Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: Where We Are As a Country

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:02 am

Hi. It’s been a while. Summer visitors and events have taken me out of the daily writing routine. Over the long weekend, I tried to jump back in with this 5,000+ word screed.

One of the reasons I don’t write as regularly any more is that I find it boring to put up a link to whatever the latest story is, and then repeat whatever a person says about the latest story. Others are far better than I am at making breaking news posts interesting. I do best at long-form stuff, I think. If you’re going to spend a while reading a piece, I hope to leave you with a few nuggets you’d not heard before, or that might surprise you coming from me. I hope this is no exception. Among other things, one thing I do here is take us on a little trip down Memory Lane, to explore why Donald Trump may have been popular with people not that different from me:

At Allahpundit’s new home, The Dispatch, there is a wonderful limited-run series of podcasts hosted by Chris Stirewalt, the guy responsible for the Arizona call at Fox News on Election Night 2020, essentially conducting an autopsy of the Republican party that seized control of government in 2016 and gave it all away in four years. How in the hell did that happen? is the question that the podcast seeks to answer. I am still listening to the series, but so far I highly recommend the episodes where Stirewalt interviews Steve Kornacki and Matthew Continetti. Both commentators, along with Stirewalt, provided some real insight into the recent history of the conservative movement. They highlighted the concerns that the base had at the time of the Tea Party movement, and the way that the establishment GOP gave the base the back of its hand. This had real meaning for me, because I considered myself substantially in alignment with the base at that point in time, and I remember the anger at the way we seemed to be getting sold down the river, time and again — and the complicity of Big Media in helping to attack anyone who tried to stop the sale.

Do you remember? We had a president (Obama) who started his presidency by shoving what then seemed like a historically outrageous amount of government spending down our throats, and then gave us the first steps towards a government takeover of health care, in the form of Obamacare. When the Sarah Palins of the world warned that this could all be headed toward “death panels” — put simply, the government being in charge of critical decisions as to whether this person or that person would get expensive but potentially life-saving treatment — her concerns, which I and many others shared, were dismissed as rank propaganda. Then the GOP, in its wisdom, decided to nominate the one fella on earth who could not properly make the case that Obamacare posed a threat: Mitt Romney, who had signed a similar bill in his own state.

In the portion for paid subscribers, I address the failed District Attorney recall, and talk a little about the importance of independents:

But here’s the thing: I don’t think getting indicted for stealing Top Secret documents makes Trump more popular with independents. And this brings me to the other thing I learned from the Kornacki podcast: independents drive everything. The committed partisans on both sides are basically a balance in this country. Independents decide elections.

I don’t purport to be an expert at political analysis, but Kornacki is. Like many of you, I was under the impression that our recent elections — and 2016 in particular — were all about getting out the base. Independents didn’t matter as much anymore, or so I thought. Kornacki says that’s wrong. And he noted that independents broke for Trump in 2016! I was so surprised by that, I looked it up myself. Sure enough, the Pew Research Center says this about the 2016 presidential election results:

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