Trump wins

Trump wins

The election of Donald Trump gave me feelings of relief and concern, for my country and the Republican Party. I also include ideas of how it was he won, and whether racism was involved.

And I cover other reactions to his election. Or do I?

Here are my thoughts on the election of 2016.

Mentioned links:

Dear America, This Is Important — Trump Did Not Win Because of Racism

Trump Did Better With Blacks, Hispanics Than Romney in ’12: Exit Polls

The  Great Liberal Freakout

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Show transcript

Wow. Just…wow. How did that happen? During the evening of November 8th, 2016, I just kept asking that question, as various states that Hillary Clinton should have had in the bag turned red for Donald Trump. I went to sleep at about 1:30 in the morning, but then I asked it one more time, as I turned on the TV when I woke up and found out that Trump was President-elect.

So how did I feel when I found that out? Well, a bit of a mix of relief and concern. Not joy, nor excitement; relief and concern. Let me explain.

As I’ve said here a few times, I was voting for the party, the platform, not the President. I think that Donald Trump was possibly the worst candidate that the Republicans have put forward in my lifetime. From his trash talking, to his lack of self-control, to his buttons so easily pushed, to the nervousness I felt every time he would go off-script, his temperament really is radically different from other Presidents. To some, that’s precisely what they were looking for; a non-politician to shake things up. To me, it was too much.

But Trump promised (or at least paid lip service to) conservative Supreme Court justices, ones that would protect our constitutional rights of freedom of religion, and that would protect the unborn. He promises to get tough on terrorism, ISIS and Al Qaeda in particular. He’s not afraid to intone the phrase “radical Islam”, which, as I’ve said before, has caused our current President to take his eyes off the ball and target those who merely disagreed with his policies. There are other issues on which I agree with him – issues that I think the Republican Congress must tackle – but those were my top 3. So that is where my relief comes from. Hillary Clinton was actively against those first two – religious freedom and protecting the unborn – so that’s why, even if Trump doesn’t really advance those causes, we at least will not lose ground there.

But I am still concerned. I am concerned for the country, in that Trump’s loose talk has poisoned the well of cooperation. I can see how Democrats might not want to be seen as working with him. Without a filibuster- or veto-proof majority in Congress, that means he’s going to have to reach across the aisle. He’s made it difficult for them to reach back, to say the least.

And I am concerned for the Republican Party. The thought was that if Trump lost big, Republicans would think twice about putting forth a similar candidate in the future. If Trump lost narrowly, it might split the party between those that thought we needed someone even more like him, and those who thought we needed someone less like him. But he won, and in some states that conventional wisdom said he shouldn’t have. My concern is that the party is still split, and that the group that thinks we need candidates more like him is now going to grow.

I do not want that. I want a true conservative who’s rhetoric doesn’t give Democrats easy pickin’s. I want a candidate whose negatives don’t approach 60%. But my concern is that the party, heady with a big victory over a Clinton, will attempt to pick a similar kind of candidate in the future, in order to win rather than advance conservative causes.

So how did Trump win? One of the biggest reasons is that they both had horrible negative perceptions. He should be easy to beat with a better candidate, and you know the Democrats will learn that lesson. The 2020 election will be interesting.

And was racism a factor? Well, racists exist, so it’s always a factor. But how big a factor it is, is worth considering. Let’s look at the numbers. Did the white vote break in a huge way for Trump? He did get 58% of that demographic, but by comparison, Mitt Romney got 59%. If white racism was a defining issue for Trump, you wouldn’t expect that. How about Blacks and Latinos? Did they shy away from Trump? Let’s take a look at the percentages. Obama got 93% of the black vote, while Hillary got 88%. Obama got 71% of the Latino vote to Hillary’s 65%. Some of that is due to so much of the Democratic voting bloc staying home, and by “so much” I mean 10 million fewer votes compared to 2008. Apparently, Democrats were more excited over electing the first black President than they were the first woman President. Who knew there were so many sexists in the party?

Van Jones, reacting on CNN the night of the election, called this a white backlash, or in his words, a “whitelash”. Sorry, no. The data doesn’t support that.

Finally, I want to note some of the reaction to Trump’s win, courtesy of the PowerLine blog.

The head of the Joint Center for Political Studies reacted to Trump’s landslide thus: “When you consider that in the climate we’re in—rising violence, the Ku Klux Klan—it is exceedingly frightening.” Castro, still with us, said right before the election: “We sometimes have the feeling that we are living in the time preceding the election of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.”  Claremont College professor John Roth wrote: “I could not help remembering how economic turmoil had conspired with Nazi nationalism and militarism—all intensified by Germany’s defeat in World War I—to send the world reeling into catastrophe… It is not entirely mistaken to contemplate our post-election state with fear and trembling.”  Esquire writer Harry Stein says that the voters who supported Trump were like the “good Germans” in “Hitler’s Germany.”  Sociologist Alan Wolfe is up in the New Left Review: “The worst nightmares of the American left appear to have come true.”

There are more reactions like this in a post they entitle, “The Great Liberal Freakout”. You almost have to wonder if this is how they would have reacted to any Republican winning. Well, that’s truer than you may realize. See, I lied. These are not reactions to the Trump win. No, they are reactions from the day after Ronald Reagan won in 1980. Consider this!

Filed under: ElectionsRace Issues