The election hangover blog

Due to Internet issues at Presteblog World Headquarters, I haven’t had the chance until now to opine on Tuesday’s election results.

(The headline, by the way, comes from the late Wisconsin Public Television “WeekEnd” show, where my punditry began. “WeekEnd” had an election wrapup show the Friday after the November election, the most unusual of which was in 2000, of course, since the election was far from over the Friday after the election.)

Tuesday was an unpredictably good night for Republicans, both in Wisconsin and nationwide. The GOP lost the Illinois Senate seat, but retained the U.S. Senate. There are now 31 Republican governors, and the GOP

The GOP also held onto the Eighth Congressional District seat, with Republican Mike Gallagher defeating Democratic Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble. The GOP gained a state Senate seat, with Sen. Julie Lassa (D–Stevens Point) losing to first-time candidate Patrick Testin, and held onto the 18th Senate District seat of late Sen. Rick Gudex (R–Fond du Lac), with Republican Dan Feyen of Fond du Lac beating Democratic Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, and the 14th Senate District, where Democrats had targeted Sen. Luther Olsen (R–Ripon), but failed. (Another race between Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D–La Crosse) and former Sen. Dan Kapanke (R–La Crosse) reportedly is headed to a recount, with Shilling up 58 votes.)

The best news of the night was the redefeat of former Sen. Russ Feingold, rejected again by voters despite his alleged birthright to “his” Senate seat. Between their failure to make Legislature or Congressional gains, Feingold’s loss and Hillary Clinton’s loss the Wisconsin Democratic Party is in bad shape now, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be in bad shape two years from now.

Then there’s The Donald. I didn’t vote for him. I will support him to the extent that he does what I want him to do. I’d say that’s not necessarily what he’s been saying he will do (i.e. trade and immigration), but determining what he will do is as easy as predicting the results of 1,000 coin flips. That was one reason I didn’t vote for him.

Last night was not a vote for Trump as much as it was a vote against Hillary Clinton. It was also a vote against everything Democrats and liberals stand for, including Barack Obama, overgovernment, ObamaCare, Wall Street (Hillary’s biggest supporters), the big news media (which apparently was lied to by people they interviewed), Black Lives Matter, dumbing down the terms “racism” and “sexism,” left-wing environmentalists, restrictions of our First Amendment rights, gun control, anti-Christians (as opposed to non-Christians), affirmative action, opposition to Israel, Social Justice Warriors, Michelle Obama’s horrible school lunches, weak college students and their “safe spaces,” idiot left-wing celebrities (who should be leaving the U.S. by now, right?) … the list goes on.

Or, put another way, Gerald Seib writes:

The deplorables rose up and shook the world.

“Deplorables” was, of course, the disparaging term Hillary Clinton at one point applied to some supporters of Donald Trump. Many of his loyal followers proudly embraced the insult and used it as a motivating tool.

Wearing such establishment disdain as a badge of honor, the Trump army cut a deep swath through the American electoral system Tuesday, propelling the Republican nominee to the most stunning victory in modern American history.

In winning, Mr. Trump didn’t merely vanquish Mrs. Clinton. He instantly remade the Republican party in his own image. He rewrote some of the GOP’s most dearly held policy and philosophical positions. He shredded the conventional wisdom in both parties, which held that there simply weren’t enough of the white, working-class voters who flocked to his side to win a national election. Whole sets of comfortable assumptions in both political parties now will be swept aside.

His victory sent shock waves through financial markets that are befuddled by the outcome and instantly gave new energy to populist and nationalist political movements across the developed world.

And he has launched the nation’s capital into a zone of uncertainty the likes of which it hasn’t experienced at least since Ronald Reagan’s conservative revolution in 1980.

Mr. Trump now will become the most unconventional president in modern American history. He is estranged from much of his own party, including the next-most-powerful elected Republican official, House Speaker Paul Ryan. He has virtually no relationship with any Democrats in Congress.

That means that he will enter office with a Congress under his party’s control, yet with few real allies there. That also means he owes very little to anyone there. (He does owe a huge debt of gratitude to Republican national chairman Reince Priebus, who created from party headquarters a campaign apparatus for a candidate that had little to none.)

