The Post Mortem
Ok, for my friends on the right who are practically apoplectic about the title of this article, hold on to your britches, breathe, and read before grabbing your pitchfork and torch.
This, despite what the media is attempting to portray, is not the final map. Arizona is now less than half a percentage point different which triggers a mandatory recount of all ballots in the state. Georgia is already undergoing a recount, and the governor (who Trump campaigned for) has vowed to ensure that any and all fraudulent ballots will be thrown out. The vote count in this state has tightened to a statistical dead heat.
Then there is Pennsylvania where Rudy Giuliani filed a lawsuit last Friday in which 692,000 ballots are being contested as they were "found" overnight, were not observed by anyone, and were added to the totals before they could be reviewed by either Republican or Democrat observers. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, they were all for Biden. If they get thrown out, Trump wins Pennsylvania by over 200,000 votes. If just two of those states flip, it's four more years of President Trump.
Yet, it behooves us to examine HOW we got here. How did this election even get this close when you have one of the weakest (and oldest) candidates for President running on the Democratic ticket? I mean, they voted for Joe Biden KNOWING that he's nothing but a one term President based on his age. Donald Trump couldn't beat him clearly? On its face it doesn't make sense, but when you start piecing all of the puzzle together you get a picture of how it came about.
TRUMP'S NUMBER OF VOTERS DIDN'T DECREASE, BUT MANY JUMPED SHIP
Leading up to the election, a very close friend of mine kept saying to me, "Trump hasn't lost any of his 2016 voters, and has picked up new ones." Well, he was half right, he picked up new ones, which is how he was able to keep his vote totals near his 2016 total, but he lost a good number of centrist Republicans and a good portion of the Independents. That means that his vote was almost entirely partisan, which is shocking because of how high his number was, but as is always the case, you can't win in America if you don't capture the center and independent vote.
Yet, another reality is that while Trump did whip up his base, and get them out to vote, he also managed to do the same for the other side as well. I was shocked in my post election talks with those who voted against Trump. Most of them couldn't name a single Biden policy other than the general Democrat platform at best, and they finally admitted to voting for him because they simply hated Trump. Trump's bombast, his name calling, his "lock her up" type campaigning so energized the Democratic electorate, that they came out of every nook and cranny imaginable to vote against him. Their hatred of Trump is truly bottomless, and if you can get them to be honest, you'll see it too in your conversations with them too.
I wrote a blog about how President Trump was his own worst enemy, and I still firmly believe that. You can't fault him for his team building, the talent he assembled was beyond incredible, but when you refuse to let your people do their jobs, and instead believe that YOU are the one who should be doing everything, you tend to see everything fall apart. Trump wanted to be the one representing himself, but in doing so, he didn't get any advisement on the prudence of saying what he was saying. "Should I be saying this?" "Can someone else say this instead of me?" "Have I made this statement in the least insulting and demeaning way possible?" Let's face it, Trump is not Reagan. Reagan's ability to speak directly to the people was tied to his uncanny ability to say what needed to be said, often with humor, while not truly offending people. I doubt we'll ever see another like him, but Trump is as far from him as possible. Trump's tweets often border on incoherent, they're often as insulting as possible, and he NEVER takes the high road. He's always down in the mud slogging away with ANYONE who comes at him. Celebrity, Politician, Musician, News Person, heck, even just the average Joe from time to time.
If this election has shown us anything, it's that outside of the far right bubble, Trump's tweets did far more damage than any good that they may have done. Did they do ANY good? Hard to argue that they didn't, but that good was quickly and thoroughly overshadowed by the bad.
THE ROPE A DOPE VICTIM
Throughout the campaign, Trump was told by everyone that he needed to just let Biden speak, and hang himself. Yet what people on the right may not know is that this is exactly the same advice that was given to Biden. It is well known that Trump is eventually going to stick his foot in his mouth (such as doubling down on his murder and rapists charges aimed at Mexican immigrants), but Biden did as he was instructed while Trump did not. I could go on and on about the serious gaffes during the 2020 campaign, but while Trump's best plan was to lay low and let Biden take center stage, he was wholly and completely incapable of doing so. Your communications staff is better utilized messaging your campaign, not constantly defending it.
Trump's failure to use the bully pulpit to his advantage hurt him big time in this campaign. Instead of coming off as Presidential and unworried about Biden, his constant offense made him appear desperate, weak, and afraid. It might be in his nature, but his inability to curb that nature is what ultimately pushed many whom he needed away from him.
In short, the same things that made the far right bubble love President Trump are the same things that drove out the roughly 1.5 million people he needed to win in order to win the election. He really has no one to blame but himself for the closeness of this election, and even if he manages to overcome it, he is best served to learn from his mistakes and to corral himself before he permanently damages the party.
I know Republicans wanted a "fighter," but remember, while many Republicans do, most Americans don't. Had Trump been more of an ambassador who fought when he needed to, he would have steamrolled this election because what my friend said would have been true. Yet his incivility, his crass speech, and his offensive rhetoric are completely to blame for what has transpired. He should have had a Reagan v. Mondale election not a Bush v. Gore. And it's a problem entirely of his own making.
Because of how he chose to comport himself, more than half the country came out to vote against him. Not because they loved Joe Biden, not because the loved his policies, not even because they loved his VP pick. They voted purely on one thing and one thing only, their never ending hatred for Donald Trump which he brought upon himself.
Somewhere, Reagan is rolling in his grave at the destruction of his Big Tent.