This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published November 9, 2016 by PJ Media.
We learned last night that the punditry’s “GOP autopsy” after the 2012 Mitt Romney loss was dead wrong.
Also called the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” the autopsy scolded the party, insisting that new immigration policies and racial pandering were necessary to win future elections. Naturally, such policies would have been a growth and opportunity project for the consultants who would be paid to create them.
Had Jeb Bush been on the ballot yesterday, and had he followed the autopsy recommendations, Hillary Clinton would be president.
Any candidate following the autopsy’s recommendations of pandering to racial identity politics would have lost precisely in the states that gave Trump his win: Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The autopsy suggested that Republicans adopt immigration policies such as amnesty and amnesty-lite to appease Hispanic voters. It suggested other ventures into racial identity politics, expressly claiming that Republicans could never win again if they didn’t sound a lot more like Democrats.
Instead, Trump marched along a path to the White House Republicans can implement for another generation: fight for existential cultural issues that appeal in working-class areas like Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and Macomb County, Michigan. There weren’t Latino votes to be had in the counties that gave Trump the White House. Racial identity politics aren’t necessary for Republicans to win anything. But appeal to blue-collar voters in rural counties who feel alienated by damage the institutional Left unleashed on the America they grew up in, and you win the White House.
Trump’s winning path rejected the Black Lives Matter movement. It did not treat it as credible.
The GOP autopsy report recommended exactly the opposite.
Naturally, it had been written largely through rose-colored Jeb! glasses. Sally Bradshaw, one of the five authors of the autopsy, was so offended by Trump’s approach that she promised to vote for Hillary Clinton. She probably assumed she’d be voting for the winner — she assumed her autopsy was right.
Thankfully, we learned last night the autopsy was wrong, dead wrong. That cannot be repeated enough today.
We also learned other things last night.
We learned that the reactionary and rabid “Never Trump” movement might have been morally defensible in some hearts, but was an enormous strategic blunder.
Nobody looks sillier this morning than the turncoats who claimed to care about the federal judiciary and about reversing the damage and lawlessness the Left has caused, yet refused to vote for Trump. Except maybe Sally Bradshaw.
The other winner last night was conservative New Media.
Never again should anyone in the Republican party take the New York Times seriously.
Trump gave them the finger — and won. Compare this with four years ago, when Mitt Romney wouldn’t even appear on conservative talk radio.
Victory comes with an energized and polarized base, not by appealing to the legacy dead-tree media.
Steve Bannon: How delicious it was to see him on stage last night, needing a shave. I can remember the preposterous wailing about Bannon being appointed to the Trump campaign over the summer. In nearly every corner it was portrayed as a catastrophe. I knew it was masterful. Lots of Trump staff contributed to this win, but Bannon brought an understanding of the new media environment, the modern media cycle, and the power of a slicing story to a messaging campaign. Bannon and others in the New Media have vowed to replace the importance of outlets like the New York Times.
As Andrew Brietbart told me, he sought to destroy them. Last night was a giant leap toward their irrelevance, especially in Republican politics.
The elites look especially foolish this morning. I mean that out-of-touch crowd on the coasts, highly educated and highly annoying. Yesterday, reading Ron Radosh’s piece “Whither the Republican Party After the Election” was grating. Today it is hilarious, like reading a Popular Mechanics article from 1953 talking about the coming flying cars and ovens that will make food from sawdust: “Hence, if Clinton’s victory is by a relatively small margin, I would not be surprised if the Trump campaign refuses to acknowledge the results.”
Oh yes, that prediction almost came true — but in reverse:
Will Trump be able to be magnanimous in accepting the election’s results and his defeat, like Richard Nixon did when JFK won, and Al Gore did after George W. Bush won the recount? After all, the worst epithet in Trump’s book is that someone is a loser. Thus, it may be very hard for Trump to accept that he actually is one. To avoid it, he will most likely double down on the narrative that he had actually won, but the election was stolen from him.
Ron, call your office — Rachel Maddow has snatched your body.
The elites don’t understand that voters vote based largely on emotions — and there is nothing wrong with that.
Do they like the candidate? Do they feel the candidate fights for their values? Are they alienated by the direction of the country? In all three instances, voters in places like Saginaw, Altoona, and Oshkosh said yes to all three questions.
Meanwhile, elites in Manhattan and Palo Alto were screaming “no.”
Finally, Trump might have also won the popular vote but for two things — voter fraud and rational voting. A good lawyer friend in California voted for Gary Johnson because his vote didn’t matter. Had he been in Virginia, he would have voted for Trump.
Trump also lost the noncitizen vote by a wide margin — and yes, it exists.
The incoming Trump Justice Department must prioritize voter fraud prosecutions of the crimes that occurred yesterday and in early voting. It will shut up a lot of voter fraud deniers, and ensure that the behavior is deterred in his reelection.