Since 2008, conservatives and libertarians have been told by progressives that the demographics of the country were changing and not in our favor. We were told that we should change our values or face being marginalized because “nobody thinks like you anymore.”
I remember pointing out that just one month before the election of Barack Obama, Rasmussen Polls surveyed voters and found that 42% self-described as “conservative”. When the most liberal president ever was elected, it seemed reasonable to assume that Rasmussen had been wrong. The problem with that was everywhere I went, I ran into conservatives. And, I do mean everywhere. When visiting the very blue East Coast, I had people ask me admiringly if I had met Sarah Palin. Which I have. And, no, I can’t explain what happened to her after she lost the Vice Presidential bid. Greed … corruption … overreach and inability to deal with it? Sarah now is not the Sarah I knew then. Not that we were close friends, but she was a GREAT governor who banked money for the rainy day we’re in today, as opposed to Parnell, who spent all that money … with a lot of help from our legislators. Anyway, she’s not the topic here.
In the run up to the 2016 election, Democrats and progressives were particularly gleeful, certain that they would prove their assertions once and for all. Here are some examples:
On August 8, 2016, Mark Siegel of the Huffington Post averred:
The votes of the Electoral College states that consistently vote Democratic has now swelled to a reliable 244, just 26 electoral votes from the majority needed to win. For Republican presidential candidates to prevail in the Electoral College, they must thread the needle of marginal “purple” states, needing to win ALL of them to succeed.
Current demography makes a Republican win increasingly difficult, exacerbating recent historical trends. In the last six presidential elections Republicans have lost the popular vote five times. They prevailed in the Electoral College in 2000 and 2004 with 284 and 286 Electoral College votes, a margin of 14 and 16 electoral votes out of 538. In the last four elections won by Democrats, they received 370 Electoral College votes in 1992, 379 in 1996, 365 in 2008 and 332 in 2012, margins of victory ranging from 52 to 109. Democrats can afford to lose almost all purple states and still top 270.
The Trump-ization of the Republican Party in 2016 makes the future of the party even more problematic. The outlook for Trump’s candidacy points to the same losing Electoral College pattern — or worse — with even the “red” states of NC, AR, GA and MO now in play. And demographic projections currently predict that Texas, the most critical Republican prize of all, with 32 electoral votes, will slip from “red” to “purple” to “blue” within two cycles as a result of of the rapid acceleration of the Hispanic electorate. When — not if — Texas turns blue, the Republicans, under the best of conditions, will cease to be a competitive national political party in presidential elections.
On November 6, 2016, Stan Collander wrote in Forbes:
[A] realignment has to be evident at the bottom as well as the top of the ballot. To be considered real, the change in voting behavior has to occur for governor, mayor, sheriff and dogcatcher as well as for president.That is why any absolute declaration any time soon that the 2016 election shows that there is a new and unstoppable Trump movement will be nonsense. A proactive declaration of a realigning election at best will be “premature,” and that’s using very polite language.
I tend to agree that realignment elections take several election cycles to prove themselves, which was why I was skeptical there was a political realignment underway when Barack Obama won in 2008. In 2012, when he won again despite a very poor performance in foreign policy and the economy, I began to wonder if the progressives might be right.
Wondering if someone is right does not obligate me to change my principals. I remain who I am regardless of what you think of me or what some expert tells me is going to happen to people who hold my values.
Apparently there are a lot of people who agree with me and they’ve been very busy in their respective states making Democrats look like blue-bubble dwellers.
This is the electoral composition of state Legislatures across the country.
Republicans control both chambers in 32 states, including 17 with veto-proof majorities. Those 32 states cover 61 percent of the U.S. population. Democrats, meanwhile, control the legislature in just 13 states, amounting to 28 percent of the country’s population; only four of those chambers have veto-proof majorities.
With a firm grip on the presidency, Congress, and soon the Supreme Court, Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than in any election since at least 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected to the White House. Democrats now face a deep hole they need to climb out of if they ever hope to be competitive in the future.
For blue islanders, it becomes even more terrifying when you look at governors:
That’s 34 states with a Republican governor (up 3 states since 2015), not including Alaska’s independent Governor Bill Walker who used to be a Republican and only dropped his party membership after he realized the GOP primary in Alaska is rigged.
As shown above, Republicans now control the governor’s office in 33 states, amounting to 60 percent of the population, while Democrats control just 16 states with 40 percent of the population. (Alaska has an independent governor supported by the Democrats.) Republicans now hold a greater number of governor’s offices than they have in several generations.
This transition has been underway for some time. It picked up speed under Obama’s capricious policies that seemed designed to build up the blue regions at the expense of the red ones.
It’s important to understand that Donald Trump pierced the Democrats’ vaunted “blue wall” of reliable states, carrying the Midwest states of Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan (recount notwithstanding). Barack Obama carried all three of these states in 2012, when he was running against a white male candidate, suggesting these states are not chockful of racists. In fact, after those white voters supported Obama, they were praised, by leading Democratic voices and media wise men, for being enlightened, broad-minded, unselfish and patriotic Americans.
So, right now, the Democrats are struggling with the outcome of this election. I’m not really happy with it myself. I’m glad Clinton didn’t win and dismayed Trump did. But here’s a friendly suggestion to Democrats. Learn something from Hillary’s “deplorable” misstep. If you demonize the people who supported the other party’s candidate as moral lepers, mental midgets or ethical eunuchs, you’re probably not going to win their goodwill and their future votes.
This election ended where elections always do: with the voters. … and the voters are angry.
- Voters are angry at the failure of elected officials in Washington to listen to them and act.
- They are angry at the arrogance of the rich and well educated who don’t seem to know — much less care — that working people’s standard of living has been declining for a generation.
- They are angry at the media, at journalists they think, look and sound too smug, too certain and too aloof.
- They are angry at the ‘new economy’ that trumpets apps and functionality and brags about the ‘costs’ (read: jobs) that are being eliminated.
- They are angry about being mocked and vilified as rubes, racists and ‘deplorables.’
- They are white-hot angry that their children don’t have reasonable prospects for advancement.
Until the Democrats stop addressing social issues that divide moral people from their values and start addressing economic and trade issues, they will remain a fringe party. Yes, they have the cities … but the cities aren’t everything, even if their residents think they are.
Until elites learn that they are not the center of the universe and stop treating people who don’t live in the blue bubble zones as if they’re idiots, they will find themselves in the shame corner.
This election was about a lot of things, but more than anything it was about respect … or the “blue” lack of respect for a substantial portion of the population that feeds them and mines their energy and repairs their stuff.