats, there were a couple things. People complained that the Clinton campaign maybe didn’t take advantage of it like they should have. But in the end analysis, 81 percent of Evangelicals, despite all this dissention and debate, went for Trump. Why?

JONES: Well, it’s interesting. So we—I guess the first thing to say is we never saw at the grassroots level the amount of debate and division that we saw at the elite leadership level. So there was more of a fight among the leaders than there ever was among people on the ground, right? So in polling—the only differences we really saw ahead of the election in pre-election polling was more Evangelicals saying undecided. We did not see more Evangelicals supporting Hillary Clinton than compared to Barack Obama in 2012. But we did see a little bit depressed, like, declaring their support for Trump, because we were seeing—like, we were in double digits even three weeks out from the election of Evangelicals saying they were undecided. That’s kind of unusual, to have, like, more than 10 percent saying they’re undecided that close to an election.

So that I think was kind of part of the thing. At the end of the day, all those people—none of them went to Clinton. Like, all those people basically came home to the party they typically vote for, and that is—that is Republicans. We also saw a gender gap among Evangelicals, about nine points, that also, I think, disappeared in the last three weeks. So it was more women than men kind of holding out and saying, I don’t know, being a little more unsure. But at the end of the day, you know, they all sort of ended up voting for Trump.

And my argument has been—I wrote about this in The Atlantic in February, when Trump won the South Carolina primary because that, to me, was the red flag that went up, right? Because I, like everybody else, was a little bit skeptical of Trump making inroads when we had Rick Santorum, we had Ted Cruz, we had Mike Huckabee, we had Jeb Bush, we had—

LAWTON: Ben Carson.

JONES: —all kinds of people that had kind of better connections to the Evangelical community, right? So I was fully expecting, as all of them were, that Trump would take a hit on Super Tuesday, that was heavily southern, and then they—and then Trump might have to play catchup in the upper Midwest in the primaries that followed. That is not at all what happened. And we saw—because South Carolina was ahead of Super Tuesday. And South Carolina, the primary voters of South Carolina are 72 percent white Evangelical Protestants. It’s a very homogeneous GOP primary in South Carolina. And Trump handily won. And that’s when there was still a bunch of other candidates.

And so I realize, OK, like something different is happening here. Clearly this is not the same kind of old, like, Christian conservative playbook is not playing the way it normally does. And I wrote a piece. And what I argued there is that Trump had essentially—pick your term—converted, captured, convinced values voters that he had—my terms was he had converted them from being self-identified values voters to being nostalgia voters, that were voting less for a candidate who shared a certain set of values and had a certain kind of character that resonated with Evangelical, but they were voting more for a candidate who said, yeah, OK, maybe I’m not one of you but I get your concerns.

And if you listen to those early speeches Trump gave, and you may have heard—in Iowa and other—to Evangelical audiences, what you heard him say was, look, I get it. You know, you’re not going—like it used to be going like this, now you’re going like this. And he’d say, you know, we used to be able to say merry Christmas in this country. Now we have to say happy holidays. And if I’m president, I’m going to restore power to the Christian churches and we’re going to be saying merry Christmas again in this country. Like, those are—that’s what he was saying in speech after speech after speech.

And I think it was sort of that vision of a sort of restored version of America, where white Evangelical conservative Christians had a more central place in American culture and society that had more of an appeal that anything else. Like, it really was that. So when the heard, let’s make America great again, it really was, let’s go back to a time when Evangelicals had more of a central influence on the country, not this place where we are now where we have legalized gay marriage, we have an African-American in the White House, and we have—you know, this—where we had more babies in 2016 that were babies of color than we had white children. We already had more people of color in our public schools. Like, there’s a very different-looking vision.

So at the end of the day, I kind of summed it up as saying it turned out to be, in some ways, a battle between two alternate visions of the country—one that looked toward 2050 and sort of, like, celebrated what the country was going to look like there, and one that looked back to 1950 and celebrated what the country looked like then.

LAWTON: Well, talking about some of the racial changes coming up, you mentioned the divides—African-Americans, Latinos, and others. It was really pointed in the Catholic vote, so to speak, as well, because while 60 percent of white Catholics ended up voting for Trump, was it 70 percent of Latinos voted for Trump. And so you have this huge divide. And obviously the Catholic church has been talking a lot about immigration, issues around those lines. What is that going to mean then for the future, especially when we talk about the wall, immigration, and how the Catholic church is in the middle of it?

JONES: Yeah. Well, that’s right. I think the Catholic church is in a really unique place because in many ways they’re embodying both of these visions of the country, right? On the one hand, they’re—in those rust belt states, where we saw Obama voters who—people who had voted for Obama in 2012 flip to voting for Trump in 2016, a lot of those were white Catholics up in the rust belt, upper Midwest, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan—all those states that, you know, moved just enough to flip over to the other side. But it is remarkable. So, yeah, the numbers are—for white Catholics, 60 percent voted for Trump. Hispanic Catholics, 67 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

So in some ways—I mean, the challenge that the Catholic church has, you know, and its model of a kind of one holy Catholic church is that there’s kind of two churches there that it’s holding together under one umbrella. And that’s going to be a real—like a pastoral, a theological, you know, and a kind of practical challenge, I think, going forward, because these are—you know, I mean, as everyone knows, especially as we’re looking forward to Thanksgiving and everyone’s going home to maybe diverse families—(laughter)—and wondering what those conversations are going to be like across the Thanksgiving table this year—I mean, these are powerful—partisan forces are pretty powerful. And to hold those together is going to be challenging.

