Politico points out that this election has implications for both sides - implications that have not been properly understood by either.
If the president manages through some combination of good luck and legal challenges to win a second term, ash-in-mouth Democrats and their sympathizers will ask Trump voters in a spirit of recrimination, “What the hell is your problem?”
If Joe Biden hangs onto his narrow lead, his backers can ask the same question of Trump voters in a spirit of reflection, and possibly even genuine curiosity. Democratic disdain for Trump is natural; disdain for his voters is more problematic. But there is no logical way to scorn Trump without being somewhat scornful of voters who cheered his ascent to power and were eager for him to keep it.
. . .
The 2020 results remain blurry but the central question on the table in this election was vividly clear. Is Trump’s norm-shattering governing style OK with you? Former president Barack Obama framed it sharply in at the summer convention: “That’s what’s at stake right now—our democracy.”
Here is an uncomfortable reality for Obama and anyone who agreed with his words. Trump is on track to grow his popular vote total by millions of people, not one of whom could have been under any illusions about what they were voting for. Unlike 2016, there is no way to dismiss this as a flukish accident of democracy, or an illegitimate manipulation of democracy. His support was a robust expression of democracy.
More discomfort: This was a bravura political achievement. Strip it—just for a moment only—from moral context, from the fact that crowded, maskless rallies during a pandemic are flagrantly irresponsible, that many of his words were remorselessly demagogic. In the midst of the coronavirus catastrophe, just weeks after that virus left him in the hospital needing supplemental oxygen, in the face of bad polls and mostly hostile news coverage, Trump raced across the country and came close to winning. He is a movement politician who, with his back to the wall, often demonstrates remarkable moves.
. . .
The conditions that created Trump will end only when one party or the other achieves a decisive advantage with voters that carries them to unchallenged majority status across Washington and deep into the states. Democrats thought this might be the year that happened. Some 67 million Trump voters—several million less than Biden won but several million more than Trump got four years ago—said not so fast.
When Democrats ask Trump voters “What is your problem?” it is another way of asking themselves, “What is our problem?”
There's more at the link.
Sadly, the author misses an essential point. Millions of voters who supported Donald Trump did not do so because they liked him, or even necessarily his policies. They did so because the alternative was absolutely, totally and completely unacceptable.
I fall into that category. I dislike Donald Trump's public persona; I find him boorish, brash and blustering. Nevertheless, he was - in this election - the only viable alternative to a socialist-oriented, group-think, politically-correct, social-justice-warrior busybody party, one that would never allow me to be who I want to be, but would insist that I live my life according to its dictates and whims. I will not do that. Not now, not ever. Ergo, I have no choice but to support the candidate (and party) that will not force me to do that.
When one party tells me, up front and without hesitation, that it will:
- Override the First Amendment by forcing me to support (with my tax dollars) causes that I find abhorrent on religious grounds;
- Override the Second Amendment by regulating almost out of existence my right to keep and bear arms, and defend myself;
- Structure school, college and university curricula along politically correct lines that are more indoctrination than education, thus ensuring that young people will be brainwashed into supporting the liberal, progressive agenda;
- Impose policies on the economy that are motivated more by environmentalism and political correctness than by sound common sense, thus ensuring massive cost increases and ever-decreasing efficiency;
- Support certain groups over others, even claiming that their lives matter more than others (in so many words), and insisting that I support such claims;
- and impose many other policies and restrictions that I find unacceptable...
I also understand that to many Americans, the views I have just espoused are anathema. They see no reason why they should be bound by the "dead letter" of an archaic constitution that they had no hand in devising or any say in approving. Their civics education has been deliberately dumbed down to the point of non-existence, to enable them to be manipulated in that way. However, I'm still not going to allow them to ride rough-shod over my rights in order to establish their progressive utopia.
The two sides in American politics today lack almost all middle ground. There can be no "meeting of the minds" if the minds are so diametrically opposed to each other. This election has not solved that problem, and no election will. Nevertheless, we'd better try to find a solution . . . because if we don't, the next Battle of Fort Sumter may be all too ready to erupt. We may be seeing its first skirmishes on our streets as I write these words.