Don’t Bet on God’s Presidential Picks

THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY season is nearing its final stage. The GOP’s smorgasbord of candidates for the presidency has finally been reduced to three contenders, with Donald Trump as the clear frontrunner within reach of the party nomination. Trump’s success is particularly interesting, not only because of his notoriety and appeal to prejudice, but also because he has triumphed over Republican candidates who apparently hold divine favor.

The idea that God wants candidates to run for the presidency is nothing new. Still, records from recent times show that the Almighty’s endorsement may be the kiss of death for politicians who seek the nation’s highest office.

Take Dr. Ben Carson, who dropped out of the race after a lackluster showing on Super Tuesday. When considering a run for the presidency back in 2013, Carson stated in a Fox News interview, “I believe that God will make it clear to me if that’s something that I’m supposed to do.”

Wisconsin governor and former presidential candidate Scott Walker was even more explicit about why he was in the race, claiming in a July 2015 letter sent to supporters (and reported at RightWingWatch), “This is God’s plan for me, and I am humbled to be a candidate for president of the United States.”

Even more “mainstream” candidates claimed God’s guidance in jumping into the race. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) purportedly prayed for six months before announcing his candidacy. Appearing on the syndicated radio show Line of Fire, Cruz’s father told host Dr. Michael Brown that his son only decided to run after God spoke through his son’s wife, Heidi Cruz.

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

And that’s just the start of the heavenly mandates. Other politicians, from Michelle Bachmann to Rick Santorum to Mike Huckabee, have claimed that God either wanted them to run or supported their candidacy—yet they went on to lose their nomination battles.

God is either a bit of a prankster or the world’s worst campaign manager. By “calling” on politicians to run for the presidency and then neglecting to work a miracle or two so that the preferred candidate wins the general election (or even the nomination), God has effectively left his many chosen politicians out to dry.

Strangely enough, the Republican Party doesn’t seem to respond well to these calls from on high to run for office, even though the GOP is the primary force behind weakening the separation between church and state. Mitt Romney, who won his party’s nomination in 2012, never claimed a divine inspiration as the basis for his campaign, and Donald Trump has realized that claiming he is God’s candidate would be too crazy even for his carnival of a campaign.

The take-home for believers is that either God chooses candidates he knows won’t win or that no such message is ever sent. Or, as Marco Rubio indicated in his March 15 concession speech, God always wins, he just doesn’t share hot tips. “God makes no mistakes… he has things planned for all of us,” Rubio told disappointed supporters in Miami. “And we await eagerly to see what lies ahead.” Regardless of whether anyone in the GOP establishment is eagerly awaiting their nominating convention, if you want to support a candidate who actually has a chance of winning the presidency, my advice would be: don’t support the one who claims God’s endorsement.