I Was Right That Trump Could Win—And He Could Do Even Better In 2020!


[See earlier by Matthew Richer: For Better Or Worse, Donald Trump May Be The Only Immigration Patriot Running For President, April 13, 2015 (2 months before Trump announced for President!); and much earlier by Steve Sailer GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote, November 28, 2000]

After Donald Trump’s heroic victory, Main Stream Media commentators are scrambling to figure where they went wrong, expecting America to listen to their opinions. Bunk—America should listen to VDARE.com, especially me! We were right—and I think Trump could do even better in 2020.

In fairness, some NeverTrumpers like Charles Murray gave credit where it was due:

Steve Sailer is too humble rub it in. But I feel free to highlight my own prescience when, right after Romney’s defeat, I proposed a path forward for the GOP despite the immigration-driven changes to the electorate [Look On The Bright Side—Electoral College Gives GOP A (Small) Window To Act, November 17, 2012]

I wrote:

I do agree that, absent  some serious changes to our immigration policy, the GOP is indeed eventually doomed. But I think it’s important to note that the Electoral College system will keep Republicans competitive for a few cycles more than the raw demographic data suggests.

I noted that America’s immigration disaster was having an impact:

There are three swing states with large Hispanic electorate: Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. Perhaps they may be competitive for the GOP for another Presidential election cycle or maybe even two, but not much longer.

But not (yet) in other key swing states

Hispanics made up 2% of the electorate in Iowa, 3% in New Hampshire, Michigan, and Ohio, 4% in North Carolina and Wisconsin, 5% in Virginia, and 6% in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

McCain lost all of these states. And while Romney won Indiana and North Carolina, he

lost Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. Republicans would have to win all but one of these states if they cannot win any of the heavily Hispanic swing states. And some, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have not gone for the GOP since 1988.

Still, Republicans performed well in all of these states in 2010. The problem is that they then used their victory to pursue anti-union, free trade, and anti-Medicare policies; while refusing to do anything about popular issues like immigration.

I argued:

Rick Santorum would have probably done very well among these voters, though he would have likely scared off more Independent voters in swing states like Virginia, Florida, and Colorado with his views on social issues. I am confident that someone like Santorum, without the social baggage, who would also be solid on immigration, could be competitive for at least a couple more election cycles.

Donald Trump certainly did not have a similar background to Santorum. But otherwise this is the exact message and platform he ran on. As I predicted, the populist GOP candidate performed strongly in the Electoral College without winning the popular vote. He swept all the low-Hispanic Rust Belt states he needed to win. He narrowly won Florida but lost all the other Hispanic-influenced swing states.

Then, in 2015, after months of badgering by VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow, I looked further into how Trump could win, using FiveThirtyEight.com’s “Sing-O-Meter” feature  [Trump CAN Win Presidency With White Working Class–Nate Silver (Unintentionally) Says So!, December 13, 2015]. I made a number of assumptions:

  • “A significant, but not unrealistic, increase in turnout and share of the non-college educated white vote.”

Trump won whites without a college degree by 67-28 in 2016 compared to Romney’s 60%. [Exit Polls, CNN, November 9, 2016].

  • “A small decline amongst college-educated whites. “

Romney won college educated whites by 6%, Trump won them by 4%.

  • “A blowout and large increase in the share of the Hispanic vote. Just for the sake of argument, we will see Trump do even worse amongst Hispanics than Romney, and see their turn-out go up.”

In fact, the Hispanic share of the vote only increased 1% from 2012, and even that is likely due to demographic changes rather than Hispanic excitement, despite endless MSM hype. And Trump apparently outperformed Romney by 2 percentage points among Hispanics, getting 29% of the Hispanic vote.

So here I was too pessimistic, but as I said, I made that point for the sake of argument. And the Hispanic vote is still not that important.

  • “A small increase in the black share, and a decrease in their turn-out. Without a black man to vote for, I expect the black turn-out to decrease.”

Trump got 8% of the black vote compared to Romney’s 6%, and the black share of the electorate decreased from 13% to 12%.

Under this scenario, I predicted,

He’d lose many Hispanic heavy-western states such as New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado, but he’d bring in many states that the GOP has not won since the 1980s, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania; as well as Iowa, and Ohio, which Obama won in 2008 and 2012

I was right. Trump lost all the Hispanic states that I predicted, and he won all the other states I predicted he could win except Minnesota (where he was defeated narrowly).

What happens next? The 2016 election actually shows that Trump (or a Trump clone—Ivanka?) could do even better in 2020.

My model overestimated the strength of Trump’s white working class support. He can still do better. While he took fairly strong positions on trade and immigration, he still echoed Conservatism Inc. positions on labor unions and tax cuts, which likely limited his working-class appeal. A more pragmatic populist could get stronger support among the white working class and become more competitive in Minnesota and New England.

As noted, my model significantly underestimated Trump’s Hispanic support. Once again, this shows that immigration patriotism—even with strong rhetoric—does not alienate Hispanics who weren’t already going to vote Democratic.

And Trump did better among affluent whites than predicted, there’s no doubt that many were turned off by Trump’s persona. Another candidate who did not have his baggage could perform better among this demographic.

Trump was by no means the perfect candidate. But he had the perfect message for our time. If he sticks to his campaign promises and Republicans learn from his lead, they just may well survive.

More importantly, so will America.

Washington Watcher [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.