I have three reasons for thinking that conservatives will turn out at the polls and support Trump’s agenda this Fall, despite that alleged “Blue Wave.”
The doom and gloomers, including the relentless NeverTrumpers, are saying that there’s a good chance that the Democrats will retake the House, because who doesn’t want to see Nancy Pelosi with the Speaker’s gavel in hand once again. We also have to deal with the reality that, while growing numbers of Americans recognize that the media is deranged, hysterical, and dishonest, news coverage that tilts 90% against Trump (trumpeting conspiracy theories while burying actual, pro-Trump news), will have a subliminal effect on voters.
Because I’m often a doom and gloomer, you’d think that I’d be wringing my hands now and crying out “Woe is me; woe is America.” For once, though, I’m a bit optimistic. I suspect that with Trump, even more than with Dubya, we’re in a world in which the “shy Tory factor” is very pronounced. Here are three reasons why I think that:
Reason #1: I was listening to a Dan Bongino podcast (which I highly recommend), and he told a story about his certainty that Trump would win in November 2016. According to Bongino, he figured out what was going on when he was running for a House seat in Florida (which he lost, something that was bad for Florida, but probably good for everyone else because, as I said, I highly recommend his podcast).
As Bongino explains it, when you’re canvasing, your campaign manager will give you a list of likely voters so that you can target them with door-to-door visits. It would be nice, of course, if the candidate could knock on every door, but knocking on the doors of people who are disinterested or die-hard members of the opposing party is just a waste of time.
So, how does a campaign manager figure out who a “likely voter” is? It’s a person who voted in past elections. Past votes, after all, are reasonable predictors for future votes.
What Bongino noticed, though, was that as he went from the house of one “likely Republican voter” to another, he was bypassing myriad houses that had “Trump for President” signs in front of them. Finally, curiosity got the best of him, and he knocked on a few doors, introduced himself, and asked about those Trump signs.
Bongino discovered that these signs festooned the homes of people who were not likely voters because they’d never voted before. For that reason, they weren’t showing up in the polls and they weren’t showing up in campaign algorithms. Nevertheless, they were so excited by Trump’s candidacy that they finally decided it was time to vote.
I suspect that Bongino’s 2016 experience continues to hold in 2018: There are lots of invisible Trump supporters, which leads me to Reasons #2 and #3 for my out-of-character optimism.
Reason #2: The reason I didn’t blog this weekend was because we were staying with friends up in the mountains. They are delightful friends: intelligent, hospitable, playful, and with great senses of humor. I really like them . . . that is, until the conversation turns to politics, at which time I’m not so comfortable around him.
He is a fanatic Progressive: George W. Bush was a stupid monkey of a man driven by Christian fundamentalism to destroy the world; Trump is Hitler; Hillary was a great candidate; there’s no possibility that the Lancet “study” about Iraq war deaths was a fraud; and the world is going up in flames thanks to anthropogenic climate change.
In other words, he’s exactly like all of the other intelligent, fun, nice people in my Blue, Blue part of the world. He is definitely not a cause for optimism this coming November. He’s passionate, energized and, to my mind at least, misinformed about facts and holding the wrong end of the ideological stick.
But what about her? Well, it turns out that she thinks that small government is good, borders are necessary, a free market creates wealth, low taxes help the economy, males are males and females are females, and a whole host of other conservative views. In the last year and a half, she’s grown to like Trump tremendously because he’s kept his promises and those promises have been consistent with her values.
Here’s the kicker, though: I’m the only one who knows this. (It’s a long story how we discovered our shared politics, and I won’t bore you with it.) In addition to her husband’s open Progressivism, her community is as Blue as mine.
My friend is a strong, intelligent woman, but she cherishes her very happy marriage. She is therefore willing to keep quiet about her beliefs because she and her husband are in complete harmony on all other things. I certainly can’t argue with that choice on her part. For a woman (pardon my sexism), a happy marriage can be central to her existence.
Moreover, outside of the home, my friend doesn’t want the people with whom she interacts to start calling her evil, bigoted, and stupid. In other words, she’s where I was more than a decade ago when I wrote one of my first American Thinker articles. We are women who like functional harmony in our personal lives. Separate from disliking having people call us names, going public destroys that harmony.
If pollsters were to call my friend’s home while her husband is around, she would either hang up on them or lie. In other words, she would be an uncounted Trump supporter. But she will be a counted Trump voter in 2020 and she’ll be a conservative voter in 2018. Those votes may not count for a lot in California, but my friend is still part of a groundswell of people who feel forced to be dishonest in day-to-day life but will be completely honest when they’re in the privacy of the voting booth.
That makes me optimistic.
Reason #3: Because I have college-aged children, I often find myself in the company of college students — you know, the brainwashed, snowflake, millennial cohort. One of them happens to be a very nice, very smart young man. He is, of course, a conventional young Progressive because he grew up in a highly Progressive milieu and attends a highly Progressive college.
In the past, this young man has given me the great compliment of telling me that he hears things from me that he’s never heard before and that really give him reason to think. That’s nice, of course, but it’s not necessarily about the upcoming elections.
What’s telling, though, is that, when he started college, his father introduced him to investing in the stock market. This young man now manages his own small portfolio. He’s seen that portfolio grow fast in the last eighteen months and readily credits Trump’s economic policies for that growth. By that I mean that he’s not trying to convince himself that “the Obama economy is finally bearing fruit.” Instead, he’s smart enough to have figured out that low taxes and decreased regulations make a difference, and that it’s a difference that has a profound benefit for him and his future economic well-being.
There’s zero chance that this young man will return to college and start preaching the gospel of Trump. He’s a sociable fellow and I can’t imagine him wanting to become a pariah on campus. Nevertheless, because I don’t think that this young man is a single issue “abortion voter,” I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, in 2020, his growing portfolio sees him seeking another four years of President Trump. I also wonder if there are more like him at his college and at other colleges across America.
As you all know, my default setting is pessimistic. I’m therefore not going to run out and bet on Republicans holding onto either the House or the Senate this fall. Nevertheless, there’s some small part of my brain that can’t help wondering whether those who were originally excited about Trump vote for him again; whether there are large numbers of people too cowed to speak but not too cowed to vote; and whether millennials, seeing their net worth grow, won’t do what young people often do . . . and change their minds.
As Don Surber reminds us, whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic, we must get out and vote in November. It’s up to us — each one of us — to help maintain a status quo that is seeing America grow ever stronger and more prosperous under a man who is proving to be a true patriotic and a great, and effective, leader.
Photo Credit: Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore. Creative Commons; some rights reserved.