There’s also sort of regional tensions in the Catholic church, right, where already in the Southwest there’s more—and California, for example—there’s more Latino Catholics now in California than there are white Catholics in California. And if you look at the growth rates, it won’t be that long before we’ll have a majority Latino church—Catholic church in the U.S. In the 1990s, the ratio of whites to non-white Catholics was 10 to 1. Today, we’re almost at parity. It’s like 60/40 white to non-white Catholics in the country today. And it’s—and white Catholics are declining while non-white Catholics are growing. So it won’t be long we’ll be at parity. And then we’ll be at this tipping point where the Catholic will be majority non-white.

LAWTON: But on the issue of immigration is one of the issues that it’s not just a Catholic issue. And I’m curious as well, because some Evangelicals have really embraced this issue as well. There were reports that some of the Evangelicals who wanted to support Trump sort of pushed him on some of his rhetoric, but then, you know, that was also controversial within that community. So there is this broad base. And of course, Jews, Muslims, and others very concerned about, you know, the future and what policies may be developed under a Trump administration. How do you see some of that playing out?

JONES: Yeah, it’s—you can see the effect among white Catholics on that—on that issue. So, like, for example, we have this kind of bellwether question we’ve been asking for a while, it goes back even further—Pew was asking it even in the ’90s, I believe, that says, you know, two statements, which comes closer to your own view: The growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values or the growing number of newcomers from other countries strengthens American society? The country is basically divided right down the middle on this question.

The two parties are kind of at opposites. Seventy-three percent of Republicans say newcomers threaten traditional American customs and values. Sixty-three percent of Democrats say it strengthens American society. In the religious group, you can see the kind of partisan polls happening in religious groups. But white Catholics are—they’re a little on the side—54 percent of them say it threatens American customs and values. But that’s considerably lower than, say, white Evangelical Protestants, among whom two-thirds say that newcomers threaten. So you can see this kind of 12-point daylight, right, between white Evangelicals and white Catholics. And at least part of that is the stance—the more positive, overt stance that the Catholic church has staked out on immigration policy.

LAWTON: Another issue that came up a lot in the faith communities during the campaign was some of the rhetoric about Muslims, and calls for a temporary ban, maybe a temporary ban, maybe not a temporary ban. What implication—and that, obviously, has implications for foreign policy, as well as clearly implications for Muslims here in the United States. What do you see, or what are the challenges that Mr. Trump is going to be facing on that issue in terms of U.S. relations with Muslims?

JONES: Yeah. Well, it’s one of the—attitudes around Muslims have been kind of—you know, since 2001 is the first data we have, right, because no one was really asking these questions prior to 9/11. And what we saw is kind of a moment where Americans really I think didn’t know much about Muslims. There were kind of positive views. President Bush actually was—I think his leadership on this, you know, saying we’re not at war with Islam was actually quite important, at that—at that moment in time, in helping attitudes kind of be—kind of hold—it was a kind of withholding judgement kind of moment, I think, in American public life.

In the last, you know, few years, we have seen this kind of partisan polarization on this issue as—and, you know, you could see it in the conventions, right? I mean, you had, like, the Republican National Convention—I mean, if you had tried to take a drink every time you heard the word “radical Islamic terrorist,” I mean, you wouldn’t have made it through the first 30 minutes before you’d been on the floor. And you don’t—and, you know, and then we had this kind of countervailing image of Khizr Khan, right, on the Democratic Party platform stage. So there’s just kind of this very, very different image here.

And you can see it in the data. You know, if we ask about whether Islam and the Muslim religion is compatible with American democracy and way of life, we have 57 Americans who say—I’m sorry, is incompatible with American values—57 percent of Americans agree with that statement. Forty percent disagree. So the country is more likely to say that Islam is incompatible with American democracy. But among Republicans, it’s 80 percent who agree—eight in 10 who agree with that statement, and only four in 10 Democrats agree with that statement. So it’s a kind of two-to-one difference between Republicans and Democrats on the question.

However, what’s interesting, is if you ask not that question, about whether Islam is incompatible with American values and democracy, but if you ask whether American Muslims are an important part of American society, you actually get the flipside. So the majority of Americans simultaneously say that Islam is incompatible with American values and democracy, and that American Muslims are an important part of the—of the American religious community. So you have this kind of little conflicting views on our hands.

But we also saw, like, less than a majority of Americans supported a temporary ban. So only four in 10 Americans overall support that. But big party divides—majority Republicans supporting it, majority of Democrats not. And I think these issues of Islam and the place of Muslims had just become a kind of partisan football. And so people get pulled, I think, to their corners on this.

LAWTON: So from a religious perspective, and maybe put your sociologist hat on and take your pollster hat off, what are the biggest challenges you think the Trump administration faces with regard to its relationship with religion and religion in America?

JONES: Well, yeah. I think the biggest challenge right now is that the Muslim community is just frightened, right, of what’s going to happen, because there’s been a lot of inflammatory rhetoric straight from the Trump campaign, and from surrogates. And it’s not quite clear, you know, what is going to have follow through with actual policy and which is just rhetoric. We don’t really know. They were kind of in that moment of not knowing. You know, I mean, I even know—like, my daughter’s in public high school here. And, you know, there’s a fairly big Muslim community in the high schools. And they’re really worried, really scared. I mean, I’m hearing this kind of first hand.

