Power Shift in Washington

Despite various possible legal and constitutional arguments, it seems obvious that Donald Trump has lost the 2020 election, but equally obvious that the result was far closer than pollsters and pundits predicted. From a racial nationalist standpoint, there are positive and negative lessons from these results.

On the positive side, White working class (in British terms) or middle class (in US terms) American voters have for the second successive presidential election defied political correctness and voted for a man who at least in terms of surface showmanship, seems to reject all of modern liberalism’s shibboleths.

Trump supporters in Nevada, where unlike in some other states the President’s fans were demanding that counting continue.

As in 2016, pollsters and journalists failed to pick up the extent of White Americans’ rejection of the ‘woke’ agenda. Ohio – long seen as a marginal ‘swing state’ and where most pollsters predicted a gain for Biden this year – remained solidly pro-Trump, who (with 90% of votes counted) looks to have won the state 53%-45% compared to a 52%-44% victory against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Examples of increasingly loyal pro-Trump areas include Clark County, Ohio, voting 57% for Trump in 2016 and 61% for Trump this year. Clark County (75% White) was once a strong manufacturing area, but industry has declined catastrophically in recent decades and it is now among the most depressed areas in America.

The state of West Virginia, where White workers were once reliable supporters of Democratic presidential candidates – voting 68% for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and even supporting losing Democratic candidates such as Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Michael Dukakis in 1988 – again strongly backed Trump with 68.5% in 2016 and 69% this year.

Some readers will remember the old National Alliance compound in Marlinton, West Virginia. This is part of Pocahontas County which backed Trump with 68% in 2016 and 69% this year. The new NA headquarters is even an even more pro-Trump area – Johnson County, Tennessee, voting 82% for Trump in 2016 and 83% this year!

Falls Church County, Virginia, where H&D editor Mark Cotterill once lived, is at the opposite political extreme, voting 76-13 in favour of Hillary Clinton in 2016, and 82-17 for Biden this year. The state of Virginia as a whole has shifted in the opposite direction to its West Virginia neighbour: once a ‘swing state’ that voted 62% for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and backed even losing Republican candidates George Bush (1992) and Bob Dole (1996), Virginia is now solidly behind the Democratic Party. This seems to reflect not only demographic change, with increasing numbers of black and Hispanic Virginians, but also a distaste for the modern Republican party among many younger, educated and fairly affluent White voters (especially young women) – although very wealthy Whites seem to have set aside their social liberalism and rewarded Trump for his tax cuts.

An unexpected aspect of racial politics this year involved Hispanic voters. While statisticians lump Hispanics together as a bloc, in reality they fall into two broadly opposed camps. This year Trump increased his support among strongly anti-communist Cuban immigrants (especially numerous in the crucial swing state of Florida) and some other conservative and/or Catholic Hispanics, who are alienated by the Democrats’ swing to the left, especially on social issues such as abortion. Though not himself noted for piety, Trump solidified his support among Christian conservatives by nominating Catholic legal scholar Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court a few weeks before the election.

While these Hispanics were repelled by the Democrats’ turn to the ‘left’ and more particularly by their obsession with feminism, ‘trans’ rights and general ‘wokeism’, a very different bloc of Hispanics is in the vanguard of semi-socialist politics. These voters backed leftwing challenger Bernie Sanders rather than Biden in the Democratic primaries, and were targeted by specialist sections of the Trump campaign using Facebook messaging etc. to persuade them that Biden was an establishment candidate who wasn’t worth backing.

Where Biden does seem to have improved on Clinton’s woeful campaign is among some White blue-collar workers who were persuaded to return to the Democratic fold. This was undoubtedly a factor in Biden recapturing two absolutely crucial states – Wisconsin and Michigan – by tiny margins. Equally if not more important is the long-term demographic change, with increasing numbers of Black voters tipping the balance in some states.

After he came down heavily on the side of ‘civil rights’ in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson confided to one of his closest aides that in doing so he had lost the South for the Democratic Party for a generation. Arguably this turned out to be two generations, but eventually (as Johnson implicitly predicted) increasing numbers of new black voters would compensate for the loss of White ex-Democrats.

