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At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president. My point here is that he might be, counterintuitively, more successful on religious liberty and culture war issues than Senator Ted Cruz would be.
Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.