If national polls are to be believed, a large majority of Republican voters don’t think President Biden was legitimately elected and that the presidency was somehow “stolen” from Donald Trump. As a Trump supporter, I would like to believe it. Unfortunately, I cannot find the evidence. And I watched.
The Maricopa County audit overseen by Republican officials ended up giving Biden several hundred more votes than he got on election day. Reviews in other states overseen by Republican governors and legislatures have failed to uncover significant evidence of fraud. As we move into election year 2022, it’s important to understand why Trump lost in 2020. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again.
In the summer of 2015, I was a delegate from Arizona to National Convention of the American Federation of Republican Assemblies (AFRA) in Nashville where I heard Donald Trump speak for the first time. It was a command performance – a precursor to what became his trademark “rallying” speech. What Trump did that day was unlike any politician I have ever heard.
He spoke for an hour, without notes, in a relaxed, natural conversational style. He made populism and nationalism vibrate. He mocked the media and the reckless Republican establishment. He said “out loud” what no other presidential candidate had ever said before: America is in decline. Our leaders sold us. He touched on all the familiar themes — bad trade deals offshoring jobs and manufacturing, endless foreign wars, immigration to the Third World, oversized federal bureaucracy — and how they are destroying our country’s prosperity and heritage. . He promised to put America First and Make America Great Again. It appeared to be genuine. He was a storyteller of the truth. It was a difficult road with Donald Trump, but my faith in his political mission remained strong.
A few months after my first meeting with Trump, I got a call from former State Senator Thayer Verschoor, who had also been a delegate to the AFRA convention and is now helping the Trump team prepare for the Arizona’s next Republican primary. He asked me if I could help set up a Trump committee for president in Yavapai County. I was honored to be asked.
My first thought was to enlist the help of longtime Republican activist Brenda Dickinson, now a member of Prescott Valley City Council. Brenda and I gathered the names of 15 potential Trump supporters and invited them to an organizational meeting at my hotel, the former Comfort Inn in Prescott. I had just advertised for the state legislature and started my own campaign. We unanimously chose Brenda as president. She went on to create Arizona’s top performing Trump committee. In our March 22sd A presidential primary, Trump swept through Yavapai County and the state.
In 2016, for the fifth time in our nation’s history, the presidential candidate who failed to obtain a majority of the votes cast won the election. The same thing happened 16 years earlier when George Bush defeated Al Gore. Gore won the popular vote. Bush won the Electoral College.
Losing the popular vote but winning the Electoral College has given Republicans a false sense of security in national elections. This allows us to ignore the embarrassing fact that the majority of our compatriots voted for someone else. As long as Republicans can muster enough votes to win the Electoral College, we can claim that we are still in control.
A quick review of what happened in 2016 reveals our weakness. Hillary Clinton obtained 51.1% of the votes cast against 48.9% for Donald Trump. But Trump got 304 votes in the electoral college against 227 for Clinton, a difference of 77 votes. Those 77 constituency votes came from just five states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – all states Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020. Deepening the actual margins a bit of victory, Michigan’s 20 electoral votes went to Trump by 10,704, Pennsylvania by 44,292, Wisconsin by 22,747. The margins in Georgia and Arizona were larger. But Trump’s victory in those five key states that ensured his victory hinged on just 400,000 votes out of a total of 130 million votes cast – a margin of victory of less than 0.3%. The popular vote went to Hilary Clinton by nearly three million votes.
A similar pattern emerges from the 2020 election. Once again, the Democrat won the popular vote with Biden at 51.3% versus 46.8% for Trump, a gap of more than 4 million votes. But this time Trump narrowly lost the five key states he won in 2016. Let’s call the roll of the official web: Arizona down 10,457, Georgia down 11,779, Michigan down from 154,188, Pennsylvania down from 80,555. Trump lost these five key states by less than 300,000 votes, a number even smaller than his margin of victory in 2016.
Why was Trump unable to build on his winning strategy from 2016 to 2020? It was well funded and had the advantage of being titular. Exit polls showed he won with every racial and ethnic voting block except the one that mattered the most. Its share of the blank vote fell by six percentage points from 2016 to 2020.
I’ve seen most of Trump’s rallies in 2020, including six in Arizona. In the first 20 minutes of each rally, Trump spoke about the economy and what he had done for minorities, for example. more black jobs, higher Hispanic home ownership rates, more minorities in college, etc. And it was all true. America First policies worked for everyone. But how did that actually translate into votes? As a group, Blacks rewarded Trump with 12% of their vote versus 87% for Biden. For Hispanics, the vote was 59% for Biden, 38% for Trump. For Asians, who are now America’s best-educated and wealthiest demographic, 63% opted for Biden, 31% for Trump.
Although Trump got a higher percentage of minority votes in 2020 compared to 2016, he is far from winning a majority from a minority group. As long as we have records, we know that race and ethnicity are the best predictors of how minorities vote. They transcend all other social and economic factors. This is a harsh truth for many Republicans.
Here is an anecdote that explains the deep confusion and denial at the highest level of the Republican Party. In the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to Barrack Obama, Republican Arizona President Robert Graham came to Prescott to speak at a meeting of the Republican Men’s Forum about his commitment to the minorities. He said the Republican Party is too white and we need to be more inclusive. He said black people, in particular, with their strong family values, high church attendance rates and innate patriotism, were natural conservatives and ripe for conversion to the Republican Party.
At that time, blacks made up less than 5% of the state’s population and were overwhelmingly Democrats in party registration. Arizona’s white population exceeded 70 percent. In percentage terms, it would take several times the number of blacks to vote Republican to match a 1% increase in the white Republican vote. So I asked Mr. Graham the obvious question: “Sir, since there are many more white voters than black voters in Arizona, have you ever considered calling for the white vote?” There was an awkward silence as blood flowed from his face. He stammered incomprehensibly. It was clear that for the Republican establishment it was good to talk about recruiting minorities, but bad manners to talk about increasing the blank vote.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, high levels of non-white immigration and a low white birth rate reduced the white population to 57.8% of the total. This reflects a drop from 70.4% in 2000 and 80.3% in 1990. But since non-citizens are included in the US census, the electoral population remains at around 70% white, which is sufficient for win elections in most states.
None of this suggests that the Republican Party is a white-only political party. Since its founding in 1854 as an anti-slavery party, the Republican Party has welcomed blacks and people of all races. A political party represents a set of ideas and values. It is not a racial group. The belief in personal freedom, limited government, and equality before the law is fundamental to the Republican philosophy of government.
There are black Republicans today who can trace their family roots back to the founding generation of Republicans. But it would be naïve to think that race is not an issue in American politics. Powerful forces in the media and academia are pushing virulent anti-white racism through Critical Race Theory and Project 1619. President Biden and many prominent Democrats have openly embraced these ideas.
Trump himself and his die-hard supporters are clinging to the idea that the election was stolen. But election irregularities weren’t widespread enough to explain Trump’s loss. For Trump supporters to say that the election was stolen is simply wrong. Or worse, it is a form of willful blindness rooted in the denial of a truth too painful to accept.
I write about this because denying reality is dangerous. Success in politics is no different from any other type of success. It starts with clear thinking and a solid understanding of reality. Election fraud is a distraction. It is a form of denial. Don’t look here, look there. For Republicans, clinging to the myth of a stolen election puts future elections at risk.
Evidence shows Trump lost because he didn’t get enough votes. He listened to the wrong people and watered down his message. It cost him white working class voters in key states. Let’s not make this mistake again.