Donald Trump’s victory was stunning. It is a shocking historical accomplishment. It is an absolute game-changer. Congrats, congrats, and congrats to The Donald and his team. I am personally thrilled — could not be happier — that Hillary Clinton will not be our next president. One of my main reasons (I had many, and still do) for so strongly opposing Donald Trump’s Republican nomination was that I was convinced he was the only Republican who couldn’t beat Hillary, particularly when other Republicans not only could defeat her but do so handily. This was the most beatable Democrat since George McGovern, and if you can’t defeat her, well, that would be really pathetic — and catastrophic.
To repeat: Congrats to Trump. I am so pleased that Hillary Clinton will not be sworn in as our next president. Her loss means that Obama and all the hog-wild secular-progressives and cultural/fundamental transformers and human-nature redefiners lost. Donald Trump will not be suing the Little Sisters of the Poor and issuing executive orders demanding that every public school in America revolutionize their bathrooms. Hallelujah.
I also want to express congratulations to the guys here at The American Spectator. Bob Tyrrell, Jeffrey Lord, Wlady Pleszczynski, and George Neumayr (among others) saw this possibility all along. They were true believers. They are also gentlemen. You can’t find a more decent bunch of guys. They are so gracious in victory.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that for some other Trump supporters. And their constant barrage of emails to me has compelled me to write this piece. One of them began emailing me in the immediate hours after Trump’s victory Wednesday morning. I will not bother quoting him. Let’s just say he wasn’t very nice. Another insisted that I repent and admit to Trump’s “landslide.” I told him the win is indeed a tremendous victory for Trump, a stunner, a shocker, but it isn’t a landslide. The emailer pushed and pushed and wouldn’t relent. He told me that Donald Trump will be on Mt. Rushmore one day.
It isn’t just emailers who should calm down. Matthew Continetti, appearing in National Review, contends that Donald Trump now spearheads a “revolution,” such is his alleged mandate. He writes says that “The Trump Revolution” is in some respects “more remarkable than Ronald Reagan’s in 1980.”
And then there are the talk-radio guys — my friends Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the latter of which seems almost angry and vindictive in victory. Sean should be giddy. And I guarantee you that no one drew a bigger gasp of relief on Wednesday morning than Rush, who surely foresaw his audience on the edge of a revolt if Trump had lost. For conservative talk-radio hosts, there’s gloating and reveling and mocking of the alleged idiocy of fellow conservatives and media pundits and pollsters generally who predicted Trump would lose.
Well, those predictions were wrong, but they weren’t completely wrong. The predictions, after all, were based on who would get more votes. Trump did lose the popular vote, and that’s a really important thing for Republicans to remember — for Trumpists to remember.
To that end, I here offer some crucial facts. I hope Trump enthusiasts will see in these numbers some really critical realities that they need to accept going forward:
Donald Trump got 60.35 million votes in this 2016 election. Hillary Clinton got 60.98 million votes. (The numbers continue to be tabulated, with Hillary’s margin expanding each day.) Not only did Trump get fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016, but he got way fewer votes than Obama in 2012 (65.91 million) and in 2008 (69.49 million). He got less than votes than Mitt Romney in 2012 (60.93 million), less votes than George W. Bush in 2004 (62.02 million), and, quite remarkably, almost got fewer votes than John McCain in 2008 (59.94 million). He got a lower percentage of the vote than George W. Bush got in 2000 when Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore. Also, Trump lost to Hillary by more total votes (630,000, and increasing daily) than Bush lost to Gore (543,000).
Even more striking, given that Trump’s victory was an Electoral College victory, are the state numbers. As I continue to look state by state, where Trump flipped states like Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin, I’m struck at just how razor-thin his margin of victory was in these states. (Michigan still hasn’t been called by many sources, including Fox and CNN. Trump’s lead there is less than 0.3%, and is now under 12,000.) The margins for Trump in these states was tiny, tiny, tiny. They could have very easily gone for Hillary. Reverse one or two of those states by a literal fraction and Hillary Clinton is the next president — with an Electoral College victory to back a popular vote victory.
Yes, the pro-Hillary protesters in the streets are maddening for Trump supporters, but what most agitates these protesters is precisely the fact that Hillary did beat Trump in popular votes — by well over half a million. That infuriates them. You can understand their frustration, even as they do not appreciate or grasp the wisdom of the Electoral College and that America is a Constitutional/representative republic and not a direct democracy. The Electoral College is a hallmark of our federalist system, and the Founders who bequeathed it were far more prudent than the petulant left, which rages and wars against it when it doesn’t go its way.
This is not to deny Trump’s great accomplishment. Absolutely not. It isn’t sour grapes. I’m not nit-picking. I’ve learned repeatedly that Trump enthusiasts get extremely angry with me when I walk through numbers like this. Again, congrats to Trump. But this sure as hell is no landslide, and it also is no mandate for a revolution.
Here’s a landslide: Ronald Reagan crushed the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, in 1980 by beating him 51-41%, taking 44 of 50 states, and winning the Electoral College 489-49. That was a mandate. That was a revolution. Especially because it was based on an unmistakably clear conservative philosophy and vision by the winner.
Donald Trump’s key to victory was Hillary Clinton, who was widely disliked. CNN’s exit polls showed that 63% and 60% of those who voted stated that Donald Trump is (respectively) unfit temperamentally and unqualified for office. Those are extraordinary numbers for a president-elect. His best friend in winning the White House was Hillary Clinton.
So, Trump enthusiasts, have some humility and look hard at these numbers, because your guy will be in huge trouble in 2020 if he doesn’t get more votes. The last three presidents have been two-term presidents. You don’t want your guy to be a one-termer. It’s very likely that 47% of the vote will not cut it in 2020. He has much to do before his face can be chiseled on Mt. Rushmore.
But for now, congrats to The Donald and his good friends at The American Spectator.