His win also means the Republican Party now has an entirely new position on trade (it will be skeptical rather than enthusiastic about free-trade agreements); on immigration(it now will complete the journey from seeing immigration as economic boom to focusing on illegal immigration as a grave economic and social threat); on intervention abroad (the party whose president ordered the invasion of Iraq now is led by a president-to-be who thinks that was a terrible idea); and on entitlement reform (a party once prepared to take the tough medicine of reducing benefits for senior citizens now will be loath to do so).

In short, Mr. Trump and his followers have, in one dramatic stroke, transformed the GOP from a traditionally conservative party into an avowedly populist one.

Well, Thomas Jefferson did “Ihold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” But Trump is wrong on trade and immigration, and if that’s the GOP’s position, the GOP is wrong.

Robby Soave writes:

Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.

More specifically, Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.

I have tried to call attention to this issue for years. I have warned that political correctness actually is a problem on college campuses, where the far-left has gained institutional power and used it to punish people for saying or thinking the wrong thing. And ever since Donald Trump became a serious threat to win the GOP presidential primaries, I have warned that a lot of people, both on campus and off it, were furious about political-correctness-run-amok—so furious that they would give power to any man who stood in opposition to it.

I have watched this play out on campus after campus. I have watched dissident student groups invite Milo Yiannopoulos to speak—not because they particularly agree with his views, but because he denounces censorship and undermines political correctness. I have watched students cheer his theatrics, his insulting behavior, and his narcissism solely because the enforcers of campus goodthink are outraged by it. It’s not about his ideas, or policies. It’s not even about him. It’s about vengeance for social oppression.

Trump has done to America what Yiannopoulos did to campus. This is a view Yiannopoulos shares. When I spoke with him about Trump’s success months ago, he told me, “Nobody votes for Trump or likes Trump on the basis of policy positions. That’s a misunderstanding of what the Trump phenomenon is.”

He described Trump as “an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness.” Correctly, I might add.

What is political correctness? It’s notoriously hard to define. I recently appeared on a panel with CNN’s Sally Kohn, who described political correctness as being polite and having good manners. That’s fine—it can mean different things to different people. I like manners. I like being polite. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The segment of the electorate who flocked to Trump because he positioned himself as “an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness” think it means this: smug, entitled, elitist, privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.

Example: A lot of people think there are only two genders—boy and girl. Maybe they’re wrong. Maybe they should change that view. Maybe it’s insensitive to the trans community. Maybe it even flies in the face of modern social psychology. But people think it. Political correctness is the social force that holds them in contempt for that, or punishes them outright.

If you’re a leftist reading this, you probably think that’s stupid. You probably can’t understand why someone would get so bent out of shape about being told their words are hurtful. You probably think it’s not a big deal and these people need to get over themselves. Who’s the delicate snowflake now, huh? you’re probably thinking. I’m telling you: your failure to acknowledge this miscalculation and adjust your approach has delivered the country to Trump.

There’s a related problem: the boy-who-cried-wolf situation. I was happy to see a few liberals, like Bill Maher, owning up to it. Maher admitted during a recent show that he was wrong to treat George Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain like they were apocalyptic threats to the nation: it robbed him of the ability to treat Trump more seriously. The left said McCain was a racist supported by racists, it said Romney was a racist supported by racists, but when an actually racist Republican came along—and racists cheered him—it had lost its ability to credibly make that accusation.

This is akin to the political-correctness-run-amok problem: both are examples of the left’s horrible over-reach during the Obama years. The leftist drive to enforce a progressive social vision was relentless, and it happened too fast. I don’t say this because I’m opposed to that vision—like most members of the under-30 crowd, I have no problem with gender neutral pronouns—I say this because it inspired a backlash that gave us Trump.

My liberal critics rolled their eyes when I complained about political correctness. I hope they see things a little more clearly now. The left sorted everyone into identity groups and then told the people in the poorly-educated-white-male identity group that that’s the only bad one. It mocked the members of this group mercilessly. It punished them for not being woke enough. It called them racists. It said their video games were sexist. It deployed Lena Dunham to tell them how horrible they were. Lena Dunham!

I warned that political-correctness-run-amok and liberal overreach would lead to a counter-revolution if unchecked. That counter-revolution just happened.

There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn’t afraid to speak his.

Trump now has two years to make lives better,  not merely change things. The clock is ticking.

 

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