Movements Win Elections

There is a movement in America today and they are called Deplorables. Since Ronald Reagan, every movement has resulted in a win on Election Day. The polls going into the 2016 presidential election may not fully capture the Deplorables movement. This mobilization of Trump backers could produce a larger than forecasted voter turnout for Donald Trump and give him the victory as a result.

This movement began while Mr. Trump was one of seventeen major party candidates; before any votes were cast in the Republican primaries. It was a highly qualified field of nine governors, five senators, a neurosurgeon, a CEO and a business man, Trump. 

His groundswell of support first started percolating when he announced his candidacy for President on June 16, 2015. Everyday Americans related to his populous messages on illegal immigration and building a wall, bad trade deals like NAFTA, and growing the economy with tax cuts and deregulation, among others. They were also eager to support a candidate who was a successful businessman not beholden to donors or special interests. The people were inspired by Trump’s vision and believed that he could accomplish much of it.

The belief and enthusiasm are still there for Donald Trump. He attracts large, passionate crowds at every rally event that spill out of the venue; with most supporters not even being able to get inside. Sometimes, with less than 24 hours’ notice, upwards of 20,000 people try to attend a rally location that can only accommodate 5,000. They wait in long lines with no guarantee of attending. Nothing will stop these disenfranchised rally goers from showing up on November 8th to get into the venue that really matters. Is this devotion a representation of a much greater electorate? That remains to be seen, but movements do beget presidential victories.

Presidential Movements

Traditional Democrats, disillusioned with liberal economic policies, pulled the lever for Ronald Reagan for two terms. They have been come to be known as Reagan Democrats. Reagan carried 44 states in 1980 and 49 states in 1984. Donald Trump’s campaign is hoping to have the same pull this time around.

The most recent candidate that had a powerful movement was Barack Obama. His zealous following began in the 2008 Democratic Party primaries against the front-runner, Hillary Clinton. It was because of this zeal that he was able to surpass Hillary to win the nomination. 

His movement swelled right before Election Day because of the ‘08 financial meltdown and it carried him to a presidential victory against John McCain. Obama’s movement also propelled him in 2012 against Mitt Romney, despite a weak economy, to win a second presidential term.

There haven’t been many movements of significance between Reagan and Obama. There was plenty of enthusiasm in 1988 for George H. W. Bush, but that was just because the American people wanted a third term of Ronald Reagan. It led him to victory and he had high approval ratings after the first Gulf War, but his support later waned because of a minor recession. Bush 41 only served one term losing to Bill Clinton in 1992. 

Another minor movement was the Democrats love for Bill Clinton. He was given the delusive distinction as being the country’s first black president, which many found offensive. But it was a strong economy and a weak opposition candidate in Bob Dole that gave him enough to win the presidency again in 1996.

No Way Bernie

An exception to movements winning elections can be found in this year’s Democratic primaries where a rigged system circumvented the process. Bernie Sanders led a movement with his left-leaning populism and only lost to Hillary Clinton because Hillary had the system rigged in her favor. 

WikiLeaks revealed collusion between the DNC and the Clinton team to defeat Sanders. And before the primaries were under way most of the Super delegates were already in the bag for Clinton.

The Clinton machine didn’t want the same thing that happened in 2008 to happen again, when she was overcome by the Obama movement. So before the primaries began she made sure the system said to populism, “no you can’t.” 

No Movements

George W. Bush could and did serve two terms, but he never had a true movement behind him. He only narrowly defeated Al Gore in 2000 by the slimmest of margins and defeated John Kerry in 2004 because of one primary issue, terrorism.

Besides the presidents, there haven’t been any movements behind any of the presidential losers since 1980: Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. None of these candidates had a populous movement under girding them.

In this election we have one candidate, Donald Trump, who has a strong movement uplifting him that enthusiastically wants his vision for America. The other candidate, Hillary Clinton, has no movement behind her. Hillary’s only support has come from her campaign’s cunning strategy of making Trump out as unelectable, but nothing that would energize anyone to find her vision attractive.

As noted, since 1980, movements win elections and elections without any movements have other deciding factors. If Hillary Clinton wins in 2016, then this will be an exception to this history. Even with the polls showing Donald Trump behind, I still would rather bet on history. If Donald Trump’s movement has history on its side, then the energized Deplorables' turnout will surpass the turnout of Clinton’s only play of voting against Trump.

Photo by Gage SkidmoreDonald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

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