Thomas Edsall writes in today’s Times: President Trump has chosen his pandemic re-election strategy. He is set on unifying and reinvigorating the groups that were crucial to his 2016 victory: racially resentful whites, evangelical Christians, gun activists, anti-vaxxers and wealthy conservatives. He says, and I repeat his words, these groups were crucial to his 2016 win:
Racially Resentful Whites
The population of the United States is now: 330,000,000 and rising. Trump’s share of those voting in the 2016 election was 63 million (Clinton’s 66 million)
Does that mean that the groups within the 63 million voting for Trump belonged to one or another group of the five? Now we’re told that there may be as many as 90million Evangelicals in the US, so by themselves they could win the election for Trump. Hence all the God talk on both sides of the aisle, hence the rise of the anti-abortionists, even among the liberal and non-believing Democrats. hence the number of Evangelicals who are constantly Oval Office guests of the President.
But there are still a number of unknowns, perhaps essential to any conclusions we might reach in this discussion. For example, are there significant numbers of Trump voters that do not belong to one of Edsall’s five groups? And then might not the Trump voters be characterized entirely differently, such as as rural and city or surburban, women and male, college or non-college …, and the usual blacks, whites, latinos, Asians, Native Americans, native islanders .., sure. However my gut feeling is that Edsall’s five groupings pretty much make up Trump’s base, those who would vote for him regardless of what he might do or say. Trump they want for their own selfish reasons, just as Trump himself wants to go on being president for his own selfish reasons. And that’s it.
And for the Democrats Trump’s base is their principal opponent. We can imagine the coming battle between Democrats and Republcans, between the children of the 18rh. century Enlightenment and the children of an earlier epoch, the Middle Ages, when church dogma held sway, when believers, not scientists held the power and literally lorded it over eveyone else. These true believers were stopped or at least slowed down of course by the rise of modern science in the 17th. and 18th centuries. And this battle between proponents and oopponents of science those for dear life as they imagine who are holding onto religion, this battle is still going on, still having a powerful effect on the presidential election coming in just five months.
And of course there are other questions we might ask, how many white supremacists are there?, gun owners? fossil fuel proponents, global warming deniers are there? 63 million of them, the number that won the 2016 election for Donald Trump, is not an unreasonable estimate of their number.
Still a few more points to be made. By now you will have noticed the the Republican position is almost unassailable. Why evangelicals with assault rifles is enough to scare anyone away.
And what are the weapons of the Democrats? Truth and reason. I have to smile when I say it, as I know just how little truth and reason win battles, let alone the war, They’re the first things to go, to be chucked overboard, as the men start shooting at one another.
OK, in an American presidential election it’s not quite the same thing, no one is shooting at anyone else, with a few exceptions such as in Canada a few days ago. But what’s happening now, what will happen during the next few months, and what will be decided in November is that the winners will be believed in respect to their plans for the country and the losers won’t. And where will that leave us? Perhaps at best still fighting off the Coronavirus, while thanking our lucky star and/or God that Trump is gone from the scene. Hey, wouldn’t that be great!