So I think, you know, some signals, I think—you know, the Trump campaign has already signaled, OK, maybe we’re not going to gut the Affordable Care Act, right, completely, right? We might keep the fact that you can—you know, the preexisting condition stuff. Oh, yeah, that’s a good idea. You know, OK, staying on your parents’ policy until you’re 26, that’s a good idea. I think it would be really important, and quickly, for the Trump administration to at least give some kind of signals on this front as well, saying, OK, you know, we’re now at a new moment. Here’s really where our policy emphasis is going to be. And I think that would go a long way.

LAWTON: How much does he owe Evangelicals and some of that really vocal conservative wing of Evangelicals?

JONES: Huh. Yeah, well, 81 percent, right? I mean, that is an overwhelming majority. I mean, it’s hard to find a group that is that much behind him. So the question, for me, is, you know, Trump is sort of—had a few campaign points, like the Johnson Amendment, which was the amendment that forbids pastors from openly endorsing a candidate from the pulpit. There’s—you know, he’s mentioned the contraception mandate, rolling back the contraception mandate stuff. You know, it’s unclear, like, exactly what—but I’m not exactly clear what exactly is really at the top of Evangelicals’ wish list.

Like, before this campaign, I didn’t—there was only a fringe of people I ever heard talking about the Johnson Amendment. And truth be told, like, most pastors, do they really want to be put in the position of saying, now you can endorse a candidate, and then they’re going to be lobbied by their own congregants to get up there and actually doing that, knowing they’re going to alienate some 30 percent of the rest of their—most pastors, I’m guessing, don’t want that. That’s one freedom they may not want, because it’s going to put them in a really awkward spot.

I mean, I think the most likely place is the Supreme Court appointment, right? That seems to be the most likely place. It’s concrete. It’s an actual opportunity coming up that we know he has. And so, you know, if he follows through there and, you know, basically makes an appointment that looks like that list of people he put out ahead of the election, I mean, I think that would be one way of really concretely saying, yeah, it wasn’t all rhetoric—campaign rhetoric, to that group.

LAWTON: Well, I have a whole list of questions, but I want to involve you all in the conversation as well. So we’re going to spend some time now taking your questions. If you don’t have any, I’ll keep going. But just a couple of instructions. Signal me. I will try to get around, you know, to everybody. Signal me when I call on you. Please identify yourself, your name as well as your affiliation. Please keep your questions brief and please try to avoid a lot of uncivil political grandstanding. Let’s set a good example for people, and just try to have a conversation. So who wants to be first with a question? Anybody? Yes.

MARTIN: I’m Ed Martin from the Center for Interfaith Engagement at Eastern Mennonite University.

Just a quick short question. Eighty-one percent of white Evangelicals support—voted for Trump, right? What was—did you say the percentage of non-white Evangelicals?

JONES: yeah, so we don’t really have that from the exit polls. But when we—in our pre-election polling we did have that number. And it basically looked like two-thirds voting for Clinton among non-white Evangelicals.

MARTIN: Evangelicals?

JONES: Right. And to use that just real quickly, it does go to—I mean, I think a serious question for the religious community is looking at these racial divides in the religious community. White Catholics over here, Hispanic Catholics over here. White Evangelicals over here, non-white Evangelicals over here. Really—I mean, it’s almost mirror opposites of one another by race. So, you know, sharing the same religious tradition, but then moving in really—I mean, it’s a serious theological question, right? What does that mean when that’s happening in the world?

MARTIN: Just another point, I think at the end—I think you mentioned the Supreme Court appointment. It seemed to me that for many—probably for many Evangelicals that was the main attraction of Trump, was concern about who will be appointed to the Supreme Court.

JONES: Yeah, I’m not so sure about that. That’s the story that, I think, Evangelicals were telling themselves. I think it’s the story that Evangelicals put out there for public consumption. And it’s certainly the story that Evangelical leaders were putting out there. But it’s not the case that Evangelicals held their nose and voted for Trump. Evangelicals were for a Muslim ban. Evangelicals were for buildings a wall—white Evangelicals, I’m talking about here. White Evangelicals are more likely to see newcomers as a threat. Three-quarters of white Evangelicals say that American culture and way of life have changed for the worse since the 1950s.

So when you put—when you put the sort of bigger picture together, it wasn’t that Evangelicals had deep reservations about Trump and then voted for him anyway because of the Supreme Court. They were actually with him on almost all of those kind of cultural issues that were about kind of the make America great again and the kind of nostalgia appeal. That’s what I kind of called them nostalgia voters, because it’s not just this kind of pragmatic thing about a Supreme Court appointment. It really is the whole vision of the world that Trump was sort of putting forward actually resonated quite deeply with white Evangelicals.

MARTIN: Including his economic plans were nostalgia also—you know, bring—

JONES: Build manufacturing jobs, yeah.

MARTIN: Yeah, manufacturing jobs, coal industry.

JONES: Yeah.

LAWTON: Another question? Yes.

NEGGAZ: Sorry. I’m Meira Neggaz from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

I’m just curious, when you were talking about how the Catholic vote and the Evangelical vote really didn’t shift very much, that it kind of stayed roughly the same, for Muslims and Jews is that also the case? Did we see any of this negative rhetoric negatively impacting, you know, the voting—or positively on the other—in the other way?

