All Quiet On The US Election Front?
The voting has begun, counting will soon follow. Who will be the 45th President? In a few hours (following poll closings), we should learn.
At this time, there is no need for television ads and all the venom that seemed so normal for the past oh so many months. Regrettably, election day is not exempt from the enormously wasteful expenditure of campaign money. But tomorrow will be another day, somewhat like the quiet that comes with a snow storm, eerily the wait will be over and the next President will be known… for better or worse.
Most all the political forecasters predict the election is unlikely to repeat the closeness of George W Bush’s 2000 election. Most pollsters are predicting a Clinton victory and most probably with an electoral college margin about 5+ points higher than Trump’s. So why is there so much anxiety today?
Donald Trump has run an unconventional campaign and tapped into a large number of voters who often don’t vote. The question on most people’s minds is how many voters will that be?
A Clinton victory, however, will represent the third time in a row where Republicans considered their proposition a sure winner for most Americans. And, the third time in a row where Americans said “no thinks” to the GOP offer. Why?
The Republican Party of 60’s, 70’s or 80’s is not the Republican Party of today. The Party is not the one which once boasted Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan as its standard bearer. The GOP has sold its soul to small, ideologically different factions which individually represents views not held by a majority of Americans. These factions are demographically out of touch with Americans.
For example, “building a wall” may sound inviting to unemployed workers but will likely lose Donald Trump far more votes than he can afford. GOP Bible thumpers cheer when Donald Trump says he will close Planned Parenthood while the GOP Tea Party segment jump up and down at Trump’s promise of “huge” tax cuts. What will these subgroups do if Trump does not win?
A wiser GOP (compared to 2012) would once again do an autopsy on the 2016 results. The study will most likely conclude (again) that alienating women, gays, Blacks, and Hispanics was not a good strategy for a national election.
And an even wiser strategy might emerge if the GOP remembered that Americans have a special spot in their hearts for “fairness”. Just saying “no” is transparently unfair to all Americans, even though to certain Republican segments, saying “no” is well appreciated.
What the GOP needs to recognize is that Democrats occupy the demographic high ground and will continue to win if Republicans insist upon replaying the same old game the same way.
Ironically, Donald Trump’s nomination is a wake up call in itself for the GOP. This Pied Piper blew through 16 other traditional GOP candidates in the primaries by picking and choosing which part of the GOP he wished to attract. His opponents were either too bland, too wedded to a certain faction, or just too small in comparison to Trump’s oversized persona.
Trump’s voting coalition also has a demographic handicap. The GOP’s weakness may have been compounded by Trump with his denigration of this group or that one. (Trump may have seen this behavior differently because his strongest supporters cheered.)
Sadly, Democrats do not possess all the best answers to today’s problems. But current GOP strategies and policies make it possible for Democrats to win the Presidency. Competition makes organizations improve and continuing to contest the Presidency with an unwinnable platform does no one any good.
And surprise, surprise, a sharper GOP would inevitably spur a sharper Democrat Party to become more relevant and serve America better.
Wise Republicans will be thinking about this even during the relative peace that follows election day. Whether thinking will lead to change actions is another question. Time will tell.