Imagine an election between Ted Cruz and a charismatic Democrat in a year when a Republican had been in office for the past eight years. Now imagine that the Democrat has this awkward quality where he often says horrible, disparaging things about religion and evangelical Christians in particular. Can’t you imagine a bunch of staunch Democrats voting for him despite wishing he weren’t so nasty about religious people?
This is a fine thought experiment, as far as it goes. (I actually preferred the one by David Malki about Donald Trump running as a Democrat against Dick Cheney — that one hit a little closer to home.)
But let’s be perfectly clear here: There has been no actual major Democratic candidate who “often says horrible, disparaging things about religion and evangelical Christians in particular”. None.
How many Republicans have used racist, xenophobic dogwhistles (and worse) over the last 50 years? I couldn’t begin to count. Trump is merely the apotheosis of this especially noxious aspect of the modern Republican party.