JONES: Yeah. You know, I don’t think we’ve got reliable data for the Muslim vote. Certainly not from the exit polls. I would not be citing with any authority any Muslim numbers from the exit polls. The Jewish numbers are a little more reliable. They have some issues as well. But we saw, you know, not a lot of shift, but a little bit of a shift. So we had—and, again, you have to go back further, though, to see the shift. In 2012, 69 percent of Jews voted for Barack Obama. 2016, 71 percent voted for Hillary Clinton, right? So it’s just right there. But in 2008, it was 78 for Obama, right? So that’s why, again, 2012 and 2016, they look so similar.

It’s really hard to find a place where things are out of line more and three or four points, which is why I think the danger is over-interpreting this election, as if something bigger happened than in fact did. I think what really happened was there were just enough shifts in the rust belt states to kind of flip a few key states that were close in 2012. Everybody forgets how close some of those states were in 2012 to going the other way. And this time, the wind was blowing just enough that those states did, in fact, flip back.

LAWTON: Just a quick little anecdote. I was surprised about the Jewish vote as well because during the campaign I was trying to interview Republican Jews. In prior campaign seasons they were always putting out the story for me to cover that, you know, growing numbers of Jews are voting Republican and the Republicans are having great inroads. This time around, those same people who always wanted to talk about, you know, Republicans and Jews, they dodged me. They would not talk publicly. And they really kept a low profile. Throughout the campaign there were a lot of questions about anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of the campaign and that kind of thing, which made a lot of Jewish sources that I normally go to say, look, I don’t want to talk on the record. But then when you look at the numbers, the numbers are ultimately the same. So it is interesting.

Lauren, I think you had your hand up

HOMER: Thank you. Am I doing it—

LAWTON: I think you’re OK. I think it’s just on.

HOMER: Oh, now I’m on.

I’m Lauren Homer. I’m an international lawyer. And I work on international religious freedom issues.

And I guess in terms of your categories I fall into some. I’m white. I’m a Christian. I’m an Anglican, so I guess that makes me an Evangelical. But I’ve spent my whole life working on justice issues, working with black communities, people of color, now with people all around the world. And I find—I mean, in my first career as a city planner, I know you get—the answers that you get depend on the questions that you’ve asked.

And I’m very concerned that in this country this narrative is being old, it was whites against everybody else, and they voted for Trump because, the implication is, they didn’t like the rest of the country. And I don’t really think that’s true. I think it was very complicated. It came down to two people. And you know, a lot of people would have liked to have seen a woman in the White House, but maybe not Hillary Clinton. And so I just wonder if you can dig into the numbers that you have further, to talk about what was really motivating people when they voted, as opposed to the fact that, you know, they fall into these particular two categories.

JONES: Yeah. Great. Well, I mean, I hope I’ve given you some of that. Like, I do think that—you know, it was no mistake that Trump was simultaneously talking about building a wall and bringing back manufacturing jobs, right? He was—he knew that there were both of these vectors at work. And I think that it’s a both-and, you know? So I’m—you know, my academic training is in sociology. Max Weber was kind of—in this big debate with Marx, you know, back about what were the prime movers of social change. And, you know, Marx was saying it’s all about class, right, class conflict, and the economic stuff is what really drives it. And there’s a great metaphor that Weber came in response. He said, OK, look, I’ll grant you that class is the engine that’s moving things down the tracks. But it’s culture that are the switchmen that are throwing the switches and directing which way the engine is going.

And I think there’s something, you know, to that. And I think it’s certainly a both-and. Like, do we get the kind of fears about cultural change that we get without the kind of economic anxiety? Probably not. But do we get also the kind of economic anxiety taking on a kind of cultural layer, is what I think happened. And I think it’s—the enormity of cultural change in the country is, like, really important. I think it’s often hard inside the D.C. bubble, or if you live in New York, or very cosmopolitan places to take it in. So I’m from Mississippi. I’m going back to Mississippi for Thanksgiving. And, you know, there will be great conversations around the table about what did and didn’t happen.

But what I’m reminded of, you know, is just this sense that, you know, stuff that I think often kind of goes right by the radar, but the fact that, you know, we do have more children being born today that are not white than are white, this sense that white Christians no longer make up a majority of the country today. And I think the thing that many cosmopolitan centers have not taken into account is the kind of nuclear event that the Obergefell decision was for the country.

HOMER: Gay marriage? The gay marriage—

JONES: The gay marriage. Yeah, the legalizing gay marriage decision. I mean, in conservative Christian circles, I mean, this was a battle that had been front and center for decades. And to have it just—you know, public opinion shifted. I mean, again, Barack Obama in 2008, only four in 10 Americans supported same-sex marriage—in 2008, right? Barack Obama didn’t support same-sex marriage in 2008. But by the time we had this election cycle, only four in 10 Americans opposed it, right? We’ve gone from kind of, you know, minority support to majority support. And all of that at one time is a big deal.

We lost our last Protestant on the Supreme Court. Have our first African-American in the White House. The Supreme Court’s now made up of four Catholics and four Jews. Like this is unprecedented kinds of change. You know, the Supreme Court has had 112 justices in its history. Ninety-one of them have been Protestant, and 90 of them had been white. So it’s just this huge sense of cultural change is going on. And so I think it’s not that surprising, right, it’s not unusual or even to be unexpected that that causes a great deal of anxiety among people who are used to seeing themselves in the cultural majority, now have a real sense that they’re not.

