Biden needs India to be an ally against China and that priority trumped the instinct to avoid Modi for his creeping authoritarianism.
We talk about this debate all the time when it comes to American foreign policy.
But sometimes that same debate also becomes central to US domestic politics.
And across town, just as Modi was wrapping up his joint address to Congress, evangelical conservatives from across the country were gathering at the Washington Hilton to hear their own flawed partner: Donald Trump.
Well, not just Trump, actually: Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, and all the major Republican candidates are scheduled to speak at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.
But naturally, Trump is what religious conservatives talk about. After all, he is the dominant favorite for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. And he’s the main speaker for the group at their gala dinner on Saturday night. And he is also the politician of whom two things can be said:
One, his personal and public life mocks the Christian ideals of evangelical voters.
And, two, he is the person who has achieved more political victories for these same voters than any other president.
The questions evangelicals are debating in Washington this week are whether that deal with Trump was worth it — and whether they should renew the contract.
This week’s guest has a lot of ideas about 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 social conservatives as a core constituency of the Republican Party and made issues like opposition to abortion rights non-negotiable policies in the Republican Party.
As you’ll 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 every presidential candidate who asks for his advice: He explained how to win over evangelical voters, who make up about 60 percent of the electorate in Republican presidential primaries.
In his view, it worked out quite well: Evangelicals overwhelmingly backed the thrice-married New York playboy who is famous for messing up Bible verses on his stump. And Trump was true to his word when it came to his most important issue: appointing 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 spoke to Reed about in a back room at the Washington Hilton as conference attendees filed in.