Election Day has come and gone and now we can focus on the lessons and results other than the presidential race which is still too close to call.
First, money still does not always guarantee a victory. By some estimates, the Democrats spent $1 billion to try and unseat key Republican U.S. senators and except for two victories as John Hickenlooper prevailed in Colorado and Mark Kelly in Arizona – they lost every other race. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had an easy victory while U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Tom Tillis, R-NC, Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Steve Daines, R-Mont., kept their seats. In Alabama, Tommy Tuberville flipped the seat held by U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. While the Senate will stay in GOP control, though with probably a reduced margin, it will provide the appropriate check and balance that Americans like in a divided government.
Over on the U.S. House side, the popular idea that the Democrats would rollover weak GOP incumbents and build on their majority was proved wrong. It now appears that the GOP will win seven seats, picking up a net gain of five. Interestingly and unexpectedly, two of those flipped seats went to Republicans who beat what appeared to be solidly entrenched Democratic incumbents in Miami. In part, this could be perceived as a repudiation of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the most loathed woman in American politics. Though these results will not have a significant impact on how the House operates, they may be a warning sign that Americans want results and not obstinance.
Taken together, this represents a sea change from what the Mainstream Media, pollsters, political pundits, and their technocratic friends in Silicon Valley promised us would occur. What happened?
Polling got it wrong in a second straight presidential election and by an even wider margin this time. The alleged Blue Wave did not materialize anywhere in the country. President Donald Trump–who has been vilified, impeached and accused of every possible wrong that mankind has ever seen–may still get a second term. The media has only itself to blame. It originally created the mystique of Trump in 2015, only to fight him every inch of the way to the GOP nomination. Ever since with glee and over-the-top accusations that are never corroborated except by anonymous sources, the media has continued its efforts against the president, that’s before we even get to the fantasy of a Russian “connection” and conspiracy to put Trump in the White House.
Pollsters who claim that their polls are snapshots of a certain time frame are extrapolated by the media to suggest what the collective mindset is of America. They do not even know the basic things about America much less what we are thinking and how we will vote. Every major polling firm got it horribly wrong. From promoting the idea that Florida was indeed in play, that Wisconsin wanted Biden by 17 points more than Trump, that Pennsylvania was still favoring Biden after his fracking/oil and gas transition remark in the last presidential debate, that the supposed “Blue Wall” (which isn’t really a wall since Trump won two of the three states in the upper Midwest) was a backstop for “Sleepy Joe.” We might as well let Punxsutawney Phil be America’s new pollster because he certainly cannot do any worse than what we have now. Even FiveThirtyEight, an aggregation of national polls, got it wrong because it mistakenly put credit in the various discredited polls.
If Americans cannot trust polls anymore, what happens to that industry? Perhaps they could do something really useful like say polling pre-kindergartners on their favorite colors and if they really like their mothers?
Here in Florida, the clear election was the Florida Democratic Party which, once again, shot itself in the foot, drank the proverbial Kool-Aid and then went out and sat on its butt. The Florida Democrats can’t even win a state race anymore unless the candidate backs free pot for all; they can’t even get out the vote in sufficient numbers of Miami-Dade Democratic stalwarts like African-Americans, other minorities, and liberal whites who continue to flog themselves for their ancestors’ sins. If they cannot even produce a lopsided win in their most important county, what hope do the Democrats have for the future in Florida?
Democrats are boxed in because regardless of whether they put forth far left/progressive candidates like the flawed-Andrew Gillum (who, mind you, will be resurrected by the Democratic Party just like crack-smoking Marion Barry was in DC!) or more moderate candidates like Rod Smith or Jim Davis, they can’t get anyone ensconced in the Governor’s Mansion now for more than 20 years.
Not only are the Democrats fractured and uncoordinated, their party apparatus is also irretrievably broken. And a Bill Nelson-styled “task force” is not going to be able to paper over the severe and obvious problems anymore because Democratic elected officials cannot afford to sit by and see the party wither into even more irrelevance than currently. The Democrats cannot even agree on an election strategy on whether they should go-for-broke or husband their resources to win one battle at a time. This time around, the Democrats even had additional resources from rich liberal out-of-state funders to supplement their relatively meager fundraising–and they still could not score any wins. In fact, the Florida Democrats are looking more and more like U.S. Senate Republicans who refuse to come together for the party’s sake except for key judicial appointments.
This bodes especially ill for state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only remaining Democrat elected statewide, who is destined, in my opinion, to become a one-term wonder just like former state CFO Alex Sink, except that Alex had intelligence, generally solid political instincts and a reputation as a business leader, none of which accrue to Fried. Instead, Fried has a belligerent boyfriend who causes her to embarrass herself – and him – at a Florida resort, tries questionable antics at Florida Cabinet meetings (at least Sink knew how to play the game at Cabinet meetings) and the reputedly illegal increase of her net worth to the tune of $750,000 in one year which she has so far refused to explain. By the time she comes around to explaining that debacle, Fried will have shot herself in both feet!
On the other hand, the Republican Party of Florida, under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, continue to rack-up victory after victory. The collective experience that Republicans bring to the table and their ability to win, often in dramatic fashion, must be admired and respected. As we are constantly reminded, the Democrats have more registered voters in Florida than the GOP. What that particular statistic refuses to recognize is that there are many moderate and conservative Democrats, like me, who will vote for a Republican any time over a godless, defund the police, abortion even as the baby is being delivered, profit is a dirty word, hate our country, and disrespecting our flag and our military, Democrat.
Nationally, we are seeing another example of the ever-widening divide between urban and suburban voters on one side and rural voters on the other who have diametrically opposed ideologies. While rural folks tend to keep to themselves and do not loot and pillage, they go out of their way to vote, which is why our country is split down the middle. The illiberal Left must understand that their preoccupation with cancel culture, indoctrination of how to think and what is appropriate to say – political correctness – is not going to prevail because Americans came and founded our country by escaping tyranny, religious persecution and corruption. We are not about to let some millennials, academicians, the Mainstream Media and pollsters tell us what to do. We will rebel.
Barney Bishop III is a fiscally conservative Democrat who is a former Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party (1991-93). He is the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), commonly known as “The Voice of Florida Business,” and is now the President and CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC, a strategic public affairs firm in Tallahassee. He can be reached at Barney@BarneyBishop.com.