2016 was the year nationalists convinced themselves they had the say of the people behind them. Sure, Pat Buchanan failed to get to the White House three times, Ralph Nader failed three times, and Ross Perot failed twice, but Donald Trump was going to bring us into a new era of nationalism (and we later found out, luddism). The fact that the GOP was still led by Paul Ryan — Mitt Romney’s running mate back in 2012 — and Mitch McConnell was just a coincidence, and Trump was going to whip them into shape.
Fast forward four years, and Donald Trump has won 47.7% of the vote. Back in 2012, Romney had won 47.2% of the votes — and that led to the Republican Party writing a “campaign autopsy” which asked the RNC to completely change their campaign strategy and the idea of “Mitt Romney Republicans” becoming a joke from within the GOP. At this point, it’s uncertain if Trump’s court cases will somehow lead to him winning a second term — although so far every law suit has failed and only a handful of Republicans are backing him (and they just so happen to be the most disliked Republicans in the country) — but even if he somehow pulls through, we need to talk about what this means. Donald Trump has done worse than John Kerry did when he lost in 2004, or then Gerald Ford did in 1976 for that matter.
Trump style Republicans have come up with a million ways that Donald Trump actually won — but they’re all clear nonsense. One common talking point is that Trump has won the second most votes of any candidate in US history — which is only true because population expands. They have also tried to make up examples of voter fraud, all of which have both been quickly debunked and are not even on a large enough scale for it to tip the Presidential Election.
However, what I find rather interesting is, after spending four years demonizing libertarians, they’re mad libertarians did not coincide to them. In a handful of states, it is the fault libertarians for voting for the Libertarian Party instead of the Republican Party because the Republican Party goes out of the way to ignore them.
It’s interesting, because I thought the Trump-era was a move away from the libertarian leaning GOP — when it was libertarian leaning, I have no idea. They’ve moved from Milton Friedman to Tucker Carlson, Pat Buchanan, and Josh Hawley — before getting mad that Milton Friedman wouldn’t vote for him.
I think this shows the biggest fact about Donald Trump, his coalition is very fragile. You might have seen the numbers that showed that the white working class, the people Donald Trump is suppose to pander to according to both sides, voted less for Trump in 2020 than they did in 2016. This is because a good amount of the white working class is not populists, they are libertarians when it comes to government and social conservatives when it comes to their day to day lives. They would much rather deal with issues themselves than have the state solve issues for them, and Trump promises to solve their issues — which they consider patronizing.
Even if Trump does somehow win a second term, he will likely end up like George W. Bush did before 9/11. People forget, until 9/11 he had almost no political capital and could barley get anything done — comparable to Obama during his second term.
For those who do not know, political capital is a term that refers to what a politician can get away with compared to how unpopular of a position it is. A politician who has more trust of the people who vote for them have much more political capital than unpopular politicians — and Donald Trump started off with a rather low amount of this, in large part because he lost the popular vote in 2016. If Trump manages to not just lose the popular vote, but also wins after a Biden victory is declared by most media, will cause him to have basically no political capital. Nationalism will be seen as an ideology held together by string and glue, and not as a serious political philosophy.
Trumpism is over no matter what happens on 1/20/2021, because the issue at hand is that nobody agrees with it — not even the people who it was suppose to help.