The results of 2020’s presidential election are an inverse of Van Jones’ famous “whitelash” description of the 2016 contest. After years of studying white Americans- and practicing on Hungarians- Arthur Finkelstein and Donald Trump correctly concluded appealing to America’s long-ignored “forgotten” (white) man was the ticket to victory in 2016.
Throughout his presidency, and culminating in the 2020 election, he abandoned those working class whites he rode to victory four years previous. And it appears, at press time, that decision will cost him re-election.
Much has been made about potential voter fraud in several swing states. Some degree of fraud almost certainly occurred- but the responsibility for that fraud falls on Trump’s shoulders. After all, he’s the one that claimed 1.8 million fraudulent votes were cast in 2016- and then disbanded Kris Kobach’s poorly-funded commission on voter fraud before it could produce any results.
Additionally, Trump is responsible for failing to nominate Kobach to head the Department of Homeland Security, a position from which he could have directed federal resources to ensure the integrity of the election. Instead, Trump left him to slum it in run for governor & senator in Kansas. Trump notably refused to endorse Kobach’s 2020 Senate campaign.
Even still- and even if through legal challenges, he ultimately wins- this election isn’t coming down to the wire because of voter fraud.
Trump would have won by a greater margin than he did in 2016 if he had simply delivered on the promises he made to his white, working class base.
Exit polls have shown this conclusively. Data collected by CNN shows from 2016 to 2020, Trump made gains in every racial & gender group- except for white men.
In pre-COVID economic rhetoric, the Trump administration put a fine point on “low black” and “low Hispanic” unemployment. Arguably Trump’s crowning legislative achievement, the First Step Act, was a gift for violent black & Hispanic criminals and Jewish fraudsters.
The list of failings and betrayals extends into every issue that mattered for Trump’s white base in 2016: from the sweetheart deal his administration cut to protect Purdue Pharma executives from prosecution, the precipitous drop in deportations (remember “they have to go back”?), Trump’s embrace of black thugs that served as the impetus for nationwide riots, the complete inability to reign in Antifa violence- the list continues.
White men- the strongest constituency for Trump in 2016- have been entirely overlooked by the Trump administration. As Hunter Wallace wrote at Occidental Dissent, “Donald Trump took white men for granted and paid the price.”
Trump’s base collapsed along class lines, too. Exit polls from the New York Times revealed that Biden beat Trump by +13 points among voters making between $50,000-$99,000; in other words, the working class.
The only income strata Trump won was the upper-middle class, those making between $100,000 and $199,000.
This class divide makes sense in light of the Trump administration’s handling of coronavirus relief. Instead of extending unemployment benefits to working Americans put out of work by coronavirus-related lockdowns, the Trump administration chose to allow the benefits to lapse, with Republicans vowing to stop the benefit extension ‘over [their] dead bodies.’
Workers in the $100,000-$199,000 range are more likely than those in lower ranges to work jobs that can be done remotely, and thus were less likely to be affected by coronavirus-related lockdowns and work stoppages.
This election will be the subject of countless post-mortems and analyses in the weeks to come. There will be efforts to shift the conversation away from understanding what happened, and onto a new season of lawfare drama and political intrigue.
The truth about why Trump lost is important. It wasn’t mail in ballots, Democrat controlled cities, or dead voters- though those perpetual democratic foibles didn’t help. Trump lost because his administration and campaign abandoned the white voters he used to get elected in the first place- and, most importantly, we recognized the trick and didn’t fall for it a second time.