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Why Donald Trump Lost

Despite most polling data, Tim Arends successfully predicted in 2016, two weeks before the general election, a big win for Donald Trump.


Written in 2019, this essay was originally titled, "Why Donald Trump Will Win Reelection in 2020." This optimistic forecast was based not on variable and inherently unpredictable factors like polls, the state of the economy, or whoever won the Democratic nomination for president. It was based on historical trends as well as fundamental differences in the philosophy of the Republican and Democratic parties, and why I thought the philosophy of the Republicans meshes much better with that of the American people.

The main reasons why I predicted a Trump win in 2020 had to do largely with shifting attitudes within the Democratic Party during the past decade. But before we get into why Trump lost, let us look at why I thought Trump would win.

Factor 1: The Opposition

Though this was important, I did not think the primary reason Trump would win was the incredibly weak slate of candidates the Democrats put up. Early in the campaign season, the top two Democrats were Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Biden was widely seen as "too old" and even "racist," while Warren embarrassed herself by claiming to be Native American and then releasing her DNA test showing her to be almost 100% pure white Caucasian. As we know, Biden won the nomination, and as I predicted, he did not prove to be a tough challenger to Trump in the debates. Worse, his running mate, Kamala Harris, was a not-very-popular candidate who couldn't even win in the Democratic primaries.

Factor 2: Economy

“It’s the economy, stupid!” During the first three years of the Trump administration, at least, the economy did well, despite the predictions of many.

Even with the Coronavirus lockdown, which badly hurt the economy, it did not seem to have a major impact on Trump's popularity, as the economy showed signs of roaring back to health as soon as the lockdown ended.

Factor 3: Satisfaction

Trump could have disappointed his base; he could have failed to make sufficient progress on the wall before the election or he could have made some bad compromise on guns with the Democrats that greatly disappointed his base. Even so, I did not think this would happen (and it didn't). Most conservatives, libertarians, and moderates realized the alternative—a Democrat gaining the White House—would be far, far worse.

Factor 4: Historical precedent

Another reason I expected a Trump win (although still not the major reason) is that over the last three presidential administrations, there has been a trend by the American people to let the sitting president serve two full terms in office. Call it the “incumbent advantage.“ This trend spanned over three separate administrations for a period of over a quarter of a century. Consider the last three presidential administrations:

  • Bill Clinton (Democrat): Two terms
  • George W. Bush (Republican): Two terms
  • Barack Obama (Democrat): Two terms

It seemed very, very unlikely that Trump would break this trend.

Factor 5: Phony Scandals

As soon as Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Democrats announced their desire to have him impeached. First they dragged the country through the "Russian collusion" hysteria for over two years, and when that fell through, they simply switched to the Trump "Ukraine scandal" instead. These endless "scandals" merely fostered resentment towards the Democrat party on the part of the American public, who largely saw through their motivations. Besides, the fact that Democrats needed impeachment to remove Trump was a tacit admission that they knew he would otherwise win in 2020.

Factor 6: Democrats' Self-Hatred

A big reason I expected a Democrat loss is that the Democratic front runners apparently didn't believe they were qualified to run the country!

Take Beto O’Rourke, for example. He admitted that Democrats were looking for a woman or a non-white as a nominee, and that was part of the problem—not the Democrats' attitude, but the fact that he was a white man!

In fact, he said that if people choose to vote against him because of his race or gender, “that’s a very legitimate basis upon which to make a decision.“ How can you possibly win the presidency if you don’t believe in yourself—if you believe that your race or sex disqualifies you for the presidency?

Democrats were in a virtual euphoria when Obama was elected.

Democrats were in a virtual euphoria when Obama was elected.

Democrats' View of America in the Obama Era

But the big reason I thought the Democrats would lose is that their party has a fundamental pessimism about the United States of America. How can you win if you don’t believe in the country you’re running for?

This was not always so. When Barack Obama was elected, the Democrat party was at it’s highest point of euphoria in perhaps decades. Remember that Obama‘s campaign slogan was "Hope and Change."

When Obama was running for president, Democrats had great optimism, which they spread to the rest of America. Just recall some of the quotes from celebrities and media pundits after Obama announced his candidacy, won the nomination and was elected.

Celebrities' and Journalists' Words on Obama's Election

“He is a community organizer like Jesus was. And now, we’re a community and he can organize us.” —Actress Susan Sarandon

“He’s like Gandhi or something. He’s got that powerful, soulful thing in him.” —Actor Alan Cumming

“I was there at the Mall. [It was] the feeling of millions of people all there sending positive energy and having hope together.” —Actress Anne Hathaway

“It’s the end of a shameful history of our relationship to African-Americans.” —Actress Ellen Burstyn

(Did you get that? “It’s the end of a shameful history.” But today, from hearing Democrats speak, you would think that race-relations are more shameful than they’ve ever been before.)

