Donald Trump is the Elmer Gantry of politics, only he isn`t hawking Jesus, he`s selling himself. Trump brags about his wealth, influence and power, and he behaves as if he isn`t subject to the rule of law, Republican heterodoxy or social mores.
Trump is an out-of-control narcissist who should be anathema to evangelicals, but miraculously he`s venerated as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Elmer Gantry as portrayed by Burt Lancaster was Bible literate, and he knew just the right verses to loosen the purse strings of the hillbillies who attended his revival meetings.
Trump, on the other hand, isn`t well-versed in scripture, he probably uses his family Bible only to stash his copy of Penthouse in Two Corinthians. Trump mesmerizes his white evangelical base not by quoting scripture, but by appealing to their Biblically based enmity of gays and lesbians and powerful women. The more Trump rails against immigrants and feminists the more his white evangelical sycophants froth in religious fervor.
Trump makes wild and outlandish promises that even a snake oil salesman like Gantry would be too timid to utter, and he gets away with it. “I will build a beautiful 30-foot concrete wall from sea to sea and Mexico will pay for it!” Two years later and Trump`s vision of a grand wall that would be as imposing as the Great Wall of China has shrunk to a steel barrier that will be built on some critical sections of the border, and will be funded by taxpayers. And his deluded supporters sill chant “Promises Made, Promises Kept” at his campaign rallies.
Trump`s followers aren`t bothered by Trump`s ignorance, vindictiveness, crassness or impulsiveness, they are enthralled by his outrageous behavior. The more outrageous his rhetoric and behavior, the more they are convinced that he was anointed by God to Make America Great Again.
The movie Elmer Gantry ends with his church building destroyed by an accidentally caused fire, and congregants running away in panic. If only the Almighty would demonstrate his displeasure with the vulgar and racist Trump and his heretical white evangelical followers by unleashing a tornado on a Trump rally.