I am going to jump the gun and look at some of the things that we have learned from the 2020 election cycle. Without the vote count I can only draw qualitative judgements, but here goes.
As a conservative this cycle has been eye-opening. It is very clear that the vast majority, by geographic area, of this country is conservative, but the high concentration of Democrat vote in the Northeast, the West, and in urban areas offsets Republicans. A post-election map will look moistly Red but conspicuously large but concentrated pockets of Blue will have significant impact.
The citizens in these Blue areas today seem to be broken into three categories; those that are self-described Progressives, those who are self-described Socialists, and those who are sustained by what has been called the welfare state. Of course, there are many of old school loyal Democrats mixed in, but the Party’s electorate has changed.
The makeup of the Democratic Party has changed. Gone to the conservative side seem to be the blue-collar bloc vote and the moderate vote. They have been replaced by many of the young who have been propagandized in an environment of social justice and equity, whatever that means. What it does translate into though is that they will vote Democrat because they were taught that being Conservative is bad. They know nothing else and they have not paid their dues in the American society and economy long enough to understand what liberalism or worse Socialism means to their future.
The good news for Republicans is that if history is prologue, as the young settle down to career and family, they will lose their far-Left fervor and slowly turn to the conservative side. I know that to be a fact as I grew up in the radical ‘60s and today my generation is very much conservative.
Another take away from the election appears to be that the heretofore dependable Democratic Black voting bloc may be showing signs of cracking as Blacks may finally vote for policy and not for just a Democrat. I do not see this being a big deal this time around, but there sure appears to be an awakening amongst African Americans that Democrats have always taken them for granted, without having delivered anything in return. For the long haul I suspect to see ever more Black Republicans assume elected office with the support of the Republican Party. And I would expect to see an awakening of African Americans from the nightmare of Democratic victimhood that, to keep them in line, has been perpetuated against them.
As we all know Hispanics represent the expanding population growth in our nation. While for far into the future African American population is expected to stay flat at about 13%, Hispanic population currently about 19%, will outgrow them rapidly. This election marks the turning point in Hispanic political impact. Soon they will demand much of the political spotlight that African Americans have demanded over the last few decades. And with their growing voter strength, they will be in a strong position to secure it. Over time, I would expect to see both Parties doing far more recruitment of Hispanic candidates and placing growing emphasis on Hispanic issues.
In an amazing transformation, philosophically we have seen a swing toward Socialists and Socialist policies emanating from the Democratic Party. What is different than ever before is that, for the first time, a major American Party has accepted, even adopted, Socialism as a legitimate governing viewpoint. Even though Democratic policies and leaders have been closeted Socialists for a long time, never in history has this extreme philosophy been given any credibility by a national party. In effect Democrats have come out of the closet on Socialism and are now open proponents for its implementation.
That is not to say that all Democrats are Socialist. What it is to say is that even those who are professed Progressives may well be swept along on a tide of Socialist leadership and emotion. And those who were old-school moderate Democrats may find that they cannot tolerate a now-Socialist Party and will find happiness in the populism of the Republican Party.
If Democrats win the Presidency and Congress, they will probably spend two years ramming their entire wish list of Socialist and Progressive programs down the throats of reluctant Americans. This is what they did with Obamacare and the result was an overwhelming defeat in the following mid-term elections. I have no doubt that they would use their new found power to do what they have longed for and equally I have no doubt that their blind Leftist zeal will result in a crushing defeat in the 2022 election – assuming the Democrats don’t ram through changes in our political process aimed at cementing their gains.
Of course, they might not win and in that case, I would expect to see a doubling down of national prosperity based on the populism that Trumpism brought about. This prosperity alone would be a powerful repudiation of Socialism and Progressivism.
Republicans must recognize that the great economic success of the previously solid Red South has attracted vast numbers of in-migrants from Blue states. The political concern for Republicans is that these folks bring with them their predilection toward liberal voting and liberal causes. The result is that states like Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas are now considered borderline Purple states. So, in national elections Democrats may be able to count on large numbers of Blue votes congregated in southern cities to sway entire states. Much like the nation, even though most of the state would still be Conservative, the large number of Democrats in a few large cities will dictate the whole state outcome.
Trump has, in four years, re-made the Republican Party in his image. His policies of America First, freedom from government, low taxes, and so on have now achieved substantial appeal to Republicans who for so long have felt that their elected leadership took them for granted and refused to stand strong against the covert Socialist undercurrents of the Democratic Party. What we see in rallies with tens of thousands of passionate Trump supporters is the attraction of a leader who has tapped into decades of pent up frustration by Conservatives. Should Trump lose, those passions will have to find alternate living arrangements.
And without a leader like Trump, someone who united a Party desperate to address the people’s beliefs, it is hard to tell what the future holds. Perhaps worse for Conservatives, resurgent Democrats will take advantage of their numbers and make short term revival of Republican fortunes unlikely. Should there be a Biden win and concurrent Democratic sweep the future of a voice in American politics for Conservatives would look bleak. However, as noted above, the reaction of American voters to being force-fed Socialist and Progressive taxes and policies may offer an opportunity to reverse that decline.
There are still a great many Never Trumpers and other moderates who do not like his personality or even Trump himself. But these citizens are becoming irrelevant under the outpouring of passion for what Trump has done and what he may be able to do. The shape of the post-Trump Republican Party will to a great extent be determined by events under which today’s Republicans have no control and under a yet-to-be-identified strong leader. Irrelevance as a Party after a Democrat sweep is not wholly out of the question.
In one area Trump has, through his fault or not, undertaken dangerous policy. He once built the economy and is now rebuilding it on the back of low interest rates and massive Federal debt. Perhaps because of the COVID shutdown, he had no choice, but we now have the highest debt in history and over the long term it will be problematic. Of recent times there has been some check on the growth of borrowing by a reluctant Senate, but should the Democrats prevail, there is no chance of any renewed fiscal sanity.
The lesson from the election is that politicians have little or no compunction about spending other people’s money, until there is none left to spend! And by then Venezuela starts to look good.
Even without knowing who will win the election, there are these and many more lessons to be garnered. Whatever the outcome, I suspect that American politics have been significantly changed and may take a long time before there new configuration is resolved.
The America that my generation has known is gone, a new generation will have to fight the political battles to try and save the great America that they were born into.