In four weeks, Americans will have their first opportunity to demonstrate how they feel about January 6th. Forget the polls, forget the pundits, forget the interviews — votes count.
And if the vote totals from previous elections tell me what I think they are telling me, we are going to see how much Trump means to the Democratic Party for the third, successive time.
Let’s remember that Trump was an unknown quantity when he ran in 2016. And he won by the thinnest of margins against an opponent who not only had negatives that were worse than Trump’s downside when the campaign began, but she basically stopped campaigning a month before the campaign came to an end.
And let’s also not forget that Trump won because he flipped three states — MI, PA, WI — by less than 2% of the total votes cast in those three states and he lost the popular balloting by 3 million votes.
Now let’s briefly pause our discussion about current electoral happenings and look back slightly in time.
In 2000, when Bush and the Supreme Court beat Al Gore, 105 million Americans went to the polls. In the 2002 mid-term vote, total ballots were 70 million, or 60% of the voters who participated in the previous general election which chose not just who would control Congress, but who would control the White House as well.
In the next Presidential election, which was 2004 when Bush swift-boated John Kerry, the total vote count was 115 million. The vote total in 2006 also increased to 81 million, this time 70% of the votes cast in 2004. This would be the highest percentage of votes cast in an off-year election compared to the previous Presidential vote and it reflected dissatisfaction over how the invasion of Iraq had turned into a big mess. Remember WMD?
Obama’s 2008 election brought out 131 million voters, but the GOP regained control of the House in 2010 by using a very effective scare narrative about the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the percentage of mid-term voters from the previous Presidential campaign was 70%, exactly the same drop-off as 2004.
The 2012 election was the only time in this entire twenty-year review that the total vote was actually less than what it had been in the previous national race, largely because the country had recovered from the financial collapse at the end of the Bush administration, plus Romney ran about the most boring Presidential campaign since Alf Landon from Kansas headed the 1936 GOP ticket but refused to campaign because his party opposed the New Deal, even though farm relief had probably kept farmers from starving in Landon’s home state.
In 2014, the off-year vote results were basically the same as every other mid-term since 2002, namely, 60% of the voters who showed up in 2012 came to the polls in 2014. What I find interesting is that in the four mid-term elections since 2002, the percentage of voters compared to the votes recorded in the previous national campaign has always moved between 60% and 70%.
Now we come to the two elections in which Trump participated first as a candidate and then as a sitting President. And like everything else that has happened since Trump came down the elevator and announced his candidacy before an adoring audience of rent-an-actor fans, things have happened in a different way.
The 2016 vote total was 6% higher than the 2012 national vote, which was within the average range of overall voting increases which basically represents the fact that the national population continues to grow by between 1% and 2% every year. But the 2018 vote was only 17% less than the 2016 total and this massive turnout was what gave the Democrats their largest electoral victory since — ready? — 1914!
What happened in 2020, when Trump was heavily engaged in a campaign for the second time? Even though Trump bragged about receiving more votes than any previous sitting President, Joe pulled an astonishing 81 million votes which if anyone wants to continue talking about election fraud, as Grandpa would say ‘gai gezinta hai’ (read: get lost.)
What this little review of the last 11 national elections shows more than anything else, is that Donald Trump’s presence as an active campaigner has been a blessing for the Democrats and a curse for the GOP. Things have gotten so bad that a month before the election, Trump is now actively campaigning for MAGA-types of candidates not just in the United States, but in other countries as well.
Does this schmuck actually believe that he can build an international political movement when he can’t even get anyone in his own country to follow his lead?
I can just see Trump telling one of his lawyers to file an application for an international MAGA copyright so that he can sell flags and t-shirts at some rally in Paraguay or Greece.