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Recently there was an editorial published in Christianity Today which criticized Trump as a "grossly immoral character":

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

It was roundly criticized by evangelical Christians. In an open letter, 200 evangelical leaders wrote:

"Rather, we are Bible-believing Christians and patriotic Americans who are simply grateful that our President has sought our advice as his administration has advanced policies that protect the unborn, promote religious freedom, reform our criminal justice system, contribute to strong working families through paid family leave, protect the freedom of conscience, prioritize parental rights, and ensure that our foreign policy aligns with our values while making our world safer, including through our support of the State of Israel," they said.

It seems to me that the leaders who signed the open letter are kind of missing the point. Okay, they love Trump's policies, but this doesn't mean they have to love Trump. Presumably they could support impeachment and simultaneously support a different president who'd continue Trump's policies. The same goes for the Republicans in Congress. Presumably they could support impeaching Trump, which might change the president but does not have to change the policies.

The author of the editorial in Christianity Today seems to think like this, since the quote acknowledges that Trump's policies are good, but opposes Trump based on his character. Why aren't there more people who think that way?

Related: Why aren't Republicans more focused on mobilizing a movement towards 'dethroning' Trump? which has the same issue - even if (per the top-voted answer) Trump's policies are a conservative dream come true, it's not an argument that impeaching Trump and making Mike Pence president wouldn't be an even better conservative dream come true.

  • I'm unsure how to write the title in the question - it could be what it currently is, or it could be something like "why don't Trump's core supporters support his policies but not him" (but this sounds awkward and self-contradictory). If anyone can think of a better way to write it, feel free to edit it. – Allure Dec 24 '19 at 21:24
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    I guess you could make the title of the question more clearly about the [perceived] difference between Trump and Pence, as this is how I read your question given the last para... – Fizz Dec 24 '19 at 22:53
  • @Fizz I'll be damned if I can actually word this correctly, because as you can see, I've already accumulated a ton of downvotes (and a comment claiming something I didn't assert). Your answer is great though, practically solves my problem. – Allure Dec 25 '19 at 11:14
  • Seems to me that the Christians who have signed that letter are Machiavellian. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Dec 31 '19 at 19:15
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This seems to be more of Trump vs Pence question than the other one you linked, so while there's going to a lot of opinion involved in a question like this, Vox quoted/paraphrased some arguments against Pence replacing Trump, as voiced by Republicans. Basically it seems that Trump is perceived as more combative in some corners, e.g.

Josh Hammer, editor-at-large at Daily Wire, told me, “From a traditional, Reaganite, National Review-esque ‘three-legged stool of conservatism’ perspective, Pence is undoubtedly more traditional and “classically conservative” from Trump.” But Hammer said that in his view, “The right is fundamentally under siege from the left,” and so now “there is a profound desire by many on the right for a blunt, crass instrument to push back against this.”

In our conversation, Hammer referenced the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings, a topic that comes up almost every time I speak with conservatives. And Hammer, like most conservatives I speak with often, drew two lessons from that fight: The left will stop at nothing to smear innocent conservatives, and a typical Republican Party politician, more concerned than Trump with elite opinion, would have backed down and rescinded Kavanaugh’s nomination. Trump’s decision to fight back under those circumstances, when other Republicans perhaps would not, is emblematic of what Hammer sees as one of his key virtues.

“Trump encapsulates this mentality — a mentality that refuses to be subdued and easily swept away to the proverbial ash heap of history,” Hammer said. “And it is unclear at best if Pence could provide the same.”

The idea that Trump is a bulwark against the excesses of the left, or, as [Rod] Dreher [senior editor at the American Conservative] told me, a “kind of katechon — a force that holds back something much worse,” is a common sentiment among conservative voters, if not among elected members of the Republican Party. While Trump might be, in their view, uncouth, unfair, even immoral and a hindrance to the growth of the conservative movement, they view the left as the real threat, a threat only Trump has seemed able to stand up against.

In the piece, Dreher was quoted as personally favoring Pence over Trump, but nonetheless he raised the same counterpoint/argument...

A HarrisX poll from October found that Republicans overwhelmingly preferred Trump over Pence, but it did not go into details why...

The nationwide survey, released Wednesday, found that 79 percent of GOP voters favored President Trump in the Oval Office, while 21 percent said they would prefer Pence.

I suspect that answers can vary a lot depending how such a question is asked, because it can carry the implication that Trump's impeachment should be successful (which Republicans overwhelmingly oppose). The scale for the answers probably matters too. A YouGov poll from September found a lot wider indifference band, even among Republicans:

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But again it did not probe any explicit reasoning for this preference...

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