Commentary

Stephen Moore: Bad News for Progressives: It's Still a Conservative Country

By Stephen Moore | December 1, 2020 | 9:35am EST
The American flag swirls in the wind. (Photo credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
The American flag swirls in the wind. (Photo credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

It's not exactly clear how it happened. No one expected it, least of all the media and pollsters. But that promised big blue wave of Democratic victories across the country turned instead into a red tidal wave from coast to coast. Most progressive ballot issues in the states — from tax increases to racial preferences — also came crashing down.

A big reason for this turnaround in the election was the massive turnout for President Donald Trump on Election Day. The irony is that Trump's coattails pulled hundreds of Republicans over the goal line — but they didn't save him from an apparent razor-tight defeat.

So, how deep were the losses for the Democrats? In the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi thought her troops would gain 10 to 12 seats. Instead, they lost, at last count, nine.

But the real carnage was in the state houses. Hold on to your hats; here is the latest from our allies at the American Legislative Exchange Council. The GOP gained a total of 192 House and 40 Senate seats. Republicans flipped control of three chambers.

As a result of these big and improbable wins, Republicans now have majority control in both House and Senate chambers in 31 of 50 states. Democrats have control in only 18 states. That's a map of the USA that looks awfully red throughout middle America, with only the rusting Northeast and the West Coast colored blue.

What is truly stunning about this story is that Democrats and liberal/progressive donors (Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, et al.) poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the states to take over legislatures with unprecedented spending in Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The American Legislative Exchange Council president, Lisa Nelson, estimates that Democrats outspent Republicans "at least 3-to-1 in the states." And all they got was a lousy T-shirt.

Money just doesn't buy you love with voters.

Speaking of money, voters don't want politicians taking more of it from them. In Illinois, Colorado, and California, major tax hikes lost, and tax cuts were approved by voters. Racial preferences, rent control, and pro-union measures went down in flames in California — the cradle of progressive wacko ideas.

Even Democrats admit that their party's embrace of socialism was a major turnoff to voters. Rep. Abigail Spanberger from Virginia won her race, but she isn't a happy camper.

"We need to not ever use the words 'socialist' or 'socialism' ever again," she says. Democrats, she angrily continued, "lost good members because of that."

Of course, Republicans seemingly lost by a razor's edge the prize of the White House, which is a stinging defeat for conservatism. But no one in modern times has turned out voters like Donald J. Trump. Even USA Today admits that it was the big "Trump turnout" that swung state and local elections in a conservative direction.

If the Democrats govern as the party of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, they can expect even deeper losses in 2022. They may even suffer their ultimate nightmare, a return to the White House by Trump in 2024. Trumpism and putting America first are still alive and well.

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy."

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