Why Donald Trump Almost Won Explained in One Simple Graphic
It Also Explains Why Down-Ticket Democrats Did So Poorly
As I write this column, both the Republican and Democratic National Committees are conducting detailed “postmortems” of the 2020 elections. These postmortems will dissect voluminous amounts of detailed data sets, including:
- Turnout by district,
- Demographic voting trends, and
- The issues on which voters made up their minds.
These data sets, along with many others, will help the RNC and DNC uncover why their candidates at all levels of government either under- or over-performed their pre-election expectations.
But I’m fairly certain I already know a major reason why the 2020 elections (especially the Presidential race) unfolded as they did. And it’s not very complicated. In fact, it’s succinctly summarized in the above graphic from FiveThirtyEight.com.
As the graphic clearly shows, Americans are worried about the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they are much more concerned with its economic impacts than its potential health risks. President Trump and other Republican candidates built their campaigns around those economic concerns, while now President-elect Joe Biden and Democratic candidates focused on the health aspect of the pandemic. That miscalculation almost cost Biden the election, and it undoubtedly cost many down-ticket Democrats their races.
Will Democrats learn from this miscalculation? It’s too soon to say.
But if their actions over the past two weeks since the election are any indication, the answer is no. Democratic governors across the country have once again implemented strict COVID-19 measures, ranging from forced school and business restrictions and closures to complete lock downs. And Republican politicians and political action committees already are painting the incoming Biden administration as draconian in its approach to the pandemic.
As I wrote in a column earlier this year: yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is indeed a health and healthcare crisis. But it is not JUST a health and healthcare crisis. It also is a world-wide economic crisis and a “psychological & social” crisis.
If Democrats don’t accept that and govern accordingly, they will continue to feel the wrath of the 73.5 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump — as well as the millions of others who voted for Joe Biden, while supporting down-ticket Republicans. And that could make their 2022 election postmortem even more depressing than this year’s.