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- Reeder on Tuesday’s elections: ‘To see this as a referendum on Trump is overstating it’
Listen to the 10-min audio:
Read the transcript:
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take a look back to last Tuesday’s election. Interesting how a number of outlets are now saying that this was a referendum and a rejection of Donald Trump’s politics. The New York Times actually came out and called itself “the center,” while declaring the election “a rejection of Trump’s hateful politics.”
They pointed to the defeat of Ed Gillespie down in Virginia, the election of a new Democratic governor in New Jersey. Also, media outlets are pointing to two candidates that were elected to state governments who are transgenders. People are calling this a historic moment.
DR. REEDER: I think it is a historic moment. Let’s take a look at this election. People said, “Well, New Jersey likes to elect moderate Republicans as governor.” That was the thesis. Well, I would suggest that’s not quite accurate.
First of all, New Jersey’s very much like the rest of America and there is a tendency that, after someone serves a couple of terms, the opposition party usually gets the nod in many states, and New Jersey is not a state that goes for moderate Republicans or conservative Republicans.
Chris Christie, who had many conservative policies, was really a blip on the screen because he was following a Democratic governor who was guilty of gross corruption. Well, he’s had his own issues in the governorship and he’s had his own legal issues and so the fact that it flipped to Democrat is really not that surprising at all.
And New Jersey is in this northeast conglomeration of progressive politics. Any election of anyone with any tendencies toward conservatism is really almost an aberration and very unique.
The individual running for governor actually is to the left of the Democratic party and what would be called “mainstream Democrats,” promoting and advocating multiple issues from legalization of marijuana, to socialism, to healthcare socialism, etc.
But the more interesting case is Virginia, in which you had the establishment Republican who is a conservative but he is an establishment Republican, Ed Gillespie. If you laid out the counties of Virginia, what you’re going to see is almost a blanket red vote for Ed Gillespie, but where you’re going to see the blue is in northern Virginia and also in the Richmond Proper area.
Outside of that, you’re pretty much going to see red throughout the state of Virginia. Its population in northern Virginia that lives off of increased governmental resources and power because so many people who work in Washington live in northern Virginia and they have a vested interest in progressivism and socialism and the burgeoning Socialistic Movement in our country. You’re seeing almost a blanket vote and I think Gillespie’s probably going to end up with 30 percent or so of that vote at most.
But, to see this as a referendum on Trump is, I think, overstating it. I think what you’ve got is the millennial vote, the government vote, the progressive vote, the liberal vote and you have that coalition coming together in specific heavily populated areas.
That’s why I believe this is a bellwether state because what you’ve got in the United States is the flyover country that is almost all red with counties and states that vote Republican and the East Coast and the West Coast which are the highly dense population areas.
A perfect example is the mayoral election candidate handily reelected, who was an avowed socialist: Mayor Deblasio. This is a guy who declares communist dictators as his hero. And even though the things that have happened in New York under his initial tenure have been horrendous, he is handily reelected.
And then Ed Gillespie was articulating conservative policies, which would line up with a number of things that Trump is promoting, but, he clearly distanced himself in the previous presidential election and during the gubernatorial election.
He distanced himself, so it’s hard to see this as a referendum on Trump when Gillespie had already done his own referendum: I don’t want the President. I don’t want him here campaigning for me. He did not associate himself with President Trump and, therefore, whoever would be heavily committed to Trump would have taken offense, likely, and not voted for Gillespie.
One of the things that President Trump did was he was able to pull together general religious right, evangelicals, the Tea Party, conservatives, some established Republicans such as Reince Priebus and others and his coalition got him over the top and through the finish line.
Ed Gillespie left out much of that coalition, which could be explanatory as to why, when he ran away from Trump, that means many with Trump would run away from voting from him.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Do you see anything from last Tuesday’s election pointing to the election of 2018?
DR. REEDER: We’re a divided nation, there’s no doubt about it and you’ve basically got the flyover states and then you have the coastal votes – the East Coast, and the West Coast, and the major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, etc.
That’s what I see in place and I don’t see anything happening that is going to deny that analysis. And then the question becomes turnout, and then the question becomes motivation.
I know that a lot of people are saying, “This is an indicator of a Democratic sweep.” I am not sure of that at all. The elections that are going to take place on a Congressional basis will be in those states where counties matter, not major metropolitan areas.
I think you’re going to continue to see the representation from those large numbers of counties and the flyover states are going to keep sending the more conservative, while the major metropolitan areas are going to send the more, quote, “progressive liberals and socialists.”
The socialist movement in America is clearly hardening, as well as the sexual revolution. You see the election of transgender candidates, which is something that would never have happened except people are now sending a message and the loss of conviction concerning the created order of male and female and the created order of sexuality within marriage.
All of that is now disappearing in terms of what people determine as important in their elected officials and the policies of the elected officials. The left is hardening and, to some degree, expanding.
I think the right continues as it has, so I don’t see it as portending any gigantic sweep, but it is going to be a heavily contested election in 2018. Be engaged in the area of the public square and public policy.
Every election is a reflection of the worldview of that electorate. Thus, we now know something about Virginia and New York and New Jersey because it is a reflection of worldview.
Remember, the worldview change we long to see is a bottom-up, inside-out worldview change and that’s a Gospel movement of sharing the Gospel and discipling men, and women, and their lives and their families in Christ in which we think with sanity, and we live with temperance and we function with the sacred embraced in our life.
And that’s how we treat people and that’s how we treat policy because we desire to honor the Lord in all that we say and do.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.