So I think it’s kind of a both-and. I don’t think it’s that simple to say it’s whites against blacks, I mean, because there’s huge class divides among whites. I mean, there’s urban-rural divides among whites. There’s education divides among whites. So there’s a—it’s not that simple. But I do think there is—it’s also important, I think, not to gloss over the power that cultural change has played in the election.

LAWTON: Amanda.

SHELDON: Yeah. Hi. I’m Amanda Sheldon with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee resettlement agency here.

And my work there is to support Lutheran congregations on—we’re a pan-Lutheran organization—so on a very conservative base and a—

JONES: Oh, so you got the Missouri Synod and the ELCA?

SHELDON: Missouri Synod and the ELCA, along with the Latvians. (Laughter.)

LAWTON: Those Latvians.

SHELDON: And I preach and am in churches all over the country. So I’m not in this D.C. bubble. And I preached in a church that was split, I think, of Trump and Clinton supporters the Sunday before the election. And I’m—and it was a congregation that’s also trying to bring in a Latino ministry into that. And this congregation’s 100 percent Caucasian. And I’m really curious about what you said about this divided church, and that two churches exist within—whether it be in the Catholic church or in the Protestant space. And, you know, you had said that two-thirds of non-white Evangelicals voted for Clinton, and upwards of, what, 75 percent of—

JONES: Eighty, yeah.

SHELDON: Eighty percent of white Evangelicals voted for Trump. And I’m curious if you think that if you removed the immigration rhetoric from—the intensity of the immigration conversation from that, I’m not sure that people would fit into those categories, because there’s a huge, growing number of Latino Evangelicals, as we know. And those people are attending those congregations because they agree theologically on a lot of things, and socially on a lot of things. So what’s your perception of how much this, the immigration piece really drove people to do this, where they do worship in the same place. And maybe on social issues, like abortion and gay marriage, to name only two, people are really on the same—in the same space.

JONES: Yeah. You know, it’s hard to know how to disaggregate all this stuff, right, because people are both-and, and all this. So I’m going to pivot a little bit, because here’s one thing that I think we’re going to have to interrogate more, is one of the explanations for how you have an election the way—like this one was, that was, like, all over the map. We had two of the most unpopular candidates either party has put forward, right? All kinds of, you know, controversies and, you know, stuff flying around. And yet, again, if I, like, put—you know, if I had just put my hand over the 2012 and 2016 columns here, and just kind of look down, nothing would jump out at me. Like, I’d have to look really hard.

And one of the things I think is happening here is a kind of—well, I guess, the increasing power of partisanship as an independent factor, apart from any issues, right? So, one example is—there’s a great study that Stanford did where they asked people in the 1960s: How upset would you be if someone in your family married someone of the opposite political party than you? And only, like, 6 percent of the country said that would be deeply troubling to me. Huffington Post/YouGov redid that—re-asked this question in the cycle of—this last election cycle. Half of the country says they would be very upset now if somebody in their family married someone of the opposite political party.

And what we’re seeing is that it’s not actually drive by people who have stronger attachments to being Democrat or Republican, but they have stronger antipathies for the opposite party. So it’s a kind of asymmetrical polarization, where you’re basically pushing off more than you are being attracted. But it’s getting to be so strong that, you know, whereas people used to take their partisanship to the ballot box, you might split ticket a vote. You know, if you want to vote for governor you might vote for a Democrat, but you might vote for a Republican as president. We’re seeing less split ticket voting, more straight ticket voting.

And my concern is—because I think this is just bad for democracy—is that basically people have come to see their partisanship as a kind of tribal identity. And that it gets melded on to—in the same way they think about—you know, they understand their kind of racial or ethnic identity, their religious identity, their gender identity, partisanship comes along for the ride. And in fact, it gets, like, kind of fused with racial, religious identities. And then it becomes hard to think, right, once that happens, once you’ve kind of been locked down. And the kind of partisan—the kind of traditional partisan positions become hard to think outside that box, because you’re kind of just taking your cues.

So I think, you know, one explanation for why an election with Trump and Hillary—I mean, if we could go back and run an experiment, I would—I would bet—I would eat a bug. I would bet—(laughter)—that if you took two sacks of flour and put an R on one and a D on the other, and you had no debates, you had nothing going on, and you just had election day—no campaign commercial, just election day, it would not turn out within five percentage points differently than it did. (Laughter.)

LAWTON: I’ll kind of—I’m going to kind of work my way around the room here. Radwan was next, and then I’ll come around to you. Yeah.

MASMOUDI: You said that—first of all, I’m Radwan Masmoudi, with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.

You said that, you know, there’s not that much different between 2012, 2016. But to me, the big difference is that this election was openly racist, openly, blatantly anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, anti—2012 was not like that. We’ve never had an election like this. So the fact that people still voted for him, despite this, you know, nasty language, is really shocking to me. I mean, I understand Evangelicals, they have values and they care about values, but this is the first time we have a racist president, a bigoted president.

I’m really scared. I’ve lived in this country for 35 years. All my children were born here. I have four children, U.S. citizens. And now we are thinking about leaving. We can’t—it’s not safe. It’s not safe anymore. The attacks—the number of attacks we’ve seen in the last months and even this week after the elections is really shocking. In Boston, in Ann Arbor, I mean, not talking about rural America. We’re talking about even in L.A., I think and—Los Angeles—there has been attacks.

