President Donald Trump has every right to contest the results of the 2020 election, and numerous irregularities deserve close examination. Yet the president’s window seems to be closing, and it would be prudent for conservatives to prepare for a Joe Biden presidency. Even if Trump ultimately loses, the 2020 election cloud has some very important silver linings conservatives should not miss.
First, and perhaps most important, Trump’s 2020 loss proved to be nothing like the landslide rebuke of Trumpism the Left and the Never Trumpers desired. Joe Biden seems to have gotten about 80 million votes, breaking the record for the most votes any presidential candidate ever received. Yet Trump also broke that record with nearly 74 million votes.
Trump lost narrowly in key swing states, he did not lose by the embarrassing margin that Democrats and the legacy media triumphantly predicted. In fact, former President Barack Obama called for more Big Tech censorship in order to fight conservative narratives because Trump stunned Obama and the legacy media by winning so many votes.
This may seem to be a moot point. Trump lost, so what does it matter if he lost by 6 million votes in a close race or if he lost by 20 million votes in a blowout? Either way, Biden will be taking up residence in the White House on January 20.
Yet Trump’s 74 million votes proved that the president’s message resonated despite the horrendous Big Tech and legacy media bias constantly employed against him. Trump faced backlash — much of it irrational — from academics, trade associations, leftist groups, the legacy media, and Big Tech, and still managed to break the record for the most votes ever received by a presidential candidate, coming in second only behind Joe Biden.
Of course, it would have been better if Trump had won, but these results are promising because another Republican might be able to build on Trump’s success without carrying some of the president’s baggage.
Trump’s 74 million votes also represented a rising and diverse coalition. The president won in heavily-Hispanic counties in Texas and he severely cut into Biden’s margin in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. The Republican Party is an increasingly racially-diverse party, which counters the Left’s narrative that it only appeals to old, white men. In fact, the one demographic where Trump lost votes was white men. Go figure.
Perhaps even more impressively, even though Trump appears to have lost the presidency, he had coat-tails, dragging many Republicans across the country across the finish line that he himself could not cross. Republicans won every U.S. House race that had been rated a “toss-up,” and they held on to 50 seats in the U.S. Senate.
These gains will help the GOP restrain Biden’s radical agenda even as Biden takes up residence in the White House.
Trump’s limited successes in the 2020 election should serve as a powerful rebuke to the Never Trump movement. While the president has his past moral failings and his overly aggressive tweets, he has proven himself a champion of conservative values on many key policy issues, and Republicans were right to come around and support him in 2020. In fact, a recent study suggested that if the legacy media had not worked to bury key stories about Biden’s corruption, Kamala Harris’s extreme ideology, and Trump’s successes, the president would have won reelection.
Trump has shaped the GOP, in many ways for the better. The Never Trumpers who hoped to come in and retake the Republican Party after Trump will be sorely disappointed. While the Republican Party arguably should have a different standard-bearer in 2024 (Trump himself will be older), that nominee and the party as a whole would be wise to learn from Trump’s successes and build on his America First vision.
In the meantime, Republicans need to focus their efforts on the two runoff elections in Georgia. If the GOP holds the Senate in 2021, it will be able to stop Biden’s ability to get radical Left proposals enshrined into American law. The fight continues, and we will need to work with Trump on that fight going forward.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.