News Opinions/Publications Nation­al Conservatism’s Big Night

Nation­al Conservatism’s Big Night

I’m writ­ing this after mid­night Cen­tral time, now that it’s clear we won’t have an idea tonight who won the pres­i­den­tial race, and prob­a­bly not which par­ty will con­trol the Sen­ate (though it’s going to be very hard for the Democ­rats to pull out a win). Still, I retire tonight a far, far hap­pi­er pun­dit than I expect­ed to be at the end of the evening. Why? Consider:

Too bad, iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics Democ­rats. It turns out that a lot of Lati­nos want to be plain patri­ot­ic Amer­i­cans after all (Screen­shot of Trump cam­paign ad)

  1. I expect­ed to slink to bed crushed by a Biden blowout, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate. That’s what the polls had pre­dict­ed, after all. Now it appears that the GOP has held the Sen­ate, and Trump might actu­al­ly pull out a stun­ning upset.
  2. Even if Trump los­es, the Sen­ate will still almost cer­tain­ly remain in Repub­li­can hands. That means elder­ly Pres­i­dent Biden will take office as an enfee­bled one-ter­mer hemmed in by a GOP Senate.
  3. Trump out of the pic­ture opens the path for new con­ser­v­a­tive lead­er­ship in the nation­al con­ser­v­a­tive vein. Tonight’s result makes it clear that there will be no restora­tion of the pre-Trump Repub­li­can sta­tus quo. The Lin­coln Project will have been its last hurrah.
  4. The president’s amaz­ing per­for­mance with black and Lati­no vot­ers sig­nals a poten­tial for realign­ment, with the GOP becom­ing a broad work­ing-class par­ty with a social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive base. Look at this:
    Accord­ing to the exit poll, Trump did bet­ter in 2020 with every race and gen­der except white men.Change from 2016:White Men ‑5
    White Women +2
    Black Men +4
    Black Women +4
    Lati­no Men +3
    Lati­no Women +3
    Oth­er +5 pic​.twit​ter​.com/​h​U​c​1​7​I​y​1ip— Matt Bru­enig (@MattBruenig) Novem­ber 4, 2020
  5. This elec­tion was a mas­sive repu­di­a­tion of Wok­e­ness and iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics. It should give con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians the courage to go on the attack against it with­in insti­tu­tions. If Trump holds the exec­u­tive branch, the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the EEOC, the Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment, and oth­ers ought to put the fear of God into the likes of Smith Col­lege and Woke Cap­i­tal­ists. Despite what Stacey Abrams and oth­er lead­ing Democ­rats want to believe, there can be no illu­sion that the future of Amer­i­ca is iden­ti­ty politics.
  6. The media will melt down, again. Couldn’t hap­pen to more deserv­ing peo­ple. Same with the piss-ant Stal­in­ista sis­ters at Pro­gressphiles, who drove David Shor off for telling the truth.
  7. If Trump holds the White House and the Repub­li­cans hold the Sen­ate, Jus­tice Thomas could retire from the Supreme Court if he want­ed to, and they could put a young con­ser­v­a­tive in his place. Also, the GOP could cre­ate a 7 – 2 con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty if Jus­tice Stephen Brey­er, 82, retires in the next pres­i­den­tial term.
  8. If the GOP emerges from all this as the over­all win­ner (which it will even if Trump los­es), every­body is going to need to lis­ten to Yoram Hazony’s 2019 speech defin­ing nation­al con­ser­vatism, to get an idea of where the Right is headed.

How­ev­er the White House race is decid­ed — and we might not know until week’s end, if it comes down to Penn­syl­va­nia — this year’s vote marks anoth­er cat­a­stro­phe for poll­sters. But I won­der how you poll accu­rate­ly when so many peo­ple are afraid to tell the truth about their sup­port for a con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­date? I can­not tell you the num­ber of pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions I’ve had in the past week or so, both in per­son and online, with Trump vot­ers who expressed con­fi­dence that Trump would be re-elect­ed because they knew so many peo­ple like them­selves: vot­ers who sup­port­ed Trump, but would nev­er admit it to a poll­ster or to some­one they didn’t know.

