Trumpism Was Not Defeated. But Can It Recover?
Trumpism wasn’t defeated on Tuesday. It was locked up in a pressure cooker put on its highest setting.
This much is clear: Progressives expecting a blue landslide on Tuesday have been proven utterly wrong. With the count still ongoing five days later, it’s looking like 48% of voters backed President Trump’s re-election bid.
The close margins in this election are as extraordinary as they are impressive on Trump’s part. Like four years ago, the polls heavily underestimated enthusiasm for the president. As of this writing the race will soon be called for Joe Biden by the powers that be, though it’s becoming increasingly clear that shenanigans in various blue districts may have pulled him over the finish line. Pennsylvania may still go to Trump, driven by voters fearful of more BLM riots and a Green New Deal threatening to eliminate their jobs. But with all the question marks surrounding the vote tabulations, yours truly is not even going to make any predictions at this point.
Given all the forces which have been simultaneously colluding against Trump for about half a decade now — the media virtually being an extension of the Democratic Party, law enforcement actively undermining his legitimacy, impeachment theater by the Democrats, the coronavirus pandemic, phony push polls designed to demoralize Republican donors and voters, and, admittedly, Trump’s own flawed character — Tuesday’s results are really quite remarkable.
Had Trump possessed the rectitude of a Calvin Coolidge or Ronald Reagan while maintaining his own fighting spirit, and had he received at least a reasonably fair treatment by his political opponents and the press, he would have blown Biden out of the water and gone on to become the most consequential president of a lifetime. This alone shows us that Trumpism is very much alive after four years in power, and that it’s inconceivable for the Republican Party to return to the days of Mitt Romney and Bill Kristol and still gain electoral successes.
Trump’s spirit in fighting the serious electoral fraud allegations is certainly admirable, as the entire political and cultural establishment is working against him. This includes many within his own party, whose marked silence on the matter seems to indicate they have dropped him like a hot potato at this point. Trump being Trump, he will fight this battle until the very end, and as so often before, he stands alone.
Keeping the aforementioned headwinds in mind, however, it is hard to conceive Trump coming out on top in this brawl, though he has no choice but to try for our collective sake. Inevitably he will be portrayed as trying to steal the election by spreading conspiracy theories, by a media which has for four years colluded with the Democratic Party and the administrative state to circulate falsehoods about Trump’s non-existing collusion with Russia. Such is the depth of the rot in our society.
But regardless of the outcome, the country will end up with a president seen not just as undesirable but illegitimate by half its adult population. To say this rocks the foundations of our body politic would be the understatement of the year. These are truly dangerous times, and all of it can be traced back to a vote by mail process which everybody could have foreseen would result in trouble. One starts to wonder if chaos was the goal.
Compounding this legitimacy deficit is the fact that about a third of all Americans now perceive, correctly, that they are evidently no longer allowed representation in Washington. Throughout Trump’s presidency, his base witnessed the onslaught of political charges directed at the president, much of it rooted in slanderous innuendo, with a mixture of disbelief and fury. The media’s well-nigh total disinterest in the juicy Joe Biden stories and his manifest mental decline, furthermore, signaled to Trump’s supporters that the elevated level of attention for the president on the part of journalists was not so much an impartial drive to find the truth as it was an ideologically-driven witch hunt. The base understood that Trump was fighting an uphill battle every step of the way.
For this reason alone, Joe Biden would go down in history as a tainted president even without the issue of ballot fraud, and the Democrats have themselves to blame for this mess.
The establishment’s message to the Trump voter is clear, and has been all along: “You are a deplorable bigot and a loser. Your backward politics have no place in a modern, diverse United States where we are getting filthy rich while your jobs are being taken over by automation or off-shored to China. While we bathe in wealth, you may rot in your dilapidated homes with their sagging roof lines and peeling paint. We’ll let you mow our lawns or fix our cars, but only if your company agrees to introduce racial sensitivity training at the workplace, and you had better attend. And just to rub it in, we’re going to ‘cancel’ you if you kick and scream too loudly about this. Our allies at Facebook and Twitter will scrutinize, and if needed censor, whatever reactionary nonsense you publish on these platforms. We’re defunding the police and abolishing ICE, leaving your neighborhoods less safe, while we lock ourselves into our gated communities. And to top things off, you’ll be issued lectures by the very sports players whose exorbitant paychecks you have been subsidizing by tuning into their games week after week for the past two decades.”
If progressives think this tactic is a recipe for success, they’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise one of these days. For it will lead to civil war instead. You wouldn’t hear this on CNN, of course, but folks on the Right have been chattering about this prospect for years now. A poll just last year showed that Americans think we’re two thirds of the way there.
Already we don’t talk to each other. We don’t read each other’s newspapers and don’t watch each other’s TV channels. More and more, the Right is tuning out Hollywood altogether, hostile as motion pictures have become to conservative values. Each side creates its own narratives regarding Russia, impeachment, Brett Kavanaugh, and now the election fraud. But only one group calls the shots. This status quo can only lead to very bad things.
Trumpism wasn’t defeated on Tuesday. It was locked up in a pressure cooker put on its highest setting. The best-case scenario is that it will boil over, but, as pressure cookers tend to do, more likely it will blow up one of these days. And the Left won’t be able to blame that one on Trump.