The latest in a spate of surveys on the political attitudes of Americans is at once shocking and unsurprising. The result in a head-to-head battle between the twin defining ideologies of our times is a landslide. Capitalism beats socialism 75%-11%, according to Rasmussen Reports. Unsurprising, you say? Well, hold on a second. We supposedly just elected a president from a party more given over to socialism than ever before. What gives?
Sure, Donald Trump has displayed a personality that is unpalatable to many, but he also has been the most unfiltered capitalist ever placed in the Oval Office — and a highly successful one to boot. That success undoubtedly contributed to the lopsided survey result. So then how can a nation claiming to be all-in on capitalism (by a 7-1 margin) decide to remove the foremost advocate of that philosophy in favor of a lifelong liberal who is evolving more and more into the socialist his party base truly desires? And even if his heart has not actually turned leftward, how will this declining president-in-waiting be able to muster significant resistance to the clarion call from the hard left to walk their way?
At the same time, there is a major caveat in all legitimate analysis of the 2020 election. The roiling controversies surrounding Dominion Voting Systems, massive vote dumps in the middle of the night, ejected election observers, and hundreds of sworn affidavits about election fraud are enough in sum to convince the bulk of Trump voters — and many analysts — that the reported outcome is not legitimate. But while all of that can be dismissed as conspiracy theory since courts have been so hesitant to hear the charges brought by the Trump campaign, the outcome is dubious on the surface based solely on the reversal of virtually every metric that had for decades correctly predicted presidential elections. On such measurements as party-registration trends, candidates’ performance during primaries, quantity of individual donations, and voter enthusiasm, Trump won big on every count but supposedly lost the election against implausible if not impossible odds.
This leads to the present lamentations of those of us who scrutinize politics for a living. How are we supposed to analyze an election that may not be on the up-and-up? It’s almost as if we have to provide alternative responses to every question. If the reported outcome is legitimate, then the reason is A. If not, then it’s B. If Biden really did win, it’s because people are just repulsed by Trump’s personality. But if Trump actually won, then it’s an affirmation of capitalism. See the problem? We are forced into an OTOH-OTOH analysis: on the one hand, on the other hand.
On the one hand, it is downright shocking that Biden could win the 2020 election. While voters were kept in the dark as effectively as possible by the media wing of the Democratic Party, they were well aware of the Democrats’ plunge into full-throated socialism based on the party’s recent history and progressive rantings throughout a lengthy primary campaign. Remember Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, reproductive rights for transgenders et al.?
On the other hand, if you do accept the outcome sanctioned by the Electoral College, perhaps we should not be surprised, because the recent history of presidential elections reveals a nation in the throes of confusion.
In 2012, we elected for the second time a man who openly vowed to trigger a fundamental transformation of America. He did just that. But in 2016, we chose a man promising to do the opposite (winning more than 200 counties who had voted twice for the fundamental transformer). And he also did just what he promised. But in 2020, a pale shadow of 2012 emerges through the glass darkly as the reported victor. Does this sound like a country lurching back and forth uncontrollably through the early 21st century?
It is true that presidents, like politics itself, run in cycles, but the nation has rarely if ever swayed to and fro as frequently as in the first two decades of this century. The headcount for Election 2020 has Biden with seven million more popular votes and 74 more electoral votes than Trump. Even if those numbers are off, it still figures as a close election. And that brings us right back to the burning question about the millions who claim to be capitalist but vote socialist.
Do Americans even know what they really want?
Read more from Tim Donner.