“I’ve been in the habit for many election cycles of telling people when they asked me how important the election was, I would always say it’s the most important election since the last one and will be the most important one until the next one. I think this may be a little different here … this election is different. This is big, no doubt.” - Brit Hume
If you’re a Trump supporter, this election cycle so far has been sort of like sitting down to watch your favorite college football team play a much-anticipated game against a hated rival. You’ve got friends over, popcorn popped, nachos, drinks, the works. Big screen blaring in the man-cave, excitement in the air. The kick-off happens and you settle in for a few hours of football bliss with your friends. Then, your all-thumbs kickoff-return man fumbles the ball, which the other team recovers for a touchdown. “OK, we can come back from this,” you think. But down 7-0, your QB wants it all back on the next possession, nay the first throw of the next possession, which then gets picked off and promptly returned for a pick-six. (I’m a Tennessee fan, y’all. I’m used to scenarios like this.)
Two more sloppy possessions and a porous defense and you’re down 28-0 and it’s not even halftime. Suddenly, the pizza is cold. The beer is warm. The nachos don’t taste so good. Your friends want to leave, and the party you’d looked forward to for so long looks more like a funeral parlor scene than an epic evening with friends. You turn the channel or go outside to do some yard work - anything to get your mind off what’s happening to the team you love. Maybe you check the score in an hour, but your evening’s been ruined. Your disappointment might even turn to anger at your team or at least the players or coaches who screwed up or didn’t seem to try hard enough. “You can take a loss, but at least fight,” you tell them in your mind. “At least make a game of it. At least make the time I spent rooting for you worthwhile.”
It’s one thing to lose on a last-minute drive, but quite another to be out of the game before it’s barely started.
Sadly, you probably know exactly where I’m going here. So far, the campaign of President Donald Trump isn’t even making a game of it. They aren’t showing up. They’re fumbling the ball. The QB is tossing picks to linebackers. You could drive a mack-truck through that soft defense. Yeah, it’s brutal, made all the worse by the fact that the other team is playing the game from a literal basement with a QB who looks about two steps away from a nursing home Alzheimer’s wing.
When polling comes out, it’s not even close. 14 points here. 10 points there. Down in every battleground state and even GOP strongholds like Texas and Georgia seemingly aren’t safe. Yeah yeah, I know Hillary was thumping Trump in 2016 too, but this is different, and we all know it deep down. Like a football game gone horribly wrong, the temptation might be to turn away, to focus on other things, to try not to care. And while we’ve certainly got to live life and try not to make the absurd, gut-wrenching politics of the current age absorb us so much, there is infinitely more at stake this November than any football game.
I’m not here to analyze every Trump mistake, nor to blame the entire unfolding fiasco on him. It’s a team effort, and so far the team has let us down, big time. What I do want to do is make everyone vividly aware of the stakes. A Joe Biden presidential win likely means Democratic control of the Senate as well. “No biggie,” you may say. We’ll just “get ‘em next cycle.” The problem with that, however, is there are several structural changes that Democrats can and will certainly make that could make it impossible for any Republican to win a national election ever again.
Before you dismiss me as a Chicken Little (and if you do, believe me I hope you’re right and I’m wrong), consider a sobering discussion Fox News host Tucker Carlson had with Brit Hume last week. After analyzing the part of Joe Biden’s unveiled Marxism-lite plan that includes the legalization of at least 22 million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S., Carlson asked Hume if it was “fair to say no Republican could ever win a national election at least in the foreseeable future?”
“I think that’s a reasonable assumption in the foreseeable future, and it wouldn’t take 22 million,” Hume told Tucker. “Let’s say the number were half that. 11 million new voters, the overwhelming majority of whom would vote for the Democrat, would keep the Democrats in power in the White House for sure for several election cycles at least.”
Beyond the electorate change, which would be bad enough, Hume and Carlson covered two other things Democrats could do quite easily with simple majorities in both Houses - abolish the filibuster (something the normally solid Mitch McConnell didn’t have the guts to do) and make the District of Columbia a state. If Democrats win in November and accomplish this trifecta in the next two years, in the words of Tucker Carlson, “we are headed at very high speed toward effectively a one-party state at least for the foreseeable future.”
In other words, the presidential and Senatorial elections about to take place in November 2020 are by far the most important elections of our lifetimes, and it’s truly not even close. Trump’s 2016 victory and judicial nominations bought us some time and maybe even the ability to fight back on some fronts going forward, but a November loss could be a permanent game over for national conservative governance of any kind.
As to Trump’s much-needed upping of his game, Hume wondered if the president “can stop talking about himself long enough to talk about something else and talk about their agenda and his message.” I sure hope so, because what’s at stake is far more important than the president’s ego. Is he up to the task? We’ll see. Like the football game that seems hopelessly out of control in the first quarter, it doesn’t look good so far. But the good news is the Trump campaign is like a few football teams we’ve known over the years. Streaky. Error-prone. Porous D. But damn, that offense can be pretty dynamic at times. Like 2016, it would be a mistake to ever count him out. But no matter what the scoreboard says, conservatives and liberty lovers of all stripes had best do more than his or her part until the clock says zero, or all could be lost forever.
Follow Scott on Twitter @SKMorefield