Despite Trump slightly increasing his support among black voters (probably again concentrated among a small number of black Christian conservatives), the more important trend was the higher turnout of overwhelmingly pro-Biden blacks that helped offset support for Trump among ‘poor Whites’.

This (rather than over-hyped allegations of ‘fraud’) was the main reason why in states such as Pennsylvania and Georgia, early Trump leads were whittled down as ballots from black-dominated areas of Philadelphia and Atlanta were added to vote totals. Emblematic of this trend was Gwinnett County, Georgia. This county was 90% White as recently as 1990, but Whites have recently slipped to minority status here: appropriately enough, Gwinnett County’s ballots were among the last to be completely counted this year and seem likely to confirm Biden’s winning path to the White House – due to demographics, not fraud.

None of this should surprise H&D readers. If anything, the surprise is that after months of black rioting, tearing down statues, looting, and open insults to traditional notions of civility and order – even after all this, many White voters effectively surrendered to the radical ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, either by voting for Biden or simply giving up on democratic politics.

Back in 1983 American Football fans at the University of Mississippi (known as Ole Miss) defied ‘anti-racist’ demands to stop flying the Confederate battle flag. In 2020 more than two-thirds of Mississippi voters backed a BLM-inspired move to change their state flag.

One clear example was in Mississippi, where 68% of voters backed a change to the state flag, removing the image of the old Confederate battle flag. In 2001 a similar initiative was rejected, but BLM-related campaigns had renewed pressure this year. Even while backing Trump by a 59-39% margin, Mississippi voters this year gave up the battle to retain their 126-year-old flag.

Trump’s defeat is not the end of White America, but it is the end of a particular variant of populist White resistance. The very fact that many Trump supporters (taking their cue from the President himself) were so quick to take refuge in impotent rage about ‘fraud’ indicates the futility of their conspiracist, paranoid political strategy. Trump spent much of his presidency tweeting about the evils of the political establishment – despite controlling both the White House and Senate. The sad truth is that Trump didn’t have much of a concrete agenda and leaves behind little concrete legacy aside from a conservative majority on the Supreme Court – and even that becomes less tangible the closer one examines the meaning of ‘conservatism’.

The President’s devotion to Israel won him little support among Jewish voters, 77% of whom backed his opponent Joe Biden. For all the campaign rhetoric, US policy in the Middle East will change very little under Biden – US-sponsored efforts to build bridges between Israel and Arab dictatorships will continue, with the ultimate objective of a de facto Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran. Just like Trump (but with less inflammatory tweeting) President Biden will seek a ‘tougher’ form of nuclear deal with Iran, though he might be more open than his predecessor to realistic voices in London, Paris and Berlin who favour something closer to the Obama-era deal with Tehran.

Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu formed an intimate political partnership: will Netanyahu follow his friend into oblivion?

Trump was a modest improvement on the 2001-2009, neocon-dominated Bush Administration. Yet from day one his senior appointments lacked quality, integrity or ideological backbone: the Reagan era was a halcyon age by contrast. While Reagan Republicanism was a long way from the ideological spectrum of H&D‘s readership, the Reagan White House included some pretty solid paleoconservatives, and even those who weren’t on our ideological wavelength were generally a class above their Trump-era counterparts.

As in the UK, the US political scene is marked by an obvious racial consciousness among White working/middle-class voters, but lack of a serious political infrastructure giving those voters a voice. Following Trump’s defeat, the Republican party establishment will seek to reassert control and ensure selection of a more ‘moderate’ presidential candidate in 2024. Trump himself was sui generis, and there is no new Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul on the horizon. Even at humbler levels of the political system, it’s difficult to find high-quality defenders of White America. So-called ‘right-wingers’ are more likely to be crank conspiracy theorists such as newly elected Republican Congresswomen Lauren Boebert (Colorado) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), who support the frankly weird and amorphous ‘QAnon’ theory. One factor this year (which alert readers will have deduced from statistics quoted earlier) was the almost total disappearance of third party candidates. Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen was on the ballot in every state but generally polled only 1% compared to 3.3% for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in 2016.

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