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Theologian Wayne Grudem Urges Trump to Drop Out: ‘He Would Lose the General Election’

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Dec 15, 2023
Theologian Wayne Grudem Urges Trump to Drop Out: ‘He Would Lose the General Election’

Theologian Wayne Grudem Urges Trump to Drop Out: ‘He Would Lose the General Election’

A leading theologian who encouraged evangelicals to support Donald Trump for president in 2016 and 2020 says in a column that he believes Trump should drop out of the race, arguing he is a weaker candidate than in the past and would lose the general election to Joe Biden.

Wayne Grudem, the author of Politics According to the Bible and the bestselling Systematic Theology, says in the Newsweek column that Trump “accomplished a remarkable number of good things for America” but is too unpopular of a candidate among Independents to win the 2024 general election. 

Grudem’s columns in 2016 and 2020 supporting Trump were widely circulated among evangelicals and played a role in gaining their support. 

“While Trump remains popular among conservative Republicans (and thus he is favored to win the GOP nomination), his support among independent voters is abysmal, and independents will decide the general election,” Grudem wrote. “The latest Gallup poll showed a remarkable decline in party loyalty for both parties. 28% of Americans now consider themselves Republicans, 24% now consider themselves Democrats, and a whopping 46% say they are ‘Independents.’ A candidate will have to win a majority of Independents in order to win the election. And that is where Trump comes up short.”

Grudem cited a New York Times/Siena College poll from October that found 57 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of President Biden and 56 percent an unfavorable view of Trump. Voters, he wrote, “don’t like either of these candidates.” Among voters in the survey who are “undecided and persuadable,” only 20 percent “think it would be good for the country if Trump became president again,” Grudem wrote.

“And 54% believe that Trump has committed serious federal crimes. If those numbers are anywhere near the actual situation, it will be impossible for Trump to win the general election,” Grudem wrote.

Grudem theorized that Trump could essentially secure the GOP nomination in the earlier states but that Democrats would follow by replacing Briden with a “fresh, younger candidate” and “win the general election in a landslide.”

“If we have to endure another four years of a Democratic president, nearly all of Trump's legacy will be lost,” Grudem wrote. “... [Trump’s] legacy then will be that he made a good start in 2017-2021, but after that he and the candidates he supported led the Republicans to defeat in 2020, 2022, and 2024, and all his reforms were lost.”

Trump is leading in current head-to-head polling matchups with Biden, Grudem asserted, because the Democrats and the mainstream media are holding their fire.

“The mainstream liberal press continues to run stories about Trump's huge lead among Republican voters and about polls showing that Trump could beat Biden, but I think that is because they recognize Trump's weakness among the general public,” Grudem wrote. “Therefore they want Trump as the Republican candidate, knowing that he would lose the general election. They will mostly hold off on running negative stories about Trump until after he wins the GOP nomination, and then the avalanche will start.”

If Republicans nominate someone other than Trump, then the “election will be much more about big issues facing the nation,” Grudem wrote.

“The election will focus on inflation, taxes, securing the border, crime, support for police, school choice, Israel, Ukraine, our military preparedness, race relations, abortion, climate change, the role of judges, the Supreme Court, the national debt, etc.”

But if Trump is the GOP nominee, then the election “will focus more on Trump than on the policies of the two parties.”

“We will have endless media coverage of Trump's trial, Trump's lawyers, Trump's friends and enemies, Trump's health, Trump's conduct on January 6 -- and endless media delight in asking speculative questions such as: Could Trump actually go to jail? How could the Secret Service protect Trump in jail? How could Trump meet foreign leaders in his jail cell? Could Trump pardon himself? And so forth. Because he is such a forceful personality, and because he is so controversial, and because any story about him attracts viewers and readers, all of the 2024 election season will be Trump, Trump, and Trump stories all year long. Is this really what we want as a nation?”

Grudem is a distinguished research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary.

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brandon Bell/Staff

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Theologian Wayne Grudem Urges Trump to Drop Out: ‘He Would Lose the General Election’