With the last dominoes of Georgia and Pennsylvania falling, there is now clarity on the 2020 election cycle. Based on all of the data available at the time and, more fundamentally, the political antennae cultivated over the last three decades, I predicted Donald Trump would be reelected with a 305 to 233 electoral vote victory. My presidential tally was wrong. Joe Biden will secure at least 306 electoral votes, assuming North Carolina also doesn’t fall when final numbers are released next week.
But (there is always a but), in my defense, I was also right. When the sheer mass of pollsters, pundits and media sages predicted a blue landslide from the presidency down to state legislatures, I predicted America would stick with Trump and, more importantly, the direction in which his policies were taking our country. On that issue, the election results overwhelmingly agreed.
Outside of Trump’s loss, it looks likely Republicans will hold the Senate despite having to defend so many seats. Republicans are making strong gains in the House, won the sole vacant governor’s race and gained ground in state legislatures on net. Thus, America soundly rejected the progressive agenda of Biden, Pelosi and Schumer. A majority of Americans in a majority of states also rejected Trump and his divisiveness. Biden’s victory came, like Trump’s did in 2016, with thin margins in a handful of states. Biden clearly really didn’t win as much as Trump lost.
I believe Trump lost for four key reasons.
First, Trump fatigue. Enough voters in enough key states simply had enough of Trump and his histrionics. Yes, Trump inspired more Americans to vote for him in 2020 then any Republican and even increased his share of the African American, Hispanic, Muslim and Asian vote — netting a greater share of minority votes than any Republican since 1960, but not enough to overcome the increase in votes Biden received from Democrats and voters tired of Trump.
Given the other election results, it is hard not to see clearly that the same voters who rejected Trump voted for Republicans on the rest of the ticket. That doesn’t, therefore, mean another Republican would have won the presidency. Trump is the double-edged sword that greatly expanded the Republican base over the last four years, but also alienated key voters from supporting him personally. There is little evidence another candidate would have expanded the base enough to allow other Republicans to win. The key going forward is the Trump policy agenda without the Trump fatigue. That makes Mike Pence a prime contender in 2024.
Next, the continued ability of the mainstream media to craft a powerful anti-Republican narrative that reaches too many Americans still is too dominant. As I’ve noted before, imagine what the outcome of the election would have looked like if the media coverage of Trump was just 60 percent percent negative instead of the 90 percent negative coverage it has been for four years. Frankly, it is stunning the presidential election was as close as it was given the non-stop hits Trump took for four years.
From the false Russia collusion to the baseless racism allegations, no candidate in the history of America has had to deal with such a persistently opposition media. If Republicans want to change things, their donors should invest billions in starting legitimate, fully-funded competing news outlets tailored to Trump supporters and, equally critical, Republicans should stop giving interviews to CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and every other media outlet that slants coverage so heavily towards the Democrats. No Republican wins because they appeared on or in any of those outlets. Republicans need to cut-off all media entities who simply can’t be fair.
Then, just as in 2016 when the Green party candidate Jill Stein took votes from Hillary Clinton in key states that enabled a Trump win, the Libertarian party candidate Jo Jorgensen deprived Trump of too many votes in key states. Specifically, in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Jorgensen’s vote total far exceeds Biden’s margin of victory. Arizona and Nevada are close and if North Carolina flips to Biden then Jorgensen’s total there will have hurt Trump there, too. Those Biden victories offer from 46 to 78 electoral votes, which means he should be thanking Jorgensen for her help in electing him president. Libertarians can ‘celebrate’ their role in electing the candidate far more likely to use government to infringe on their individual liberty.
Finally, the Democrat-heavy Greater Atlanta area has become a megacity like Greater Chicago and Great New York City that will make Georgia a progressively harder state for Republicans to win. Because it is growing bigger every year, the Atlanta area will only increase its sway over elections in the coming decade. For example, in 2020 as of Thursday night, the eight Atlanta area counties gave Biden a 639,000-vote margin compared to the other 21 counties he won that only provided him a 140,000-vote margin. Like Illinois and New York, Republicans largely win everywhere else, but the margin achieved in the megacity overwhelms votes from the rest of the state. Republicans must solve this problem or watch Georgia join the other populated blue states making winning the presidency and US Senate more challenging.
The silver lining of this election is that Democrats and their media allies grossly outspent Republicans and largely lost. Yes, they will control the White House for four years, but that control will seemingly be checked by a Republican US Senate and Justice Amy Coney Barrett is seated. Moreover, with Eric Holder’s total failure to take over any statehouses, Republicans will drive the redistricting and reapportionment battles in the 50 states that will determine control of the US House starting in 2022. Fundamentally, the Trump agenda will remain a powerful and driving force in America and the Democrats and media won’t have Trump to kick around anymore to undermine it.
In the long march of history, sometimes being wrong ends up being right.
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