So, you know, there is something different. It’s not—it’s not the same as 2012. It’s not the same as ever before. You know, there’s something really, really different this time. And to me, what’s really scary is today’s appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. (Laughs.) I don’t think we’ve ever had a chief strategist in the White House. But now we have a chief strategist. And go back and read what he’s been saying for the last years about Islam and Muslims and, you know. We’re coming very close to Hitler, really, in what—and the language that he’s using.

And the reason I’m worried is we don’t have any checks and balances anymore because now they have control of the—you know, both houses. They’re going to have control of the Supreme Court. So he can basically pass anything he wants. You know, what is the protection? Where is—I don’t know. It’s different. It’s not the same.

JONES: Well, let me be clear. When I said that it looks the same, I was talking about where the voting numbers came out. When you look at various demographic groups in the country, that’s what I meant by the same. I mean, I was kind of making the point you’re making, that what’s remarkable is that, given this election cycle, with all of the things that it has entailed, that you’ve described, it’s remarkable that the numbers turn out to be the same. Like, that it’s kind of shocking, right? You know, it is shocking.

I do think think—again, like, one of the most important things that I think could happen would be for the Trump campaign to come out and say something unequivocal about protecting religious minorities in the country.

MASMOUDI: Not after appointing Steve Bannon.

JONES: Yeah. No, no, I mean, I think it’s right. It’s certainly some troubling signals by those appointments.

LAWTON: Let’s see, Anwar, were you—Anwar, I think you were next.

KHAN: What he said—what’s been said in this election was against Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and, above all, women. And then, as Muslims, we expect to be beaten up. I mean, we’re used to that. I’m sorry, my name is Anwar Khan. I’m the CEO of Islamic Relief USA. We were threatened to be burned alive in our office after Oklahoma City, got 40 death threats on 9/11. We were kicked out of—by the sheriff in Louisiana, of the county, because were giving aid to people who were white and Christian whilst being Muslim. We were kicked out—tried to shut down last year in southern Illinois, distributing aid over there. We have folders of death threats in our office in Alexandria—very serious, serious—lots of serious death threats. We every year do a drill that if a gunman comes in, like he came into the gurdwara and killed the six thinking they were Muslim, what would we do if a gunman came in? So we have a drill ever single year in of our office. The only two offices of Islamic Relief around the world that do not have their name on the building are in Idlib, Syria and in Alexandria, Virginia. That’s where we are right now.

I wear an ID badge which says on it Muslim ID band, stop hate. This I put in, to bring people’s attention about the Muslim registration that’s been spoken about. From your presentation, what I heard was that the numbers—and I agree with you—aren’t that different. And that it didn’t really make a difference, all this money, all this advertising, people already made their mind up. My daughter couldn’t understand why are people saying to vote for Trump. The only way she could make peace in her middle school was to agree, in middle school, not to talk about politics. I said, if you had the devil, they would vote for the devil rather than the other candidate—whether it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The partisanship is so dreadful now that it really doesn’t matter. You can get a donkey or an elephant and they’ll vote for that—I mean, literally a donkey or an elephant, not a symbol. This is where we are right now.

The question is this: I don’t see us—by the way, Roman Catholics seem to be divided, as you said, on color. Evangelicals seem to be divided on color. Religion isn’t so much over there. Jews, as you mentioned, tend to support mostly the Democratic Party. For Muslims though, to us we became a football to be kicked around in this campaign. We were used to be being attacked. We were used to—I understood after 9/11, a lot of anger. And I understand that. This country was attacked. I completely understand why people were angry. Absolutely I understand that. But right now, 15 years later? So what we have right now is we have amongst many of the Muslim kids—our local mosque—(inaudible)—sent an email trying to tell them, don’t go and demonstrate in Washington, D.C. They want to go and do stuff. Some of them want to go do stuff other than talking about suicide.

They have complete loss—they have completely lost faith in this country, not because of this election, but because so many people want them to be banned. You don’t—you’re not being welcome in this country. For those of us who study history, we’re very aware of what happened in Germany in the 1930s with—what happened with the Jewish community there. So for us, we are surprised that more people aren’t alarmed, that about half the country voted for a candidate that went against Jews, blacks, Hispanics, women, and Muslims, and that we don’t feel welcome here anymore. And we didn’t feel that bad after 9/11. And we never felt that bad after any terrorist attack. There was no terrorist attack, and the hate is coming.

So we understand very clearly what happened in the 1930s in Germany. These Jews were seen as a problem for all of the ills of that society. There was a teleconference last night with 400 leaders of the Muslim community. And all our scholars were telling us, get ready for a fight. Get ready for your faith to be tested. Pray harder. Work more. Reach out to interfaith friends. But this is a test from God. And in Islamic history we’ve been through worse than this, but get ready for a lot of sacrifices and hardship.

LAWTON: I will say that one of the things I’ve seen, as a journalist who covers religion, in the wake of the election has been a lot of statements from interfaith groups committing themselves to trying to combat that, and saying that for them too this was a wake-up call to say what can we do, how can we work harder? So anyway, just to—just to say I have seen—

KHAN: We got flowers. We got flowers from some of our Christian neighbors. We got emails. We got letters of support, which we never had before. So we’ve had more friends now than we’ve ever had before. We’re reaching out. One of them is the Episcopalian church. And as you know, there was an Episcopalian church that was vandalized yesterday with a swastika and a horrible epithet against gays that was written on their church because they are open to diversity. So we need those friends more now than ever before.

LAWTON: Galen, did you?

CAREY: Galen Carey, National Association of Evangelicals.

