We are on the cusp of a blue tsunami. It is starting to be beyond obvious. I expect a historic voter turnout. Perhaps the largest in the modern era. Americans are about to reject Trumpism all over the nation, perhaps not in a few red states where libertarian thought dominates, even in a pandemic. I am also willing to predict that Trumpism will do better still in rural areas, where the population is older and far more conservative. But even there, because of the trade war with China, it will not be as strong as it was in 2016.
I am willing to predict a few things eight days before November third. Democrats will sweep both Houses of Congress and the White House. It will be historic, and we may even see some Senators lose their seats that think they are still fine. This is one reason that Mitch McConnell is so keen to confirm Amy Coney Barret as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. He knows after the election it would be more difficult to pull off politically. Let's be clear here, if the blue tsunami crests high enough, he may lose not just his majority, but his seat.
This is not about polling and what it tells us. In this sense President Donald Trump is correct, the polls are wrong. However, he misses the reason why. Polls are not capturing the universe of first-time voters. We know we have a lot of these, ranging from people who have not voted in many elections to young voters who are showing up. We are already at turnout numbers approaching the 2016 election, in the midst of a pandemic. We have days to go. The polls capture likely voters. This means those people who have voted regularly in at least two elections. So yes, the president is right, but for the wrong reasons. The polls are missing a lot of voters, and likely not friendly to him.
Something similar happened in 2016. We had two things that happened, The first is that Donald Trump activated a new group of voters. These were the white supremacists, and nationalists that saw him as a way out of where we are heading as a nation. Yes, some of his voters were drawn to him by their economic issues, but a significant group was drawn to him by his nativist views. For multiple reasons reliable Democratic voters also stayed home, in effect giving Trump a victory through the electoral college after the blue wall crumbled. However, the people who are voting this time around, who are getting activated by this historic moment, are likely not going to vote for the president. This is one reason why voter suppression tactics are all the rage. This is why the president is actually right. The polls are not capturing these voters.
The turnout may approach or be larger than the 1908 election. That was sixty-five percent. This is shaping to be a wave election. This will also be a rejection of the radicalism and white nationalism of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. This will also have a few effects, especially for his activated white supremacist base. They see the president as a savior for white America. When he is defeated, it will be by a multicultural nation that is moving away from those nativist values. If you think that will mean that they will quietly go away, I have a bridge to sell you. Radicalized people rarely go quietly into that good night.
His base is hardly going away. They already feel like cornered animals in a country that is changing all around them. Some talk openly about revolution. Others have already plotted to carry out plots to kidnap government officials. A few have taken advantage of the cover of protests to riot, and destroy property. They want to start that civil war that they believe will help them save the nation. David Frum writes this in the Atlantic. He sees the exact same pattern as I do:
Trump has used violence as a political resource since he first declared his candidacy, in the summer of 2015. But as his reelection prospects have dimmed in 2020, political violence has become central to Trump’s message. He wants more of it. After video circulated that appeared to show Kyle Rittenhouse shooting and killing two people and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, Trump liked a tweet declaring that “Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.” “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,” Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Fox & Friends on August 27. Two nights later, a 600-vehicle caravan of Trump supporters headed into downtown Portland, Oregon, firing paintball guns and pepper spray, driving toward a confrontation during which one of them was shot dead.
I will take it a step further. Trump wants violence and chaos. He thinks that these tough hombres can help him secure the office as a dictator. The electoral exercise is not one he, or his party, believes in. They want the tyranny of the minority, as I have written in the recent past.
I hope, for the sake of the nation, that Trump concedes when it is beyond obvious that he did not win reelection. His psychology will make it extremely difficult. But if he does not, we will see violence. I expect that because many of his most ardent fans are opposed to the changes that are well underway. These are both demographic and socially. The country is becoming a more progressive country. This scares these people.
We need to find a way to reduce their sense of grievance and alienation if we are going to prevent long term violence. We cannot speak of lone wolves anymore, and in fact, the media is when they still use the term. The government has minimized the threat, which is very real. And while that happens, the president and his acolytes have blown up the imaginary threat from the left. At this point, we know some of the very real violence during the summer came from right-wing actors. For example, according to the Minneapolis Police the Umbrella Man seen in videos breaking windows at the Autozone has ties to the Hells Angels and a prison biker gang. He was nowhere close to Antifa or other fantasies about the far left.
The same goes for the deadly attack on police officers in Auckland, California. The two officers died at the hands of the Boogaloo Boys, who are a far-right group, who want to start a civil war. We have other things, including threats to governors, mayors, and even Joe Biden. None of this should surprise us. The tension in the air is obvious. Some of these people are not going to accept that Donald Trump lost the election, even if he concedes. The QAnon acolytes are going to claim it is the deep state and it is time to defend the election from these nefarious actors.
Then there is the hybrid warfare campaign that is ongoing. It did not start this year, and it was very successful in 2016. The Feds have said that both Russia and Iran are at it, and so is China. They are working at different levels, but given how successful Russia was in 2016, we must take this into account. If you find a user spreading memes, it is quite likely that it could be a foreign troll working at a computer farm.
Social media companies know this and are starting to be more proactive than they were in 2016. The reaction from some in the right-wing universe is that conservative voices are censored. They want the government to remove any ability these companies have to moderate content and tell people that something is bunk. Companies are also removing false stories as soon as they find them…or at least after some time and a lot of alerting. Of course, from experience alerting far-right material and open Nazi ideation with Holocaust denial did not happen until recently. Facebook is finally realizing it is not free speech.
Some of these actors are not within our shores and they are exploiting divisions in the United States. They are also exploiting the wedges that exist in the United States and opening rifts among the American people. It is said that Russian intelligence knows American divisions better than Americans understand them. This is going to lead to violence, which benefits the motherland. This is Vladimir Putin’s revenge for the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. That he has become extremely wealthy after consolidating power, yes he has. That he has almost absolute power (who do I kid, he had absolute power) is true. And that he has been using the president as a puppet is real. Trump desires to be as powerful as Putin, who is not limited by silly things like a Constitution. Putin is indeed above the law, and Trump desires to be. So he is not going to protect the American people against these foreign actors. It is not in his narcissist interest.