The ferocity of Trump opposition has caused a reaction causing his supporters to double down on their support and pushing his reluctant supporters more into the enthusiastic camp. Any criticism of Trump is rejected out of hand as disloyal. We are served no better by Trump sycophants than we were by Obama’s.
I question how much Trump won and how much Hillary lost. There are three general reasons attributed to her loss:
Her election was stolen by interference from FBI Director Comey and Russian hacking. This line also attributes her loss to fake news and other similar excuses.
Another school attributes her loss to incompetence and her character flaw. She was a poor campaigner and assumed victory in states that were more in play than she realized. She avoided the ground work that Obama had executed so well. I believe that this contributed far more to her loss than the first reason. The election was close enough for this to have made a decisive difference.
The third general reason is rarely addressed; that the Democratic Party has lost its ideological relevance.
The fact that the political parties eschew ideology in campaigns is noted by both candidates’ call for pragmatic solutions. There is a subset of voters that do weigh ideology and it applied in this election in the rejection of elites. There is less trust in the central powers that rule, including the clerisy of the media and the campus intellectuals. The ideology of identity politics and political correctness was viewed as social justice by one side and prejudice and intolerance by the other.
The lack of attention to the third reason will delay any recovery of the Democratic party.
Trump’s pragmatism could become a flaw. On one hand, he understands the need for lower taxes, but then he advocates interference in trade which could counter any success he can render on the tax front. There is a tension between pragmatic action and ideological consistency.
Trump has an opportunity to make drastic changes in the accumulation of federal friction costs that a more moderate Republican would be reluctant to attempt. What seems reckless may only appear so compared to an expansion in Federal power that has become a new normal.
With Trump in power there is an incentive for Democrats to embrace constitutional limits on executive power and majoritarian democracy, that they conveniently ignored for the last eight years. They may even discover the benefit of state’s rights and federalism when the Supreme Court no longer does their bidding. This could be a moment when the parties switch large parts of their ideologies