By the time the readers view this column the electors will have cast their votes, crushed liberal hopes and named Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States, unless hell freezes over, due, of course, to global warming. While much ink has already been spilled, with more to come, in trying to put this into perspective we shall have to wait, unfortunately, for a few years to really grasp what has happened and what this means in the longer run. Do not forget that eight years ago we faced a new paradigm with the Democrats dominating behind a charismatic leader, and a broken, bedraggled Republican Party reduced to impotence and obstructionism, while barely managing to stay relevant in the new era. Much can happen in a few years, as the formerly charismatic Barack Obama would admit in a moment of candor. What we can say is that the unthinkable did really happen. Donald Trump won the Presidency, the Republicans easily held Congress and the Senate, and the GOP issued the Democrats a thrashing in down ballot races, winning a resounding national victory.
While the political scientists and the pundits search for a common denominator here, we can comment on a few clear themes. While Donald Trump won the election, we must note that his numbers were quite interesting. The fact of the matter is that Trump ran behind the Republican Party at the national level, finishing behind Hillary Clinton, in absolute numbers while the GOP won a national victory. Furthermore, Trump got 58% of the white vote last month, while the unlamented Mitt Romney actually got 59 percent of the white vote in 2012. So, Trump did no better with his natural core constituency than did Romney four years ago. Trump was able to turn working class white men and women to his standard, in stark contrast to the supposition that the working class would turn out to vote Democratic, particularly women who would find Trump personally repulsive, and would vote for Clinton in vast numbers.
So, what do we make of this phenomenon? As Mark Shields, the PBS commentator said on election night, “Well, there must be a lot more people in this country who really dislike Hillary Clinton than we thought.” The Democrats might take cold comfort in this possibility. In truth, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. She never corrected her 2008 flaws in the sense that her shrill speeches failed to fire up a crowd, and her ordinary speaking style was plodding and dull. Her handlers knew this and tried to keep her off the campaign trail, and stuck to tightly managed events, leading to the charge that she was packaged, and processed. In addition to these flaws, the old Hillary negatives showed up, concerning her dubious likeability, her secretive and manipulative nature, her tendency to scold and hector the electorate, and a remarkably disingenuous nature, bordering on hypocrisy that helped lead the party down the road to ruin. So, the Democrats might be on solid ground to think that the voters disliked Hillary Clinton more than they disdained Donald Trump.
The Democrats should, however, not put too much emphasis on a poor candidate, and they had better get over the blaming of the voters, as well. This election did show the growing chasm between the working-class voters, the “silent majority”, to borrow a Nixon term, and the increasingly unhinged cultural left wing in the country. The NRA and other Second Amendment groups had good reason to fear a Clinton victory despite her bobbing and weaving when questioned on the issue. When she opined that “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment” Mrs. Clinton dropped the mask and drove thousands of recreational shooters and sportsmen deeper into the Republican Party. When, seeking to fire enthusiasm among the “Green” voters Hillary remarked that when she won the election she would put the coal companies out of business, and thousands of coal miners out of their jobs. Whether she meant this or whether it was campaign hot air we’ll never know. It certainly opened the Democrats up to the charge that they cared only for their environmentalist wing, and cared nothing for the blue-collar workers who would lose these jobs when the coal companies were driven to the mat. The candidate spoke very little during the campaign about wage stagnation, cost of living, the eternal health care problem, or other dinner table issues. The ordinary American, instead, watched liberalism descending further into certifiable cookery, insisting on the “right” of grown men to use the girl’s restroom in public facilities.
This takes us to the crux of the matter. Some of the more responsible organs of the cultural-political left in this country have argued that the election represented a pushback of a sort against the cultural transformation that Barack Obama promised back in 2008. The St. Louis Post Dispatch, for instance, stated that the liberals were playing with fire when they bowed to the LGBT pressure and made public restrooms the new battleground. The Post sensibly argued that the public was very slowly digesting gay marriage and kiss-ins at the local Chik-Fil-A. The paper stated that the bathroom brouhaha was a case of pushing too far and too fast, and that the voters might take this grudge into the booth on Election Day. While this formulation of the problem offers a certain logic, it ignores a larger reality.
This election is important for the fact that working class whites, and Catholic voters have finally realized what the liberals, and their political vehicle, the Democratic Party, actually think of them. The working-class people have woken up to the fact that the liberals malign them regularly as hillbillies, lowbrows, and ignoramuses. The Catholics, who voted for Obama in numbers greater than the general population in 2008, are written off as Bible thumpers, prudes, and mind numbed robots, taking their orders from male ecclesiastics. The WikiLeaks releases prove that beyond a doubt.
As we said earlier, it is too soon to predict what effect this election will have on our permanent political universe. The working class will almost certainly lean more Republican, while the Catholics might stay Republican, or return to their Democratic roots. These things remain to be seen, but Pelosi, Schumer, Warren, and Bernie Sanders will not help the Democrats here.
Merry Christmas to all Townhall Readers.