The morning newsletters say it all. Whether President Trump manages to win, Beltway denizens are waking up to the inescapable reality of their own ignorance. Like 2016, journalists and operatives are flirting with the prospect of introspection, and in almost exactly the same terms.
Here’s Politico Playbook:
TUESDAY WAS AN ABJECT DISASTER for Democrats in Washington. To imagine the amount of soul searching and explaining the party will have to do after Tuesday is absolutely dizzying. The infighting will be bloody — as it should be. We fielded text after text from Hill Democrats Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning with existential questions about their leadership and the direction of their party.
Here’s Axios AM:
Recognize that we paid way too much attention to polls, which have even more limitations than we realized. It was a terrible night for polling. They were wrong, almost all of them, almost everywhere. Save yourself time and stop watching them so closely in elections… Understand that Trump’s appeal was broader than believed. He actually found new voters. Many of them were the working-class, white males who are the base of his base. But there were more of them.
It’s both amusing and infuriating to ingest this second round of soul searches given that Democrats and the corporate media spent four years breathlessly chasing the conspiracy of Russian collusion, pursuing a thin impeachment case, bizarrely arguing the legacy outlets’ alleged commitment to neutrality amounted to pro-Trump bias, burrowing deeper into cancel culture, and generally sprinting in the wrong direction.
If only the host of Celebrity Apprentice had defeated the former secretary of state in a presidential election and shocked the political class out of its bubble! Why is former Sen. Claire McCaskill spending the morning of Nov. 4 on “Morning Joe” calling for Democrats to take a “gut check” four years later?
Now, as Tucker Carlson emphasized before Election Day, emotional, eye-popping crowds of Trump fans still rallied around him in numbers that virtually blurred the horizon in places like Butler, Pennsylvania. A lot of decent Americans love Donald Trump. A lot of decent Americans prefer him to the Democratic Party. The latter is an incredible indictment of the left.
What’s worse is that Democrats and journalists utterly blew their opportunity to spend the last four years “soul searching.” They convinced themselves the “deplorables” diagnosis was apt, that Republicans were committing political suicide on a daily basis by backing the president. Meanwhile, he seems to have been making gains, to a degree we don’t yet know, with Hispanic voters. He doesn’t appear to have been poison in down ballot races, particularly in the Senate. He also managed to run a tight race despite a pandemic, a pandemic economy, the entire media and cultural machine mobilizing in opposition to him, and meddling from Silicon Valley.
Those people in Butler aren’t going anywhere, even if Trump loses. The political class should have given them a fair hearing in 2016. They said they would. They did the opposite. They will continue to do the opposite. It is failing them and failing the country dramatically.
The question for everyone across the ideological spectrum who understands that— from Glenn Greenwald to Tucker—is how to move forward in spite of the ruling class. Our daily lives are being uprooted by rapid advances in technology, throttling us into the future so quickly that we barely feel the motion.
It’s changing our brains, changing our politics, and confounding our insulated experts. That’s the context in which we should evaluate the GOP’s over-performance relative to elite expectations since those elites cannot be relied upon to evaluate anything with clarity. They are overrun by illiberal cultural leftists who’ve intimidated their Boomer leaders into submission, or assumed leadership ranks themselves. The only option is to forge a new path.