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According to the media conventional wisdom, the 2020 US elections represent a repudiation of Trumpism. Is this really true? Is Trumpism dead?
Although Trump has lost the presidential election, he performed much better than the pollsters and so-called experts predicted. After all, the President faced a trifecta of crises (health, economic, racial). The Democrats outspent Republicans in campaign funds, commanding huge support from the media, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and leading cultural institutions. Add to this Trump’s first presidential debate performance, which horrified the world.
And yet, far from a blue wave washing the Republicans out of power and capturing the Senate, Americans reduced Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House majority and are likely to keep Republicans in control of the Senate as a brake on the Democratic agenda. Which means no death to the legislative filibuster, no new US states (Puerto Rico, Washington, DC), no Supreme Court stacking, no confiscatory tax increases, no Green New Deal.
Trump won five million more votes than he did in 2016 and commanded 48 per cent of the popular vote (higher than any poll during his presidency). He also broadened his appeal to minorities: the Republican message of economic opportunity resonated with minority Asian, Hispanic and African-American entrepreneurs and workers.
Voters remembered the booming pre-pandemic Trump economy (fueled by tax cuts and deregulation), which led to low unemployment and rising wages among broad swathes of workers. At the same time, as I pointed out in The Australian a week before election day, the Democrats, by lurching to what passes as the left in the American context, drove many voters to turn out to stop any ‘transformational’ agenda.
Finally, as former Republican presidential adviser and candidate Pat Buchanan told me this week, Trumpism was not repudiated by the American people if, by Trumpism, one means ‘America First’ nationalism, protecting borders, using tariffs to bring back a manufacturing base, bidding goodbye to globalism, staying out of unnecessary wars and combating the political correctness of the cancel-culture movement.
Tom Switzer is executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies. His interview with Pat Buchanan appears on the ABC’s Radio National.
Repudiation of the US left