The Revolt of Blue Collar America
We will be pouring through exit poll data in the days ahead, but I want to give you just a few big picture observations of the tremendous political earthquake that took place [Tuesday] night. For veterans of the Reagan Revolution, it was deja vu all over again in many ways. What Donald Trump rode into office [Tuesday] was a tidal wave of heartland, blue collar families. For years they have been trying in every way they could to express their frustration at being left behind in this new world of open borders and globalism. No one would listen, including, sadly, many in the Republican establishment, which also fought Ronald Reagan tooth-and-nail.
We will be pouring through exit poll data in the days ahead, but I want to give you just a few big picture observations of the tremendous political earthquake that took place [Tuesday] night. For veterans of the Reagan Revolution, it was deja vu all over again in many ways.
What Donald Trump rode into office [Tuesday] was a tidal wave of heartland, blue collar families. For years they have been trying in every way they could to express their frustration at being left behind in this new world of open borders and globalism.
No one would listen, including, sadly, many in the Republican establishment, which also fought Ronald Reagan tooth-and-nail.
But Donald Trump heard these hurting citizens. And he vowed to be a champion for the “forgotten Americans.”
I knew something big was happening [Tuesday] when our contacts began reporting that there were historic lines of grim faced people casting their ballots, essentially trying one more time to get Washington’s attention.
Even Trump campaign staffers were stunned by the results they were seeing. Just consider these stats:
In Michigan, Trump won rural areas by a 57%-to-38% margin — up from Mitt Romney’s 53%-to-46%.
In Wisconsin, Trump won rural areas by 63%-to-34% — up from Romney’s 53%-to-46%.
In Pennsylvania, Trump won rural areas 71%-to-26% — up from Romney’s 59%-to-40%.
Victory For Values Voters
Here is another stunning fact: Donald Trump owes his victory in large part to historic participation by evangelicals. White evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump 81%-to-16% — exceeding the support George W. Bush received in 2004 by eight points! Trump also won the Catholic vote 52%-to-45%.
There is great irony in these results. There is a new, rising generation of evangelical leaders. Some of them, such as Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, have been very critical of people such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, myself and others who have attempted to work through the political process to defend our values and advance our goals.
My friends, I will be the first to admit that politics works differently than churches. But it does not mean that the two are mutually exclusive. That is the left’s view. It was the left that used the IRS to muzzle America’s pastors with the Johnson Amendment.
It is the left that constantly insists that our faith be checked at the church door. It is the left that insists that faith be purged from the public square. It is the left that is redefining the First Amendment to mean freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion. It is the left that is constantly redefining our biblical values as hatred and bigotry.
But that is not what our Founding Fathers believed or intended for America. Daniel Webster once said, “Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.” In a few days we will celebrate the fact that our country was founded by men and women of faith — the Pilgrims — who came to this land in search of religious freedom.
Many people expected evangelicals would forget about the issues and vote only on the character flaws of the two candidates, if they voted at all. But that is not what happened.
Donald Trump aggressively courted values voters. His first executive decision was to choose a strong evangelical Christian — Gov. Mike Pence — as his running mate. He promised to appoint pro-life justices. He vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment.
His outreach was not lost on Michael Wear, Obama’s former faith advisor. Wear tweeted, “…in this race only one of the two major party candidates even pretended to care about white evangelicals.” And evangelicals turned out in record numbers to support that candidate — President-elect Donald Trump!
The Reagan Coalition — working class Americans, conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians — once again proved what a powerful force it can be. If the GOP understands and appreciates this, it could be a governing majority for decades.
There is also great irony in the legacy of Barack Obama. The man who campaigned on hope and change is leaving behind massive debt, a stagnant economy, a broken healthcare scheme and a world in chaos. Far from the hope of uniting us, he advanced political correctness and divided us through identity politics.
But do not overlook the price the Democrat Party has paid. When Obama came into office, his party controlled super-majorities in the House and Senate.
But his party lost control of the House in 2010. It lost control of the Senate in 2014. Today Republicans hold the most governorships since 1922. Democrats lost hundreds of state legislative seats during the past eight years.
And [Tuesday] night, they lost the White House too.
Perhaps the most damaging legacy of all is that under Obama, the Democrat Party has become a party of extremism — pro-abortion extremism, environmental extremism, extreme attacks on the First and Second Amendments and cultural extremism, the party that wants to force our daughters to share bathrooms with boys.
Yes, there are tensions within the GOP. But as CNN’s Jake Tapper noted last night, the Democrats are worse off. Tapper said:
“We’ve been talking… about what’s going to happen to the Republican Party, and the bloodletting, and the infighting, and who’s going to lead the Republican Party and all that. Again, completely wrong. It’s the Democratic Party that’s going to have this fight.”
I confess to being frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s refusal to concede as [Tuesday] night’s results became clear. Rather than addressing her shocked supporters in person, she dispatched John Podesta around 2:00 a.m. to tell them to go home. Perhaps she was in no shape physically or psychologically to take the stage.
But Clinton finally conceded around noon today. She echoed Trump’s call for unity, saying, “We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Based on some headlines I am reading today, I fear she may be asking too much of many on the left. But for now, let’s hope for the best. Today we celebrate!
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