I just want to say, first of all, to Mr. Masmoudi and Mr. Khan, that I’m deeply troubled to hear about the experiences you’ve had, and certainly condemn any of those kinds of attacks. I’ve actually never met any people saying things like that, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. I recognize that.

My question actually was about foreign policy, and whether that played a role in the election. You know, Mr. Trump talked rather disparagingly about NATO, seemed not to be concerned about nuclear proliferation, spoke very positively about Russia and Putin. Apart from Israel, seemed willing to let people in the Middle East just kind of duke it out on their own. And did those sorts of policies resonate? And did they have anything to do with the election? Or was it more about the other things we’ve talked about?

JONES: Yeah. It’s a great question.

Well, we are here at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Laughter.) But you know, generally speaking, foreign policy stuff, Americans rank pretty low on their list of priorities in terms of voting behavior. I don’t think this election was any different, but with one exception, I would say. And that is, there is a way in which his—Trump’s approach to foreign policy, not on any particular thing, but like the NATO—you know, his sort of saying, well, maybe we’ll keep our treaty obligations if it’s our interests. But that’s not really a treaty—(laughs)—if you’re only going to do it if it’s in your interests, right? That means you’ve backed out of a treaty, if you’re now saying you’re only going to do it in your interests.

But what’s interesting—I think one of the things that kind of held this a part—held some of his really disparate policies together was this idea of protectionism, right, economic protectionism, cultural protectionism, and then protectionism on trade, NATO, foreign entanglements, this kind of America first foreign policy thing. And I think that all fit together. So the extent that, you know, his message was, you know, if you’re concerned about unemployment, I’ve got your back. I’m going to bring manufacturing jobs back. If you’re concerned about immigrants, I’ve got your back. I’m going to build a wall. If you’re concerned about, you know, cultural change, I’ve got your back. We’re going to say merry Christmas again this year.

You know, there’s a—there’s a way in which foreign policy—that piece of foreign policy, if you’re worried about trade deficits, we’re going to renegotiate all those deals. If you’re worried about us getting pulled into some obscure war, yeah, we’re not going to do that. I might just renegotiate that too. But what I think holds it together is this kind of protectionism, hunkered-down protectionism posture. And to that extent, I think it played a role. So, not specifically, but I think general as it fit as a part of this bigger vision.

On the NATO thing, though, we asked—we never asked about NATO. And we had trouble—we were looking for kind of models for questions. There’s not like a big database of questions about NATO in the polling community. But we did ask. And what’s remarkable about it is that it seems that Americans have no idea what it is and whether—what a treaty with NATO partners means. And you know, so when you ask—we ask, like, as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the U.S. should use military force to depend any member country if it is attacked. That’s in fact basically what our treaty obligations are. Or, the U.S. should use military force only when its own immediate security is threatened—that would be if we didn’t have a treaty. It’s 49/45 in the country, right, just down the middle, you know, divided.

And it’s not—there’s no clear patterns here, either. You know, you usually see Republicans way over here, Democrats way over here, urban people here. And it’s kind of all over the map when you look at the—and usually when you see that kind of sorting it means that people don’t really know that much about what’s going on here. But it also means, though, that there was a pretty receptive audience for Trump saying, yeah, maybe, on NATO.

LAWTON: Let’s see. I’ll give somebody who hasn’t asked a question. OK, yeah.

CALABIA: I have a couple of basic questions. First of all, when you say—

LAWTON: Could you identify—I’m sorry—identify yourself?

CALABIA: I’m sorry. Dawn Calabia, Refugees International.

When you say Evangelicals, who does that mean? And certainly what percentage of Evangelicals are non-white? And what percentage of the change in religious affiliation has to do with people deciding they have no religion? And was there any difference in the Evangelical vote for people under 40 and people over 40? (Laughter.)

JONES: All right, that’s four questions. OK. (Laughter.)

CALABIA: But it’s the basic understanding of who is this community.

JONES: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So I have to—we actually have an analysis of this, I don’t have it in front of me, about what the exact, you know, ratio is of white to non-white, evangelicals. There’s more white than non-white, but I don’t have the exact number in front of me. But what’s interesting about the—and mostly—when I’ve—if I’ve slipped into shorthand and say Evangelical, I mean—every time I’ve done that, I mean white Evangelical. And if you want me to—

CALABIA: I’m sorry, is this people who have affiliated with Evangelical organizations? Or is this someone who—

JONES: Yeah. So here’s the polling definition. Almost every time you hear this in any political science or social science setting, the technical—it’s a self-identification category. And basically what it means is that you have told someone on a survey that you are white, non-Hispanic, Protestant, and that you also identify as Evangelical or self-identify as either Evangelical or born-again. That’s the basic criteria that’s used in surveys. And it’s about 16 percent of the country now. It’s down from 21 percent just eight years ago. So those numbers have been sliding, but just over the last eight years.

So that’s something else to note, is that the decline among Evangelicals is new. We’ve only had enough data points for, like, the five years to even say that, because we just had a few kind of, you know, points. And now we have 10 years of data. We can definitively say there has been a decline. The white mainline Protestant world have been declining since the ’70s. So we’ve kind of known that for a long time. So this piece of it is new. So I don’t know, what’s left on the table from your—

CALABIA: The age.