Why is that? Because they are afraid. Of what? Of that infor­ma­tion being used against them in some way. Of it cost­ing them their job, or worse. These peo­ple aren’t fools. They see how the pro­gres­sive left in pow­er behaves, and how get­ting on the wrong side of woke ide­ol­o­gy can destroy a person’s career.

One read­er of this blog told me last week that his wife, who grew up in Chi­na under the Cul­tur­al Rev­o­lu­tion, par­tic­i­pat­ed all cam­paign in a major week­ly track­ing poll, and con­sis­tent­ly lied about her vot­ing plans. She said she was a Biden backer who was plan­ning to vote for lib­er­als. The truth was the oppo­site — but she didn’t dare say so, because she was afraid. She has been watch­ing the rise of woke mobs, and ide­o­log­i­cal per­se­cu­tion with­in Amer­i­can insti­tu­tions, with hor­ror, because she knows from her own family’s expe­ri­ence where this sort of thing leads.

What the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and its pro­gres­sive activist base have done is bul­ly the Amer­i­can peo­ple into prac­tic­ing ket­man. What is that? It’s a con­cept that the Pol­ish dis­si­dent writer Czes­law Milosz intro­duced in his 1950s clas­sic The Cap­tive Mind, explain­ing why so many intel­lec­tu­als fell for Com­mu­nism. I write about it like this in my book Live Not By Lies:

J.d. Vance Remarks On A New Direc­tion For Pro-work­er, Pro-fam­i­ly Con­ser­vatism, Tac Gala, 5 – 201900:37/00:59

Lying to poll­sters makes sense in a soci­ety in which telling cer­tain truths can cost you your job. This is the world that the Left has made for itself, and for us all. Joe Biden should have won this elec­tion going away, giv­en the Covid cri­sis, and the president’s record. But he either lost the race, or he will have bare­ly won it, and will take office with no man­date. My sense is that a lot of this comes from the fact that peo­ple hate the humil­i­a­tion of hav­ing to lie to pro­tect their jobs and their rep­u­ta­tions from per­se­cu­tion by the Left — by col­lege admin­is­tra­tors, by HR depart­ments, by woke, race-obsessed mobs with­in com­pa­nies, and snitch­es, and media. For now at least, we still have the secret bal­lot. Some­one said that Don­ald Trump is the last mid­dle fin­ger peo­ple like this have left.

The Democ­rats will not be able to absorb this les­son. Can you imag­ine the shock to their sys­tem? Already Nikole Han­nah-Jones, the 1619 Project fab­u­list, is busy try­ing to rewrite the his­to­ry of the 2020 elec­tion to blame white peo­ple for the Lati­no repu­di­a­tion of inter­sec­tion­al solidarity:

Again, we don’t know yet who the next pres­i­dent is going to be, but we can say for sure that almost nobody fore­saw this kind of set­back for the Democ­rats. It is pos­si­ble — and maybe even prob­a­ble — that in the after­math of this bad elec­tion, the woke pow­er cen­ters with­in media, acad­e­mia, and cor­po­ra­tions will dou­ble down on “antiracism” and oth­er ide­o­log­i­cal mad­ness. But now the Amer­i­can peo­ple have demon­strat­ed pow­er­ful­ly that there’s no future in it out­side of the pathet­ic precincts of mid­dle and upper class power.

That’s not noth­ing! That’s very far from noth­ing. But it’s less than they thought they had before Tues­day. Well done, Amer­i­ca. And to be fair, though I don’t often have much pos­i­tive to say about him in this space, well done Don­ald Trump. Even if you wind up los­ing the White House, the par­ty wouldn’t have had this unex­pect­ed per­for­mance with­out you.


Rod Dreher is a senior edi­tor at The Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive. He has writ­ten and edit­ed for the New York PostThe Dal­las Morn­ing NewsNation­al Review, the South Flori­da Sun-Sen­tinel, the Wash­ing­ton Times, and the Baton Rouge Advo­cate. Rod’s com­men­tary has been pub­lished in The Wall Street Jour­nalCom­men­tary, the Week­ly Stan­dard, Beliefnet, and Real Sim­ple, among oth­er pub­li­ca­tions, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three chil­dren. He has also writ­ten four books, The Lit­tle Way of Ruthie Lem­ingCrunchy ConsHow Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Bene­dict Option.