Larry O’Connor, I hope Donald Trump wins re-election. I’m optimistic that he will. Partly because the pollsters, smart guys, and analysts who were all wrong but oh-so confident four years ago are pretty much in the same lane they occupied in 2016, but this time even they are hedging big time.
Nate Silver, the “genius” at FiveThirtyEight, revealed Sunday that if Biden doesn’t win Pennsylvania, the election is a 50/50 toss-up. You don’t say, Nate? Gee, that’s a hell of a pivot from the 80+ percentage you’ve been providing for the past several months.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence with a prediction or a prognostication. You know better. I will give you this advice, though: Any right-of-center analyst who ever used the word “Drumpf” in the past four years, you should probably take their “Biden wins” prediction for what it’s worth.
On this Election Day column, I’d rather pause a moment and focus on what Donald Trump has already “won” in this election and how, thanks to him, our country and our political landscape has shifted for the next generation or more.
It has been an extraordinary four years if you care about foundational conservative issues like originalist jurists on the federal courts and the Supreme Court. Or universally important issues like peace in the Middle East and increased security for our most important ally, Israel.
The enforcement of our immigration laws (not new laws, just the robust enforcement of the laws passed by Congress and previous administrations) has been an incredible reward for Americans who respect the rule of law. Renegotiating NAFTA and other foreign trade deals to put Americans’ interests first has revitalized manufacturing in our country. Cutting taxes and doing away with piles of regulations has lifted our economy and provided jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for all Americans, with Blacks and Latinos benefiting in historic ways.
It’s been remarkable, especially if you consider Trump did all this with no support from the media, no support from Democrats, and limited support from his own party. He also accomplished these things with the shadow of a trumped-up, bogus investigation and impeachment hanging over his presidency for almost the entire four years. Think about it: Have you heard any Democrat discussing “Russian Collusion” or the impeachment in the past couple of months? While trying to defeat President Trump, you’d think they’d raise these issues if they wanted to close the deal… but they’ve ignored it. Wonder why?
But, let’s for a moment look beyond Trump’s accomplishments in the White House. Let us instead look at what Trump has already won with regard to our political landscape and the power of the archaic institutions that once controlled our entire process.
Donald Trump has been able to execute a tectonic shift and re-alignment in political affiliations taken for granted by the conventional beltway wisdom for decades. By winning the upper Midwest and appealing to disaffected voters who were ignored and patronized by Democrats for half a century, they threw off the shackles of their union bosses and their parents’ political traditions and took a risk on the billionaire from Queens.
That shift, along with the encouragement of millions of Americans who once felt ignored and squashed into submissive silence by the pop-culture and mainstream media elites, has allowed them to parade around their towns proudly, exclaiming their support for the most politically incorrect president in history.
The demographic make-up of registered Republicans has shifted from the country club to the beer hall. If you golf, make over $250,000 per year and have a college degree, you’re most likely voting for Biden. If you are a blue collar employee, a cop or fireman, a member of the military, and earn an honest living with your high school degree and trade school certificate, you’re voting for Trump.
This is enormous.
Democrats are now best personified by Ted Knight’s character in “Caddyshack,” and Republicans are the kids who got to swim in the club pool for just one hour every year. I mean… whose side do you want to be on?
Republicans have learned a lesson here. And the residual benefit will be felt for many election cycles. While certain Republican commentators pine for a return to “normalcy” within the party, the reality is that without the baggage that may come along with Trump’s personality, the party can grow and thrive by embracing his America-first policies and rhetoric that may not resonate in the corridors of America’s finest graduate schools but will win elections.
Republican politicians should recognize that the Trump message can be removed from the Trump personality for a winning platform that appeals to a wide swath of Americans who were once ignored by our party and taken for granted by the Democrats. These voters didn’t bother to show up, let alone fly a flag and join a parade for a Republican. Now they are with us, and we can keep them if we’re smart.
Let the Democrats be the party of Rachel Maddow and the legion of Ph.D. “experts” who sign letters of outrage for his policies that actually help Americans who work for a living.
Let Democrats drag out Lady Gaga and Stephen Colbert to make fun of normal Americans while they try to get out the vote. It hasn’t worked. And the abolition of any notion that a rich pop star or athlete has any real influence on how Americans vote is one of the greatest victories of the Trump era.
Whether Trump wins tonight or not, he has already succeeded in exposing the media, Hollywood, and even professional athletes and sports leagues as ineffective hard-core advocates for the same elitist policies that have failed the very viewers they desperately need. There could very well be a course correction from Hollywood, the NBA, and the NFL as a result of the Trump era. If so, that would be a very good thing for our country.
I hope Trump wins the election tonight. I do. And, I expect he will. But either way, it’s important to take a breath and pause right now, before the results start rolling in, and recognize what Trump has already won, regardless of the election. Trump won. Now, he just has to win.