When Trump Came to the Door, Why Didn't Evangelicals Play Hard to Get?

This post probably comes a little too late. However, there may be a little time left. We’re the ones, after all, who are supposed to believe in miracles.
The Strange Case of a Bonhoeffer Biographer Endorsing Trump
Too many evangelicals just melted into a puddle of sugar when Donald Trump came calling. Some liked him from the beginning (e.g., Jerry Falwell, Jr.) and then he grew on some others, like for instance Eric Metaxas. Metaxas is a strange Trump convert since he wrote a book on Bonhoeffer that, despite its errors of fact, is viewed as semi-inspired by many evangelicals. As Mark Oppenheimer points out in the Daily Beast today, Metaxas should know how to identify budding fascism since he wrote about Bonhoeffer’s resistance to it. Oppenheimer is understandably perplexed and offended by the contradictions between Metaxas the Trump supporter and Metaxas the Bonhoeffer biographer.
I have all kinds of problems with evangelicals going gaga for Trump, but one of the biggest is that they enable his flaws. In the Daily Beast article, Metaxas makes excuses for him, likening him to a “cranky ‘uncle’ who is basically harmless but doesn’t know when to shut up.” My first thought: I don’t want a cranky Uncle having the nuclear codes. Second thought: How is that supposed to reassure anyone that Trump is a good choice? Third thought: Metaxas isn’t paying attention to what Trump proposes on a regular basis. Trump sounds more troubling than a cranky Uncle.
Now here is something else I don’t understand. Why do evangelicals fail to use their leverage and influence? If evangelical leaders stick up for the groups Trump bashes, what is Trump going to do? Go get another major demographic group to replace us? Where’s he going to go? Enabling him by making excuses violates the principles evangelicals are supposed to champion and reinforces Trump’s belief that he can do anything and his supporters don’t care.
It May Not Be Too Late for an Alternative
There are currently efforts to recruit an alternative candidate. Why haven’t evangelical leaders moved in that direction? There are many voters who don’t want Trump or Clinton. An alternative candidate, with sufficient support from evangelicals, might be able to upset the electoral math and send the election to the House of Representatives. Sure, it is a long shot, but why give up on that principled option so soon? There is still time for this.
If the third party option doesn’t work out, then a substantial number of evangelicals would go for Trump. However, evangelicals should pursue all options first. The group Better for America is still promising a conservative independent candidate. If BfA’s candidate doesn’t work out, then I can understand some evangelicals moving toward (not me, but it would happen) Trump. However, if the millions who want someone beside Trump, Clinton, Johnson or Stein move toward a new independent candidate then evangelicals could salvage some of their credibility and perhaps take part in a political miracle.
Go check out Oppenheimer’s article. He provides a look at Metaxas’ support from a Jewish perspective.