Thursday, November 5, 2020

Some Post Election Thoughts

 What a strange night we had this week. As has been my custom of late, I sat out the evening's fireworks, laying my head down to sleep at about 2000 hrs after reading some colonial American history by the fire. I intended to sleep through until four or five, but at one AM, I woke and saw that the Kitten was there next to me. This meant one of two things: that Biden had won Florida and it was all over, or that something had gone wrong. I decided to wake to see which it was.

Had I checked my text messages before turning on the television, I would have had my answer, as the Kitten had written me an abrupt missive critical of my usual enthusiasm and telling me that I was "wrong again".  That I had only a few hours earlier told her that the most likely outcome was a very close election with no declared winner by morning, but Biden being on a path to victory that would be in the can within ten days--did not seem to matter because I had said that the second most likely outcome was a Biden runaway. 

I sat down and for 2.5 hours, took in all the information that was available to me, including the execrable spectacle of the President claiming victory like a banana republic caudillo, only to have his VP speak of the results as a sane individual only feet away. Around 0330, I had all the information I needed. Given where things were and what was left, Biden would have at least 270 and I can go back to sleep. As I write this, the same conditions apply, and I believe it to be only a matter of time before this thing is in the history books, save for whatever boorish behavior history's least gracious President decides upon during his last weeks of freedom before being indicted by the New York Attorney General. But, I digress.

The only way that I could have been more wrong about this election would be if Trump had won. My skills as a prognosticator continue to underwhelm, but more importantly, my understanding of the country I live in and its voters revealed itself to once again be unequal to the task. To wit: I was metaphysically certain that Donald Trump's share of the vote would decline in virtually every state. I mean, We've had four years of the shitshow, there was no "lesser of two evils" thing anymore. We had evidence that he was bad at his job , we had hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, we had daily reminders of what a terrible person we had elected. OF COURSE he would lose share.

But that didn't happen. In fact, quite the opposite. I did some random sampling this morning of state results (as of now) vs 2016, and in virtually every single one, Trump's share of the vote increased. Even in states that flipped or seem to have flipped. This may entirely be a factor of less convincing third party candidates this year, but that would just be something I told myself to comfort my tender ego. The bottom line is that as big of a dumpster fire that this administration was, MORE AMERICANS THOUGHT IT WAS WORTH KEEPING THAN VOTED FOR IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. I could not have been more wrong, and my error leads me to think very differently about the future.

Now--am I over-reacting? After all, all summer long I told my woke older daughter that the rioting is going to hurt Biden, that apolitical people think that the Democratic Party supports not only the just causes behind the peaceful protests, but also the chaos and violence that seemed conveniently to accompany them. Should I have listened more closely to my 85 year old mother who really despises Trump, but who saw Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as Trojan Horses for socialism, family destruction, and chaos? Did I have an inkling that this was coming, that there would be no Blue Wave and that half the country is scared shitless about what the left might do when it has power? I did--but I ignored it.

I ignored it because I thought there was no way the pollsters could get 2020 as wrong as they got 2016. And at this writing, it looks like that may have done just that. We heard so much about "shy Trump" voters this cycle, but I think it is worse than shyness. I think there was yet another spasm of the aggrieved collective unconscious that ties Trump Nation together--and that there was simply a good deal of lying to pollsters. That's right. When you support a man who has zero regard for anything even approaching institutions or norms, you have no problem adopting his well outlined penchant for lying and manipulation. There's nothing wrong with the pollsters--there is something wrong with the polity. Shyness wasn't the issue. Dishonesty was. 

So what now? Darling of Republican nationalism Missouri Senator Josh Hawley tipped his hand yesterday with this tweet: and not far behind, never late to jump on a trendy train Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted this

So if the two darlings of the new right are to be believed, the GOP is going to become a working class party, presumably without the baggage of all the identity politics and unions (good) but also without the emphasis on capital, management, business, and growth (bad). What it looks to me like is that the GOP will try to turn itself into the 1950's Democratic Party, with updated features to include more diversity and presumably, policies devoted to the working class, however that might be defined.

I wish them luck. But this will be a permanent minority party, in no small measure because in order to cater to their new electoral targets, they will have to increasingly demonize wealth and capital, something Republicans have always pointed to as a sin of the Democratic Party. I suppose now everything old is new again. 

So where is a deeply conservative, pro-business, pro-trade, pro-success, pro-growth, pro-American Exceptionalism voter to go?

I suppose it will be right where I've been since 2016, party-less but unbowed in devotion to a set of ideas for governing a large, free people. 

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. But then again, I'm so bad at predicting things that this may all be BS.  We'll see. 

1 comment:

Tom McGrath said...

I hate to reference a South Park character because, as you go to great lengths to point out to your readers, you tend to favor PBS and European cinema. But there is an episode in which Mr Garrison, in order to hide the fact that he is gay, makes gratuitous references to how much he loves “poontang”. Your “deeply conservative, pro-business, pro-trade, pro-success, pro-growth, pro-American Exceptionalism” comment strikes me the same way. I’m sure you believe it though.

So as to “where will you go”? Relax. You’re already there. You pointed out years ago that the wealthiest Americans are more likely to be Democrats because they don’t have to worry about how they vote actually affecting them in the wallet. Such is life at Ferry Bridge. Embrace your new party. Own it.

AOC? Yours.
Open borders? Yours.
The Squad? Yours.
The Green New Deal? Yours.
“Some people did something”? Yours.
Defense cuts? Yours.
Tax hikes? Yours.
Antifa, BLM, riots? Yours.
Cancel culture? Yours.
Reparations? Yours.

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