I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed
In 2016, I voted for Donald Trump because he was the Republican candidate. Like many others, I didn’t really expect him to win; the news coverage was already absurdly biased, and given the unattractive marriage of personal defects and political unknowns, he was a legitimate longshot. Indeed, I lost a good sum of money betting on a Hillary rout. Trump’s loss would have been detrimental for the country (I wrote about the 2016 election as being infinitely more critical than this one), but without the expectation of winning, a defeat was at least somewhat palatable.
This year, I fully expected Donald Trump to win. Not only did he have the base intact that propelled him to the upset victory in 2016, but he could also run on the political portfolio of successes he amassed over the course of his tenure (the office of the president released a six-page list of them). I figured the following equation:
2016 Voter Base + Policy Wins + Disaffected Democrats = Trump Landslide
It seemed a pretty straightforward calculation. It was both evidence-based and impartial. Furthermore, while rally turnout doesn’t directly translate into voter turnout, the enthusiasm for him was hitherto unknown for a Republican candidate, and mirrored previous support not seen since Barack Obama circa 2008. Obama’s own charisma resulted in electoral domination, flipping even the reddest of states like Indiana. It stood to reason to expect something similar.
I just kept going back to the fact that Trump was winning as a president. He delivered on promises that truly made America great. And, most Americans acknowledged that. It’s safe to say that no poll truly captures the spirit of Trumpian politics, but Pew found that 56%(!) of respondents said life was better in the time since Trump entered office. Given the reticence to acknowledge anything positive related to Trump, the number could very well be higher. To take this point home, it is worth noting that the poll was conducted in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
So, Americans recognized the greatness of America under Republican - specifically Trump’s - stewardship. They had access to jobs, better paying jobs to boot, more money in their bank accounts, no foreign entanglements, lifting of red tape for businesses, and were realizing just how sinister and insincere the Democrats and media were. Prediction: Red wave.
Going into election night, then, I had high expectations. It felt imminent. Surely, all of the so-called swing states like Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania would fall in Trump’s lap. After all, these states sealed Clinton’s fate just four years ago and in the time since then things have only gotten better. Moreover, there were no further media scandals. Democrats had four years to uncover every single pebble Trump ever stepped on and he had deflected, countered, and proven wrong each accusation. There was simply no more ammunition. The people in these states voted for him in 2016 knowing only what was bad and took a flyer on him; now, the closet had been cleared of skeletons and they could vote solely on everything he had accomplished that was good. Again, it was smooth sailing into a second term and a no-brainer.
So what happened?
How does Governor Whitmer condemn her citizens to perpetual lockdown and get rewarded with a blue Michigan? How does the Democrat Party and the media get a carte blanche to incite racial violence in Kenosha and flip Wisconsin? The same goes for Georgia. Arizona’s and Nevada’s potential swings can only be explained by California transplants too stupid to connect the dots as to why they felt compelled to leave the not-so-Golden State.
I can only speak for myself, but I would guess most conservatives, while certainly feeling mad, upset, and angry, are more likely to feel confused, disheartened, and disappointed. Perhaps it depends on where people are in their stage of grief. They are confused because everything aligned for an electoral pummeling; they are disheartened because four more years of Trump, along with McConnel and the Senate, could really start undoing the harm of Obama and the left as well as implement rock-solid conservative ideals; and, they are disappointed because we had higher hopes for our fellow citizens.
It’s the disappointment that hurts the most.
Selwyn Duke voiced similar perturbation at The New American, which was modeled on other reflections at American Thinker. It appears many conservatives are grappling with big picture questions. Do we really live in such different realities that it causes us to perceive the world around us so dissimilarly? Honestly, I just don’t get it.
Even if Trump had eked out a squeaker, this dumbfoundedness would be the same. As this election was not a blowout for either candidate, my consternation around the makeup and future of America is ingrained regardless of what ultimately gets decided in the recounts or courts. Like I said, I expected a blowout - for Trump. I expected the electorate to reject divisiveness, racial animosity, fear mongering, and corruption. Trump’s tweeting was more decisive to them than Biden’s corruption, Antifa and BLM thugs ruining cities, and the looming infrastructure changes based on taxation and federal spending. It’s such a head scratcher that I cannot begin to be mad; I am simply baffled by all of it.
I don’t know where the conservative element of the country goes from here. The election results mean at least half of the country is willfully ignorant and deluded to believe in the exact opposite of what is happening. The left calls Trump a fascist; yet the left is fascistic in its proposed abolition of free speech and individual liberties. The left calls Trump a racist; yet the left is racist for pushing a narrative of American sin and white supremacy nonsense. The left calls Trump anti-science regarding COVID; yet the left ignores data from studies on masks, therapeutics, and survival rates. The left accuses Donald Trump of ruining the economy; yet the left is pushing for extended lockdowns that will inevitably crush the private sector. The left accuses Trump of sexism; yet the left could care less for his nomination of Amy Coney Barret or marriage to the finest and most gracious First Lady this nation has ever known, among countless other reasons.
Moving forward, one thing is certain. Conservatives will not rush to the streets in a wave of protests, riots, and lootings. We are better than that, and certainly better than the ingrates that feel justified in robbing small business owners of their goods, attacking voters from the other side, and torching buildings.
But, how much longer can conservatives accept defeat ceremoniously?