The Big Trump Tent
Win or lose, Donald Trump has remade the face of the Republican Party for the better.
It’ll be years before Donald Trump’s legacy is fully and accurately assessed; too many vital questions about its terminus remain. But we can already assess two of that legacy’s most consequential components.
The first of these is the way he reframed our impression of the mainstream media. If Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is worth its salt, the term “fake news” will find a home on its pages. No, President Donald Trump didn’t introduce the idea of media bias, but he certainly took awareness to new levels. He may have kept our nation out of costly and unnecessary wars, but he singlehandedly did battle with the media in a way that forced our Fourth Estate to utterly and permanently debase itself with its naked and relentless activism.
The ultimate expression of this debasement came in the final moments of the 2020 campaign, when our mainstream press and its Big Tech brethren conspired to ignore a bombshell story about the corruption and influence peddling of his opponent. Will the media attempt to one-up itself by categorically dismissing any claims by the Trump campaign of voter fraud in this election? Time will tell. But going forward, the mic-drop moment of many a political argument will now go something like this: Wait. You actually want me to believe something because you read it in The New York Times? LOL.
Such was the media’s suicidal war with our 45th president.
The second of these legacy-building beams may be even more important, though — and certainly so to the future of the Republican Party. We can call it the Trump Tent.
As Josh Hammer reports in the New York Post, “For four years now, Democrats and their media allies have tarred President Trump as a reprehensible white supremacist leading a dying party. The Trumpian, populist GOP, they claimed, was doomed to become a regional rump party, whose electoral prospects were tied to a shrinking share of bitter, downscale whites. … Team Trump and Republicans nationwide made unprecedented inroads with black and Hispanic voters. Nationally, preliminary numbers indicated that 26 percent of Trump’s voting share came from nonwhite voters — the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.”
How’d that “white supremacist” canard work out, anyway? According to exit polling, support for Trump rose among blacks, Asians, and Latinos. And not just a little. Trump’s support among black men stood at 18%, and his support among black women doubled from 2016 to 2020. (The actual numbers are probably higher, given the social risk attached to admitting one’s support for such a vile racist of a candidate.)
Trump’s support among Latinos certainly helped him in Florida, which he won convincingly despite the mainstream media’s unanimous predictions to the contrary. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Democrat-rich Miami-Dade County.
Perhaps most remarkable was the president’s turnaround performance in an obscure Texas border county. As National Review’s Mairead McArdle reports, “Trump won Zapata County 52-to-47 percent over Joe Biden. The president lost the county in 2016 by 32 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 65 percent. Zapata … has a 94.7 percent Hispanic population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Republican leaders in recent years, including the Trump campaign, have ramped up their efforts to appeal to Hispanic voters, which helped Trump capture Florida by more than 300,000 votes. … The president won the entire state of Texas by similar margins to Zapata, carrying the state by 52.3 percent to Biden’s 42.6 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting.”
What does all this mean for the future of the Republican Party? It depends on whether the party and its future candidates are willing to apply these lessons. Donald Trump worked hard to increase his share of the minority vote. And he did so not by getting distracted by and bogged down in phony discussions about race and identity. Instead, he continuously spoke to blacks, Latinos, and other minorities in kitchen-table terms. He delivered on economic policies favorable to this diverse audience, and he spoke to them about jobs, the economy, wages, trade, and the equal opportunity that all of us — black, brown, and white — have at pursuing the American Dream.
Trump has consistently emphasized this same economic message to blue-collar whites who had long been bound to the Democrat Party.
In short, Trump delivered a long-overdue message of economic inclusion — a message that broadened the Republican tent and helped bring him a whopping eight million more votes than any Republican candidate ever.
This is the legacy of the Trump Tent. It’s a legacy worth building on.