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TEN TAKEAWAYS FROM THE ELECTION

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Regardless of who wins, here are 10 takeaways about this election—things we’ve learned.

  1. Black Lives Matter has been marginalized. Americans just don’t see the movement as among their highest priorities. Many, perhaps most, agree with Jared Kushner that “We can’t want Black Americans to succeed more than they themselves want to succeed.” The bottom line: most people believe that ALL lives matter. They see BLM as an urban-centered illogical movement that too often leads to riots, arson, looting and vandalism.
  2. “Defund the police” has been repudiated. Most Americans, including Black Americans, like cops. They understand that The Thin Blue Line is all that potentially separates them from criminal mayhem. They resent the demands to “defund the police” and they do not believe that most cops are racist. The Democratic Party has lost a lot of independent voters because it—the party—is perceived to be anti-cop.
  3. People like Trump. They know all about his shortcomings and the aberrant parts of his personality, but they don’t care. To them, he’s a colorful rogue. He never seems to give up (Americans hate quitters). They relate to him because he seems “real.”
  4. Polling is dead. Or should be. How many times can the polls get things so wrong before we decide to totally ignore them? Five-thirty-eight gave Biden a 90% chance of winning outright. They couldn’t have been more mistaken—again, for the second time following 2016.
  5. COVID was a wash. Americans are rightfully afraid of it, but they’re also afraid of the disastrous economic consequences of shutting down. They blame Trump for ignoring the early warnings, for downplaying the disease’s seriousness, for not wearing a mask. But they remain unconvinced that the shutdowns were worth the price America has paid, and they increasingly agree with Trump that we need to reopen.
  6. Americans are against abortion. A majority want abortion to be, as Bill Clinton said, “safe, legal and rare.” But nobody is in favor of abortion, and the Christian right has done a good job mobilizing latent anti-abortion feelings.
  7. Americans don’t like the Elites. And I have to include myself in this indictment. For too long, the big cities of the East and West Coast have demeaned the rest of the nation as flyover country. The people of the southwest, the Deep South, the midwest, the Ohio Valley and the mountain states (Colorado excepted) resent the fact that the Coastal Elites dismiss them as a bunch of yahoos and Bible thumpers. Trump played to this resentment skillfully.
  8. Biden was a flawed candidate. Democrats were unwilling to admit it on the record, but everybody knew it. He looked old and feeble. His lines were rehearsed and scripted, compared to Trump’s spontaneity. People doubted whether Biden had the physical stamina to be president. And they weren’t comfortable with Kamala Harris just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
  9. America needs a coalition government. It couldn’t be more apparent that this country is split evenly down the middle. A winner-takes-all system is no longer viable, whereby a single vote gives one side everything while the other side gets nothing. In most countries of the world, coalition governments are the norm. Donald Trump is the first president in modern history not to include Democrats in his cabinet. Even Obama reached out to Republicans: Bob Gates in Defense and Ray LaHood in Transportation. Obama also nominated Republican Judd Gregg for Commerce, but on reflection, Gregg declined. Trump has shown no interest whatever in reaching out to or cooperating with the opposition—even though more than half the country identifies as Democratic. Indeed, this is one of the strongest indictments of him: his divisiveness.
  10. Radical Christians are on the verge of taking over the U.S. They’ve been working at it since the 1970s, and all that hard work is paying off. They own the Supreme Court; they own most State legislatures, and they owned the first administration of Donald Trump and will own the second one, if he’s re-elected. This is a problem that needs to be admitted if it is to be solved.
  1. Steve, while I agree with you on some of this, I disag5ree on several others.
    For example, #3: I think that few of his supporters think of Trump as a colorful rogue. Roger Stone may be a colorful rogue, but not Trump. While Trump has a lot of support, I don’t think a lot of them “like him.”
    Same with #8. I don’t think that Biden was a flawed candidate. Maybe not the best of the lot, but not flawed. Hillary was flawed.
    As to #6, polls have shown that a majority of Americans favor allowing abortions. They may not like abortions in the sense that they wouldn’t want one or have a family member have one, but they do want it to be available to those who want it.
    I do agree strongly with #4, at least the “Or should be” part. It was a disaster again. And not just in the Presidential vote. In my state (Maine), Sara Gideon was ahead (albeit only a little) in every pre-election poll, yet she lost handily.
    I sort of agree with #2. I think the use of “defund the police” was a major error. While there were some people who truly believed the police should actually be defunded, I think most supporters wanted some changes, included restructuring. But the use of “defunding” meant, to most people, cutting off funding.
    As to #10, I think that radical Christians are trying very hard to take over, but I think that saying they’re “on the verge” is a little strong.
    OK, I’ve spent enough time. Gotta go check and see if Biden has been declared the winner yet.

  2. Thank you Bob Rossi!

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