June 22, 2020

This out-powers the Democrats' demographic advantage

You can read it almost anywhere that politics written or discussed - due to the changing Demographics of the nation, specifically growing Latino and African American populations, Democrats will own the electoral future.  Never mind that there are inherent flaws in that idea, there's something stronger that matters a whole lot more, and it will determine every single election in the future, just as it has in the past.

Every president in my political lifetime - I started paying attention as a teenager in 1979 during the Iran hostage crisis -  except one, won for one clear reason: optimism.
  • Ronald Reagan promised to restore America to a shining city on a hill (a notion borrowed from Jesus' sermon on the mount). He campaigned on optimism and American exceptionalism.  In the face of malaise, American defeat and humiliation abroad he promised prosperity, a force to stand against Soviet aggression and America's unique place in the world.  His success was so great that his vice president George H W Bush won in a landslide without breaking a sweat, carried by a promise to continue Reagan's legacy and to create "no new taxes" (which he then broke).
  • George H W Bush campaigned on a positive note as well, modifying Reagan's message to his own 1000 points of light.
  • Bill Clinton won promising a new covenant to America to heal the gap between the rich and the poor.  Many conservatives mocked him for claiming he felt the pain of the plight of the poor.  Nevertheless, his presidency received a major post convention bounce because, despite the campaign platforms, the spirit was one of positivity and optimism. True, he had a powerful third party candidate draining away disaffected Republican voters from president Bush who had also betrayed his own tax pledge, making himself a weak candidate.  But the positivity, the optimism surrounding his convention were crucial and instrumental to allowing him to become a palatable alternative to a sitting president.
  • He was followed by George W Bush whose message frankly was muddled, won a close election between two weak candidates.  He won re-election after 9/11 with a more honed and positive message about America's place in the world.  His initial election could be regarded as the exception to the rule.
  • Following Bush of course was president Obama.  His platform was terrible, his ideas backwards but his message was one of 'Hope and Change', clearly optimism and positivity (cleverly, coyly bundled with radical change).  He couched it with his own tabula rasa (blank slate) so people would see in him what they wanted to see.  He too, unlike Clinton, won in a massive landslide.
  • That brings us to president Trump. Make America Great Again is clearly a message of optimism and positivity.  Take away any underlying disagreements you may or may not have with him about immigration or free trade etc., the underlying message is one of positivity.  Not we can do better, but we WILL do better.
There's a thread among all of those victories (skipping past the power of incumbency for now) - optimism and positivity.  That makes victories.  Candidates who can do that put plainly, win.  It trumps demographics and it always will.  And here's the greatest irony about it - Democrats are not only relying on demographics to win, they are leaning into it by pandering to and embracing identity groups.  Not only is that a recipe for disaster for the country if it succeeds, it luckily is a recipe for disaster for Democrats.  They cannot find the truth when they continue to believe their own lie.  They will continue to pursue their own lie.

Coming to this realization has significantly changed my worry about 2024.

Yes, I am positive president Trump will be re-elected this year. Joe Biden's "C'mon man!" catch phrase is akin to "Bah humbug".  That's not a recipe for victory and it's no wondering the campaign team is trying to keep Joe under wraps until the convention.  They are trying to minimize the damage he can do to himself.  He's got to smile, he's got to stay on script and appear positive.

But the people writing his speeches will be those same lie-seeking individuals who believe they are on the right side of the demographic ledger.  They will not be able to forge a truly positive message that will resonate because they don't believe the truth. The truth is that America is great, has been great and will continue to be great unless they win and tear it all down.   Trump will win in 2020.

It's 2024 that worries me.  Mike Pence is a good, honorable man. But he lacks the demeanor to  carry the positivity message convincingly.  Conservative voters could fall back to their old ways and just nominate the next in line.  Heck, Donald Trump could just fall back on loyalty and endorse him.

Pence has not shown the vision to look forward with the eagerness necessary to convey the optimism and positivity with a connective empathetic feeling.    Maybe he will prove me wrong, or maybe he won't be the candidate.  I think the 2020 election will be the second most important election in my lifetime, more important than 1980 and second only to 2016.  So this belief that 2020 is all but assured for president Trump is not a call for conservative complacency.  But all that said, I believe that 2024 will end up just as important as 2016 was.  That is where conservative energy and focus and the drive to find a candidate of positivity will matter most, because that is what will ensure victory, on perhaps a generational level.

And if we can remember that, there's no reason we cannot win every election and in doing so not only impact the courts for generations to come, but also perceptions of Latinos, African Americans, millenials and generations beyond, that America actually is a great (not perfect, but great) place.

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