New York magazine’s Ed Kilgore recently offered up yours truly as a prototypical Trump supporter who has ignored the “key lesson from 2016.” Quoting an excerpt from an October article in which I suggested that impeachment enhances Trump’s 2020 prospects when combined with a strong economy and a weak Democratic challenger, he suggested that “triumphalist braying from Trump, his campaign, his party, and his media allies, will persuade some of his own voters that he’s already won, so it’s safe to spend Election Day in other pursuits.” Kilgore obviously believes that such complacency in the HRC camp caused Trump’s 2016 victory.
Kilgore, like many partisan journalists and the Democrats they parrot, still hasn’t faced the blindingly obvious reason Clinton lost. While it is unquestionably true that the latter was overconfident, and this led to numerous campaign blunders, the main reason HRC was beaten is that she represented a status quo characterized by chronic corruption, anemic economic performance, and transparent contempt for the voters. Moreover, the claim that Trump’s 2020 reelection team is as overconfident as was the Clinton campaign fails the laugh test. Whereas HRC’s campaign took entire states for granted, Trump’s team is systematically reaching beyond his base:
Brad Parscale, the manager of the Trump campaign, is very data-driven and, following most rallies, he reports statistics about the attendees.… On average, 23% of rally goers identify as Democrats. For Toledo, OH, this number was 21.9%.… The really stunning stat from this rally, which Parscale has never reported on before, is that 20.9% of attendees identified as Independents.… This means that 42.8% of the 22,927 voters were either a Democrat or an Independent.
In addition, as Thomas Edsall at the New York Times recently put it, “Trump Is Winning the Online War.” Under Brad Parscale’s leadership, according to Edsall, “the Trump re-election machine has devoted millions more than any individual Democrat to increasingly sophisticated microtargeting techniques.” They have also been at it a long time. Since 2016 the Trump campaign has been working on techniques for identifying voters and developing electronic communication tools. The Trump campaign is now so far ahead of the Democrats in sophisticated microtargeting techniques that it is unlikely that any opponent will ever be able to catch up:
Even if the Democrats settle on a nominee by March 2020, he or she will have seven months to catch up with the work Trump and Parscale started four years earlier.… In high-tech political warfare, recent history shows that sitting presidents without primary challengers — Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2012 — developed voter contact weaponry that their opponents — John Kerry and Mitt Romney — had neither the time nor the money to match.
This brings us to the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi and her co-conspirators have, of course, impeached the president. Parscale and the Trump reelection campaign have used this farce as an opportunity to connect with more voters and raise additional cash. AP reports, “Since the impeachment proceedings began, the Republican National Committee has seen 600,000 new donors. The campaign and the RNC took in $10 million in small-dollar donations in just 48 hours during impeachment week.” Meanwhile, the social media strategy favored by Democratic presidential frontrunner, Joe Biden, is to threaten Facebook and its founder.
Biden’s real problem with Facebook is that he doesn’t have the money to compete with Trump on social media. His fundraising during the most recent quarter, though it produced his best haul thus far in the campaign, is half of what President Trump brought in during the same period. Moreover, it’s less than Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg brought in. Thus, this Twitter announcement is really quite pathetic: “I’m excited to share that we raised $22.7 million this last quarter — our biggest quarter so far this campaign! Thank you to everyone who chipped in what you could — your support means the world to me. You truly are the heart of our campaign.”
If this is the “heart” of his campaign, a visit to the cardiologist may be in order. Biden hasn’t a prayer of winning the Democratic nomination, much less the general election, if he can’t do any better than this. Finally, as if “the party of Jefferson and Jackson” didn’t have enough problems, Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, spent MLK’s birthday hiding from the Commonwealth’s citizens who came to Richmond about a couple of Draconian gun control laws. Gov. Northam and his legislative accomplices lied about their Second Amendment positions during the recent election, and the voters were less than pleased with “Coonman.”
All of which brings us back to Ed Kilgore’s theory about overconfidence and the “key lesson from 2016.” Perhaps the actual lesson — considering Trump’s continued successes in the face of quotidian slander by the legacy media, years of federal and congressional investigations based on implausible conspiracy theories, a hyper-partisan impeachment based on hearsay, and an upcoming Senate trial pursuant to offenses that wouldn’t justify removing him from office even if they were true — is that Democrats can no longer be trusted with power. The Democrats themselves will never absorb this lesson, however. They still don’t get how Trump won in 2016.