I’ll preface this by reminding readers that, in various posts in the past, I have described Donald Trump as a buffoon and as a “foul SOB.” In spite of that, I encouraged you to vote for him as I did for one reason: his stands on illegal immigration and trade align well with the conclusions of my book, Five Short Blasts. To very briefly summarize, there is an unrecognized (by economists) inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption which has two major implications – that population growth beyond a certain level becomes a cancerous growth that eats away the economy, and that free trade with badly overpopulated nations accelerates this effect dramatically. The effect of these on our economy is so over-riding that these issues dwarf all others. I would vote for any candidate – Republican, Democrat or Independent – whose positions address these issues.
With that said, the following are some random thoughts on what happened in this election:
- Any party that focuses only on minorities and ignores the majority is doomed to fail. The Democratic Party did exactly that, taking its historical support from working-class Americans for granted and ignoring them and polling data that consistently showed their deep concern about the direction of the country.
- The Republican Party has also blundered in its strategy of making itself indistinguishable from Democrats, particularly when it comes to the key issues of trade and immigration, contenting itself with splitting the vote while hoping to sway a small 0.5% toward their side. Were it not for the fact that Trump – not a true Republican – chose to identify himself as one and to fight tooth and nail to prevail against their slate of traditional Republicans – the Republican party would have lost this election.
- This election was all about a rejection of the globalism and open borders that both parties embraced. I don’t think either party, even now, fully understands this. Whichever party embraces a new strategy and platform based on our nation’s right of self-determination will succeed going forward.
- Though it pains me to quote him, Bill Clinton said it best in the ’91 election: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Indeed it is, and not necessarily the macro-economy but each individual’s own share of the economy. Only when the vast majority of Americans are enjoying the fruits of a healthy economy can other issues like the environment take center stage. Both parties ignored the polling data that showed the country was headed in the wrong direction and that voters were fed up with their politicians. The Obama administration chose to fool itself with gimmicked economic data. Few voters were fooled.
- Clinton erred when she tried to portray Trump’s position on illegal immigration as racist and xenophobic. Illegal immigration is a concern for all Americans and it’s a mistake to believe that Hispanic Americans would uniformly embrace it just because most illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Many have been here a long time now and identify themselves as Americans first, just as I identify myself as American and not Irish. As I said in Five Short Blasts, I wouldn’t care if it was Ireland that we shared a border with instead of Mexico. Illegal immigration has to be stopped. The Democrats were shocked to learn that nearly 30% of Hispanics voted for Trump. Many were insulted by the assumption that they favor illegal immigration over the interests of their own country just because of their ancestry. The Clinton campaign was no less guilty of stereotyping Hispanics than Trump was perceived to be.
- The Democrats are almost as guilty of taking the black vote for granted as they were of taking white working-class voters for granted. Trump made a play for the black vote. It was criticized as a clumsy attempt, but he made a very valid point, that the inner cities seem to be little better off and have little to show for their support for the Democratic party. Trump correctly pointed out that his trade policies aimed at rebuilding the manufacturing sector of the economy would, if anything, benefit the black community even more than the white community. Well, it didn’t seem to resonate that much, though Clinton got a little less of the black vote than Obama did. But Trump has laid down a marker for the black community. They may have been skeptical of what he said, but they’ll likely remember if, in fact, a manufacturing turn-around produces a renaissance in the inner cities. Democrats, beware.
- The Clinton campaign’s mantra was that “when they go low, we go high!” Yet, in the final days of the campaign, they did just the opposite. They took the worst, most crude elements of the campaign and bundled them into commercials. The commercials criticized Trump for things not fit for our children to hear, yet the Clinton campaign had no problem with bombarding our children with those things incessantly on prime time television – even during the World Series. It came across as very two-faced and, if anything, made Clinton seem more of a sleeze-bag than Trump.
- Meanwhile, the commercials aired by the Trump campaign in the last couple of weeks were very positive. There was one commercial that took on globalism and the globalist elites who profited at the expense of everyone else. It was a dynamite, highly-effective commercial that should have begun airing sooner and should have aired far more often. But I saw it only once (and I watch a fair amount of television in the evenings). What happened to it?
- Along those same lines, the Clinton campaign held a concert that head-lined Beyonce and Jay Z. While some fawn over this couple, many people are offended by the lewd “twerking” of Beyonce and the filthy and racist (the “n” word) lyrics of Jay Z. This isn’t a racist observation. I personally find Miley Cyrus to be just as offensive. Clinton’s condoning of these lyrics destroyed her credibility when criticizing Trump. The concert was a dumb move. What purpose did it serve? Did she really think that Beyonce and Jay Z would swing undecided voters to their camp?
- The spending by the Clinton campaign dwarfed that of the Trump campaign, to no avail. It’s not the first time we’ve seen such an outcome. It demonstrates once again that it only takes a lot of money to sell lousy products, and good products sell themselves. For all the concern about big money in politics, maybe it doesn’t really have that much of an effect. So, hey big donors, if you want to waste your money, you’re perfectly welcome to plow it back into our economy through the ad agencies. Either way, the money is now out of your accounts and into the hands of people who need it more. Thanks!
Up next: some thoughts about the challenges facing Trump and what it means for the world going forward.