JONES: The age, yes. So remarkably, two things—they’re related to your other two questions, yes. So in our pre-election surveys—we don’t know from the exit polls whether there’s a generational divide among white Evangelicals. But in our pre-election polls, we did not see a generational divide among white Evangelical Protestants. And we were only able to break it under 45 and over 45. So we couldn’t get any finer distinctions than that. But at least if you break it right there, 45 and older and 45 and under, there was no difference in voting preference.

We have—we have seen more muted generational response among white Evangelicals on a lot of issues. And one of the reasons for that, I think, is this other question you asked: How much is the sort of change in religious disaffiliation related to that? So one of the things that has happened since the 1990s is that all really white Christian churches have seen a kind of exodus of younger people from their ranks. That’s affected white Catholics. It’s affected white mainline Protestants. And just in the last 10 years, it’s affected white Evangelical Protestants. And it’s been quite substantial. So in the 1990s, among all Americans, only 6 percent of Americans claimed no religious affiliation. That number today is 25 percent. So it’s quadrupled since the 1990s. And if you look at Americans under the age of 30, the number is 39 percent. So Americans under the—four in 10 Americans under the age of 30 claim no religious affiliation at all.

And you can see it hitting—you asked specifically about Evangelicals—but you can see it hitting there because what’s happened is if you look at white Evangelical Protestants by generation—how many—like, how many seniors are Evangelical versus how many Millennials are Evangelical—it’s dropped by a factor of three. So about three in 10 seniors identify as white Evangelical Protestant, but less than one in 10 Millennials identify as white Evangelical Protestant. So they’ve lost two-thirds of their market share just across the generations that are alive today.

LAWTON: We have one more—time for one more question, I think. OK, one more.

ELSANOUSI: OK. So thank you so much. My name is Mohamed Elsanousi. I direct the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers here in Washington.

Of course, like Mr. Masmoudi and Mr. Khan, I suppress the feeling and the sentiment of the American Muslim community. So I’m not getting there. But I was just telling Anwar earlier today that I just came back from Central African Republic this Saturday. And I was getting out of the airport on Friday. And I was there when the election happened. And Central African Republic is the most dangerous, actually, country to visit today, number one. So when I was getting out of the—of the country, so I give my U.S. passport, right, to everyone, security. Oh—they say—oh, you are going back to the United States? (Laughter.) This is Central African Republic, right? They’re worried about me going back to the United States. (Laughter.)

So anyway, so that’s really the perception and the message that we are sending, actually, to the world. And it’s really very dangerous. And we need to work on that. You know, we have been through difficult time. And trying to defend what is happening here in the United States—and always, we say this is not the American people. It might be a policy, but not the American people, right? And when Pastor Jones burned the Koran, Galan and I invited by the Islamic Association of North America, and 40 other heads of national denominations. And all of them get together in the National Press Club and said: This is not in our name, right? So we send that message. We said, Terry Jones, Pastor Jones is not representing, you know, Christian America, right? This is something different.

So but today the majority of Americans voted for a president that basically said—you all know. So I think how we can—we can contain that, I mean, that’s a challenge. So, but I want to be also concrete here, is that by saying maybe we need to have a debate. I am always optimistic in these kind of situations. And we need to have a debate in the country. And there’s a role for religious leaders to play here. And the only way—I say this in this Arab media all the time—the only way, that is we are comfortable as the Muslim communities in the United States, and because we believe in our Constitution, and we believe in the friends that we have here today. They can come out and say that, you know, this is not the value that we actually believe in.

So this is maybe for (Irina ?). (Laughter.) We need to have that debate here. What role actually religious communities in the United States, you know, could play in this kind of situations, right, because this is a time that we need to have a debate and a discussion. I’m not expecting the transition team will come out and, you know, basically say things that, you know, change their, basically, president-elect rhetoric when he talked about the ban on Muslim. I’m not expecting that to happen now, as they did for the—for, you know, Obamacare. But I think with the pressure or with the dialogue and discussion that we’re going to have in the country, basically led by religious leadership and different denominations, it may have basically that kind of positive impact. I am very positive on that.

This Friday all the denominations, and they’re shoulder-to-shoulder, actually they’re having a press conference just to adhere to American values and say that attack in any religion, that’s attack on all of us, and all of that. So I just want to make that comment. Thank you.

LAWTON: Thank you very much. Unfortunately, we are going to have to cut it off there. But what you’ve suggested may be part two or the next installment, because it, indeed, will be very interesting to see what the role of the faith community is, in speaking to Mr. Trump and opposing and speaking out against him and his administration, and just how active and vocal they will be. There was a lot—I got a lot of statements in the wake of the campaign, people saying things. So it’ll be interesting—committing themselves to various courses of action. So it will be interesting to see who follows through, and something indeed to talk about.

So thank you again for everyone, for Robbie Jones, and for all of you. We appreciate it. (Applause.)

JONES: And for those—we do have at PRRI a post-election poll coming right after Thanksgiving. So we’re going to kind of look back. We’re actually calling back—we had 3,000 people in a pre-election poll that we did with The Atlantic. And we’re going to call as many of them as we can get back on the phone. As you might imagine, we’re having a little bit of a hard time getting people back on the phone to actually talk to us about the election. But we’re going to get as many of them back on the phone to talk to them about did they change their mind, did they stay the course, what influenced them down the homestretch, all those kinds of questions. So that’ll be with The Atlantic right after Thanksgiving, so.

LAWTON: And again, you can check the Council on Foreign Relations website later this week for—if you want to talk—revisit this wonderful conversation and forward it onto your friends and family. Thank you, everyone. Good night.

JONES: Thank you.

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