The states of Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania are still counting ballots, and the presidential election of 2020 between the President and former Vice President Joe Biden is still too close to call.
Win or lose in 2020, President Donald Trump, his administration, campaign and supporters have a whole lot to be proud of. This is a President who has fought tirelessly for the American people: to get better deals on trade, to take on the Washington, D.C. establishment, bring jobs back to the U.S. and get the economy moving after eight years of the Obama-Biden stagnation.
Whatever happens, President Trump’s America First Revolution is only just beginning.
And in 2020, Trump dramatically built on his 2016 coalition by garnering more than 68 million votes, far more than any other Republican candidate in history.
To get there, according to the CNN exit poll for this year, Trump significantly improved his standing amongst numerous demographics compared to 2016: white women by 3 points, blacks by 4 points, shrank Biden’s margin on both black men and women by 7 points, shrank Biden’s margin on Latino men by 6 points and on Latina women by 2 points.
What Trump has done, and Republicans might not appreciate this right now, is create a new way for the GOP to win national elections by expanding the Republican base: by appealing to poorer, working class Americans of all races, creeds and colors.
In doing so, President Trump has not only put the lie to the media falsely portraying him as a racist, he has guaranteed a competitive two-party system at a time when Democratic one-party rule is a real danger.
2020 has produced more votes than ever in American history across the board.
But, in the Rust Belt states of Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump was narrowly beaten by Biden this time. Interestingly, the key to Biden’s wins there was on the President’s core constituency: Trump lost a small and yet highly significant ground with white men, and specifically white, no-college nationally and at the state level.
In 2016, Trump won whites generally 57 percent to 37 percent. In 2020, he only won it 57 percent to 42 percent. Biden improved by 4 points there.
On white men, last time Trump won 62 percent to 31 percent. In 2020, he won it 58 percent to 40 percent. My sense is Trump didn’t lose any support, it’s that Biden increased turnout amongst the D-leaning white men.
It went from a 31-point edge to an 18-point edge. Devastating.
Finally, on white, no-college, Trump won 66 percent to 29 percent last time. In 2020, Trump won 64 percent to 35 percent, going from a 37-point edge to a 29-point edge.
And, the killer, on white, no-college men, Trump won 71 percent to 23 percent in 2016. In 2020, Trump won it 67 percent to 30 to percent.
If Biden happens to eke out a victory, when Trump improved every one of his weaknesses on women and minorities but lost ground on his major strength, that will be the biggest reason why.
To be fair, it’s not that Trump was necessarily losing support among this group, it was that Biden was able to improve on his own Democratic-leaning voters in this demographic, essentially bringing his numbers among whites back to former President Barack Obama’s 2008 levels.
This is something the President’s campaign data team should have identified as a group that the Biden campaign was explicitly targeting — and moved to register more voters in this key demographic — even if it appeared to the GOP that it was already maximized.
“The President may regret following the advice of conventional GOP consultants,” Market Research Foundation President Bill Wilson commented, adding, “They, as a group, have never understood the impact of the white, no-college voter. While the President may be able to off-set the lost among this core constituency with increased support from Hispanics and African Americans, it is a danger for him to have failed to equal the 2016 levels of support.”
Clearly, the President’s road to victory in 2020 could have been considerably smoother by getting more out of higher-propensity potential base voters registered in order to offset Biden’s surge among whites.
Additionally, here, Wilson makes a key point, which is that but for Trump’s successful outreach to women and minorities — given Biden’s improvement among men and whites — the President and Republicans would have been slaughtered in Election Day. They weren’t. And if Trump wins, that will surely be why.
Instead, Trump is still in the running in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, has decisively carried Ohio, Florida and Texas, and Republicans appear to have held the U.S. Senate.
In an election on the razor’s edge in a year when almost every poll said Joe Biden had this thing locked up, that is a remarkable accomplishment. It’s something Republicans can and should build on in the coming years. President Trump, since he started his historic run in 2015, was showing the GOP establishment something important all along — that the Republican Party can and must grow if it is to remain competitive.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.