Not since the Berlin Wall came crashing down have I so enjoyed watching history unfold as with the 2016 election results. Even better, back in 1989, most of the lib-left commentators weren’t so emotionally invested in Erich Honecker, but last Tuesday night, the mainstream media talkers just sat there in tears as their heroine went down. On the other hand, I don’t see why the pollsters (as opposed to the now totally discredited polling “analysts”) are being excoriated. The RCP averages were fairly accurate, showing Hillary with a tiny national lead, and Trump at 266 electoral votes, after the last weekend. So I was very hopeful, if not certain, at the end that Trump could win. With the American Electoral College system, any close election (1976, 2000, 2004, 2012) can go either way with a handful of votes in the right states.
Given Donald Trump’s unique vulnerabilities, getting elected was always going to be the hard part. But now he’s done it, and it turned out there weren’t nearly as many skeletons in Mr. Trump’s gilded Trump Tower closets as many of us feared. Surely, he’s grown as a man and a leader this last year. You can see this in the quality of people now around him. Roger Stone and Paul Manafort are long gone; Kellyanne Conway and Bob Mercer are in; Mike Pence, Ed Meese, and a boatload of other Reaganites will man the transition team.
Trump’s presidency may wind up containing many notable accomplishments, especially with a solid GOP Congress. They will have legislation ready for his desk this winter to build border fences, cut taxes, and replace Obamacare. He can also put a stop to Obama’s most noxious immigration policies from day one. And while foreign policy is tough, it’s nothing like the impossible jobs Trump has taken on before – like competing with the NFL or running luxury hotel casinos in Mogadishu...er, Atlantic City. And he’s already a much better golfer than Obama.
As for Democrats who think they will just automatically win the 2018 elections, they are in for a rude surprise. Midterms will continue to be a disaster for the left as labor union power fades away. That’s why Trump won the election; the old industrial heartland voted GOP. Consider: in 1992, Bill Clinton carried Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, West Virginia, and Michigan. Yet this time around, all those states not only voted Trump, but put in Republican senators (West Virginia didn’t have a senate election). The difference is in the slipping power of unions. Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Michigan are now right-to-work; Ohio and Pennsylvania are not, but only because doofus Republican governors messed up; Kentucky and Missouri will be right-to-work as soon as their new legislatures can vote it in.
As I explained in September, the Democrats’ all-important GOTV efforts work only when there are labor operatives to fund and organize them. In much of the country, that just no longer happens as trade unions disappear.
Tellingly, this year, the biggest labor story was a total embarrassment – James O’Keefe’s sting videos of Bob Creamer and the labor union bullies at Democracy Partners. The whole Democratic Party and its friends in organized labor have run out of energy and ideas. They couldn’t draw flies to a Hillary rally, so the best they could do was send paid thugs to make trouble at Trump events. Pathetic.
My guess is that President Trump, GOP leadership, and the conservative movement all find a way to get along the next four years, while the Democrats are the ones who do the soul-searching and the party-splitting. Wherever they wind up, though, they can no longer expect union dues-paying working people to pick up their tab.