Biden needs India to be an ally against China, and that priority has outweighed an instinct to shun Modi for his creeping authoritarianism.
We always talk about this debate when it comes to American foreign policy.
But sometimes that same debate becomes central to American domestic politics as well.
And across town, just as Modi was wrapping up his joint speech to Congress, evangelical conservatives from across the country were gathering at the Washington Hilton to hear from their flawed partner: Donald Trump.
Well, not just Trump actually: Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, and all the major Republican candidates are expected to speak at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.
But, of course, Trump is what religious conservatives are talking about. After all, he is the dominant favorite for the GOP presidential nomination. And he’s the group’s keynote speaker at the Saturday night gala dinner. And he is also the politician of whom two things can be said:
One, his personal and public life makes a mockery of the Christian ideals of evangelical voters.
And, second, he’s the person who has won more political victories for these same voters than any other president.
The questions evangelicals are discussing in Washington this week are whether the deal with Trump was worth it… and whether they should renew their contract.
This week’s guest has many thoughts on this. He is the founder and president of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, Ralph Reed.
Reed was recruited in 1989 by Pat Robertson, the late televangelist, to help run a new organization: the Christian Coalition.
It grew into a powerful political group that cemented the social conservatives as the Republican Party’s central constituency and made issues like opposing abortion rights non-negotiable policies in the GOP.
As you will hear in this episode, Ralph Reed is a political junkie. He left the Christian Coalition in 1997 and soon became one of George W. Bush’s key strategists.
And then in Obama’s first term, Reed struck up an unlikely friendship with a guy named Donald Trump.
He did for Trump what he does for any presidential candidate who comes asking for his advice: He explained how to win over evangelical voters, who make up about 60 percent of the Republican presidential primary electorate.
It worked out quite well in his view: Evangelicals overwhelmingly backed the thrice-married New York playboy who famously botched Bible verses on his stump. And Trump kept his word when it came to their most important issue: appointing the Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
So what will evangelicals do in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries?
That’s the question Playbook co-author and Deep Dive host Ryan Lizza talked about with Reed in a back room of the Washington Hilton as his conference attendees introduced themselves.