In the absence of pure, unadulterated, clear and convincing evidence – by which I mean the sort you can hold in your hand, see with your eyes and point out to any reasonable person and make them go, “Oh… Yeah! I see that!” – in the absence of those things, I’m going to break with the party line and lose all my Twitter followers in saying that Trump lost the election. The Democrats stole it fair and square.
This puts the Republicans in a position they did not expect to find themselves. They were, I’m sure, expecting either a total Presidential victory with a loss of legislative power, or a complete bloodbath with no President, no House and no Senate.
There was going to be a strong mandate from the people and the people were going to say, “YES WE WANT MAGA!” or they were going to say, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! RACIST SEXIST ANTI-GAY! MAGA, MAGA GO AWAY!!!!!!”
Unfortunately – for them – losing the Presidential election was less like a clean break-up and more like a “we should see other people” in between kisses, tugs and tickles. In fact, the latter might actually be less confusing mixed signals than what is going on with the GOP constituency at the moment.
Up until Tuesday the popular vote leader of all time was Barack Obama. In 2008 he put together a voting base that swarmed to the polls. A whopping 69.4 million people put that man in office.
Obama now stands as only the third most popularly voted for presidential candidate in American history. The first most popularly voted for presidential candidate in American history is good old Uncle Joe Biden (74 million and counting!) (Votes, not age).
The second most popularly voted for presidential candidate in American history is….you guessed it….Donald Trump (70.9 million and counting!) (Also votes, not age).
Add on to that the fact the numbers need to be considered against a key specific: Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in mail-in votes in places where it mattered by a lot. Like….300% a lot. A lot, a lot.
Donald Trump’s support was a “everyone flocked to the polls on election day – flag wavin’, gun totin’ – OH MY GOD! – and they voted for their President!!” enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s voter enthusiasm was a bit more phlegmatic. People didn’t run to the polls to vote for Biden. They just kind of mailed it in. (See what I did there?)
It’s a perfect scene of what the attitudes were like this year. The battle was really between “HECK YEAH MAGA LEZGO VOTE! HOO-RAH!!!” and “Ugh….I can’t take another four years of this unbridled, non-stop, nauseating nonsense. There. I voted. Get out of my life. I hope Jack kills your Twitter.”
So this is where we come to the strange part: Republicans didn’t lose any seats in the House; in fact they gained. They gained key seats in state legislatures all across the country. They are poised to keep the Senate. They had the highest turn-out for a Presidential candidate than ever in their history. They had a higher percentage of minority groups vote for their candidate ever in history.
Democrats, on the other hand, voted to keep Trump out but they didn’t vote down ballot to install any sort of agenda. Contrary to what Joe Biden proclaimed in his acceptance speech, this election was not a mandate for his platform. If it were a mandate for his platform he would have easily – easily – won the legislators needed to actually enact his platform and not lost any key house seats in easily winnable Democrat zones..
What Americans said on election day was not to get rid of Trump’s agenda. They said to get rid of Trump.
Now this could be a cordial and clean break-up, but it’s not going to be.
While Donald Trump was out there not winning his election, countless state legislators, congressmen and senators won their elections because of him. Congressional districts flipped because of him. So you better believe he’s going to make an example of every person in the Republican party who doesn’t suit up with him and go to war for the MAGA agenda.
Donald Trump is going to tautly twist the lemon slice of political leverage as much as he can, to squeeze out as much juice as he can, to drag out this “stolen election” nonsense as long as he can, and in doing so he is going to rip the Neocon war-loving, Heritage Foundation abiding, donor-class d-loving, “which Arab country can we drone strike today?” soul out of the Republican party.
America wants an America first foreign policy that keeps them safe but doesn’t needlessly engage in overseas conflict. They want fair trade deals. They want immigration reform. They want criminal justice reform. They want to be energy independent. They want the manufacturing and the jobs and the stock market and the regulation roll-backs. And they want the patriotism without the boorishness.
And that minority coalition that built up and voted for Trump? They want a little taste of that MAGA-pie, too. So maybe it’s time for some sensible outreach to those communities that doesn’t rely on the sad same talking points? You know what I’m talking about….. Your dog whistles…. That Lee Atwater stuff… Just stop it… Stop it.
So while the landscape is a mess, the message itself is loud and clear and it is this:
“We don’t like your messenger, Republicans. But those policies? They are working for us. This is a shot across your bow. You better keep that MAGA game strong.”