God, Guns, and Bathrooms: Concepts of Morality on the Campaign Trail

  • Heather E. YatesEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in US Elections book series (PSUSE)


Historically, presidential campaigns have typically featured some aspect of a moral agenda. Much of that changed on the campaign trail in 2016. Many of the traditional topics used to measure public attitudes on select issues pertaining to morality and ethics were not present on the ANES 2016. Yet, the 2016 presidential campaign was noticeably devoid of a conventional “social problems” platform. This chapter examines the pivot away from the conventional campaign tactics on social issues and studies how a Supreme Court vacancy became a proxy issue that Republicans employed to court evangelicals. The vacancy effectively became a dog whistle for evangelicals and right-wing ideological conservatives to remain loyal to the Republican Party in the 2016 election.


Supreme Court Transgender bathrooms Evangelicals Conservative christian Gun rights Gun control 


  1. Bailey, Sarah Pulliam. “The Deepest Disgust for Hillary Clinton That Drives so Many Evangelicals to Support Trump.” The Washington Post. October 9, 2016.Google Scholar
  2. Baum, Matthew A. “President Obama’s ‘Trump Card’ in the Upcoming Supreme Court Nomination Battle.” The Huffington Post. March 3, 2016.Google Scholar
  3. Caldwell, Leigh Ann. “At Critical Moment, Trump Courts Skeptical Evangelicals.” NBC News. June 10, 2016.Google Scholar
  4. Cassesse, Erin C., and Mirya R. Holman. “Religion, Gendered Authority, and Identity in American Politics.” Politics and Religion 10, no. 1 (2017): 31–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Goodstein, Laurie. “Torn Over Donald Trump an Cut Off by Culture Wars, Evangelicals Despair.” The New York Times. September 29, 2016.Google Scholar
  6. Johnson, Alex. “What’s Behind Evangelical Support for Donald Trump? Less Than You Think.” NBC News. October 16, 2016.Google Scholar
  7. Mangan, Dan. “Trump: I’ll Appoint Supreme Court Justices to Overturn Roe v. Wade Abortion Case.” CNBC News. October 19, 2016.Google Scholar
  8. Sullivan, Peter. “Trump Promises to Appoint Anti-Abortion Supreme Court Justices.” The Hill. May 5, 2016.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Central ArkansasConwayUSA

Personalised recommendations