The mainstream media began circling the wagons even as the votes were being counted on Tuesday. CNN’s Jake Tapper saw what was happening early and began telling viewers that all that talk about a Biden “landslide” was “always a pipe dream.” By Thursday, The Washington Post was beginning what most would view as the Herculean task of rehabilitating the pollsters whose predictions they had been citing to predict the very landslide Mr. Tapper was now dismissing as “a pipe dream.”
Nate Silver, the liberals’ odds-maker-in-chief, had been predicting that it was basically all over long before the votes were counted. Just prior to Election Day he said the “data” gave Joe Biden a 90% chance of winning. His acolytes were predicting not only that the former vice president would sweep President Trump from office, but that a massive “Blue Wave” would give Democrats control of the Senate and allow them to increase and further consolidate their control of the House. The Washington Post reported a week before the election that Mr. Biden was leading Mr. Trump in Wisconsin by 17 points, and CNN gloated that same week that Mr. Biden had an 11-point popular vote lead nationally.
They were gleeful and hardly contained themselves as they predicted the demise of the hated GOP as visions of 1964 and 1974 danced in their heads.
Oh, there were a few spoil-sports out there suggesting that pollsters had learned little if anything from their failure four years earlier, but their betters dismissed them as third-raters or in the bag for Mr. Trump. They knew from the “data” that Democrats would beat Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina and that Texas was a toss-up within reach of the Biden campaign. Mr. Biden’s people and Democratic strategists obviously believed their pollsters as they poured tens of millions of dollars into states they insisted they could flip.
Following the 2016 elections, Democrats and progressives decided they had to try to understand rather than simply demonize the folks who living outside their urban oases. The deplorables who had inexplicably rejected Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump were a mystery they knew they had to figure out to return to power. Democrats even organized what one called “safaris” to flyover country to see what might be going on out there. The effort was short-lived, however, as they opted instead to simply attack the new president as Vladimir Putin’s racist, traitorous stooge rather than to try to come to grips with the problems and feelings of those drawn to an outsider’s message.
To them, Mr. Trump was a dangerous, racist buffoon and before long they convinced themselves that even those under-educated “deplorables” they just could not understand shared their views. They managed to persuade themselves and those living with them in the bubble they inhabited that impeachment, embarrassing the president and calling him names would make them popular with a public they believed just had to share their opinions, News outlets from MSNBC to PBS and from The Washington Post to The New York Times carried report after report detailing their view that rural, small-town voters, farmers and miners were discovering that Mr. Trump hadn’t delivered for them and would abandon him this year.
All this collapsed on Election Day. Mr. Trump’s base hadn’t vanished; indeed, one was hard pressed to find a voter who had supported him four years ago who wasn’t ready to vote for him again. As the votes were being counted, the “pipe dream” was revealed to be either just that or something far more sinister; an attempt by anti-Trump progressives in the media and elsewhere to suppress the Trump vote. It didn’t work and they were shocked to learn that the man they had spent so much time demonizing as a racist got more non-White votes than any Republican in 60 years.
In the end, their favored candidate, Joe Biden, may win the White House in a squeaker because we still live in an evenly divided nation, but Republicans held the Senate, increased their strength in the House and even netted a new governor and held or even increased their hold on state houses across the country. Voters denied progressives the unified government they sought in an election that will leave at least half of the nation’s voters feeling cheated, the media and the pollsters who cook the books for them with virtually no credibility and progressive billionaires who made this the most expensive election in U.S. history wondering what they got for their money.
If the pollsters had been right and liberals had run the table, the progressive dream of remaking the country and the U.S. Supreme Court would have been in reach. But as various news organizations began reporting just a few days after the election, Democrats are revising the Biden transition plan and wish list as it belatedly dawns on them that their “pipe dream” was little more than that.
• David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.
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