It wasn’t just celebrities. Look at some quotes from news anchors and pundits:

“Obama is a rock star.” —NBC’s Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC’s 2004 convention coverage.

“He’s the Tiger Woods of the Democratic Party right now.” —ABC’s George Stephanopoulos

“I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My — I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.” —MSNBC’s Chris Matthews

It’s easy to forget the fervor just over 10 years ago when Obama was inaugurated. It was a “historic moment.” The Washington, DC public schools declared Inauguration Day a holiday. At least one university suspended classes for three hours during the ceremony and set up projection televisions in the basketball arena so that students could watch it.

Big corporations also jumped on the Obama bandwagon. Budweiser came out with a new American Ale it called “Inaugur Ale,” Obama was the guest star in Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man Number 583. Ice cream makers Ben and Jerry’s, coffee giant Starbuck’s, Southwest Airlines, and donut maker Krispy Kreme all came out with products or promotions tied to the Obama inauguration. Pepsi even changed its logo temporarily to resemble the “O” logo from the Obama campaign, accompanied by its “Refresh Our Nation” slogan.

The American flag today is in tatters in the view of the Democrats

The American flag today is in tatters in the view of the Democrats

Democrats' View of America in the Trump Era

How times have changed! The big reason the Democrats should have, by all logic and reason, failed to regain the presidency in 2020 is simply this: their party has gone from the party of hope, optimism, and excitement to the party of pessimism, disgust, and resentment.

Contrast Actress Ellen Burstyn’s “It’s the end of a shameful history of our relationship to African-Americans” with what Joe Biden said in a speech to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in January 2019—that “systematic racism” has been “built into every aspect of our system.” Apparently, he means that racism has been built into the very foundation of America, that it’s part of America’s very being.

Beto O’Rourke said in an interview with MSNBC, “This country has been racist as long as it’s been a country.“ In other words, America is apparently a fundamentally “racist” nation, not a fundamentally good country that merely has holdovers of racism in it. There’s a big difference between the two!

In a speech in Arkansas, O’Rourke, as part of his campaign relaunch, said that the United States of America, “though we would like to think otherwise, was founded on racism, has persisted in racism, and is racist today.” Donald Trump is apparently the Racist-in-Chief, and presumably, anyone who votes for him is just as bad.

Making matters worse is the incredibly divisive issue of reparations for the slavery of the distant American past. All of the major Democrat candidates came out in favor of reparations. Apparently, all white Americans—every one of them, even those who came here after slavery ended—are a party to this evil, and so every one of them must pay reparations to African-Americans.

The issue of reparations for slavery may be the most divisive issue since slavery itself.

The issue of reparations for slavery may be the most divisive issue since slavery itself.

Today's Democratic Message

So here is the Democrat message: America was founded not on the principles of liberty and the Constitution, but on racism and white nationalism, and the country is steeped in these things—perhaps America is racist at its very core!

Think of what this says about the American people! If they don’t vote or think the way the Democrats do, they must be inherently bad people as well! Or, as Hillary Clinton put it, “a basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”

How can you possibly win a campaign based on insulting and smearing many of the very people you hope to vote for you? This is not an optimistic message—it is a profoundly negative, pessimistic and—dare I say it—hateful message.

New Levels of Pessimism

Now, to be honest, when one party is out of power, it always tends to portray the state of the country in a pretty poor light during a presidential election season. But this campaign was different. Democrats no longer see America as a fundamentally good country that has lost its way. Rather, they see it as a fundamentally bad country that was founded on unjust principles ("racism," "sexism," "xenophobia," etc.) and must be completely deconstructed, then remade from the ground up in the Democrats’ image.

Americans are an inherently optimistic people. To carve a great nation out of the wilderness requires a heroic attitude of optimism. Americans are not drawn to pessimistic messages or pessimistic views of the country. All of these things made a Trump win a virtual certainty.


Trump Better Represented America

Why did the 2020 election matter so much? Because nothing less was at stake than the very soul of America (I think both liberals and conservatives might agree with that).

When one political party is in power for a long time, as the Democrat party was for the eight years of Obama, it’s easy to be corrupted. (If the GOP was in power for too long, the same thing could happen).

But the bigger problem is that the Democrat party no longer seems to believe in America. Forget Ronald Reagan‘s “shining city on a hill” vision of America. The Democrats increasingly no longer consider America to be a great country. They think of it as a country with a terrible history—one that, in the words of Beto O’Rourke, was “founded on racism, built on racism, and continues to be racist to this day.”

Some Democrats openly state that a large percentage of the American people are just downright bad people—racist, bigoted, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, white nationalist, white supremacist, etc.

How can you govern a nation and a people who you think are morally bankrupt? How can you represent all the people when you think many of them are worthy of contempt? How can you represent a country that you are not proud of?

This is the existential threat now facing the Democrat party. Through their rhetoric, they are showing not only a lack of patriotism, love, and respect for the country they wish to govern, but a fundamental contempt for it and the people who make it up.

UPDATE: It's become even more obvious - the left hates America!

So What Happened?

When November 3, 2020 rolled around, Trump not only looked to win big, but by a landslide. He won most of the bellwether states—the states that almost always predict the ultimate winner of a presidential race. He won Florida—again, a win that almost always predicts a win of the national election. Millions of Americans went to bed on election night with Trump solidly in the lead and a win almost a certainty.

Then something strange happened: ballot counting centers in multiple states shut down operations in the middle of the night, and almost simultaneously.

In some cases, the rationale for the shutdown turned out to be false. In Michigan, it was claimed that a water main broke at the ballot counting center, but later investigation proved that no such thing happened. Video footage showed boxes of ballots being pulled out from under tables after the election watchers were told to go home. Other poll watchers were denied access to the accounting process. Video footage at one counting station shows the windows being covered up so that no one could witness what was happening inside. This was all in violation of existing laws. In the morning, when the newly-found ballots were counted, Trump's lead had suddenly evaporated.

To conservatives, the Democrats had given plenty of hints that they were planning to muddle the elections. For months they had pushed the usage of mail-in ballots under the pretext of COVID-19, claiming that it was "too dangerous" for people to go to the voting stations in person (even though most Americans, as long as they wore a mask, had no trouble going grocery shopping). And so, the totally expected and unsurprising thing happened: the votes ended up being counted under very questionable circumstances.

Unfortunately, the 2020 election fiasco was an example of the failure of virtually every major institution of government intended to protect the American people. The poll watching process failed. The vote counting process failed. The courts refused to look at challenges to the voting process. The Supreme Court refused to rule on the matter, claiming a lack of "standing." Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress failed to thoroughly investigate the matter. Even the vice president refused to weigh in, claiming it was "too big" a decision for one man (ignoring the fact that precedent was set over 200 years ago by none other than Thomas Jefferson).

Rasmussen polling results say it all

According to Rasmussen, 47% of the public believe the 2020 election was fraudulent. We cannot have a functioning democracy if people don't trust the vote.

According to Rasmussen, 47% of the public believe the 2020 election was fraudulent. We cannot have a functioning democracy if people don't trust the vote.

The Danger: We Will All Lose Faith In America

The upshot of the 2020 election fiasco is this: we are all losing faith in America—Democrats and Republicans alike. According to a Rasmussen poll, 47% of the public believe the 2020 election was fraudulent (including a stunning 75% of Republicans).

How can this country continue to operate as a democracy if a large percentage of the public no longer believes in the integrity of our elections? How can we function as a two-party system if 75% of Republicans no longer believe that the election process can be trusted?

This is the danger of the woefully cavalier attitude paid to the election irregularities of 2020. If one election can be badly compromised, what's to keep all future elections from being compromised?

What's worse, many social media sites are now even cracking down on any discussion of election fraud. YouTube has banned all mentions of the subject and, in a stunning and unprecedented show of arrogance and authoritarianism, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites even banned the sitting president of the United States following the January 6 vote in Congress!

As Dennis Prager of PragerU has pointed out, our founding fathers wisely realized that free-speech is like the valve on a pressure cooker. If this valve is removed, an explosion occurs.

A free and fair vote is the only safeguard we have as a democracy. If people feel that their vote no longer counts and they're no longer even allowed to complain about it, an eruption is bound to occur. This could cause a Civil War (in fact, some people argue that we are already in a low-grade version of such a war).

Our so-called "leaders" have set up an explosive situation. It is not likely to end well.

Despite this optimistic cartoon, the courts reneged on their promise to protect and defend the laws of this country when they refused to rule on the many election irregularities of 2020, claiming lack of "standing."

Despite this optimistic cartoon, the courts reneged on their promise to protect and defend the laws of this country when they refused to rule on the many election irregularities of 2020, claiming lack of "standing."

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.