Updated: Oct 18, 2021
In 2016, President Trump was elected on the basis that he would not return to business as usual and would “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption and gridlock. A resentful working-class, tired of broken promises by politicians, elected the reality television star Donald Trump. With the victory, Trump became the only president to ever be elected with no experience in politics, the military, or public service.
Despite Trump’s candidacy was often treated as a joke throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, but his populist message of ridding America of corrupt elite politicians clearly resonated with the American people; in fact, the three blue wall states of the rust belt that won him the presidency largely flipped to Trump’s column because of a fed up and tired working class that flocked over to the Republican side. Trump’s status as a populist candidate was a deviation from past Republican nominees such as Mitt Romney, who established themselves mostly as pro-business fiscal conservatives.
In retrospect, however, America appears to be tired of the near-constant commotion emerging from the Trump White House. From the Stormy Daniels Case to the Mueller investigation, to the Impeachment, the desensitizing nature of the Trump administration has, according to man, including Republicans, hurt America’s ability to progress. Trump’s defeats in Republican stronghold states such as Georgia and Arizona indicate that even those normally aligned to the GOP in all elections fell into the Biden column this election cycle simply because of the turbulent, corrupt, and dishonest nature of the incumbent administration. Therefore, at the polls, Americans chose to remove incumbent Trump.
It is incorrect to say, however, that the conservative principles of individual freedoms, limited government interference in the free market, and limits on how much the government spends are now out of fashion with Americans due to Trump’s loss. In fact, it is quite the opposite; despite surprising Biden victories in the aforementioned Republican states of Arizona and Georgia, Republicans gained a significant number of seats in the House of Representatives, only barely giving Democrats the majority (222/535 seats).
Furthermore, the “blue wave” in the Senate never occurred; in fact, Republicans already secured half of the Senate seats, meaning that even if the Democrats win both of the Georgia runoff Senate seats, there would not be a clear Democratic majority, though the tiebreaking vote would be Kamala Harris, who has a long history of supporting large government and left-wing policies.
Several are in agreement with this assessment. On NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, Senator Mitt Romney (R–UT) stated that the election results indicated a “mixed message” and that “people are saying that conservative principles still account for the majority of public opinion in our country but want a change in message and a change in leader.” Moreover, despite the fact that Biden won Georgia in the general election for the first time since President Bill Clinton’s landslide victory in 1992 several pundits anticipate at least one Republican victory in the Georgia runoffs (which would grant Republicans the majority for the fourth consecutive Congress). This is because a key demographic in Biden’s victory was moderate Georgian Republicans. These individuals found themselves disinterested in the continuation of Trumpian politics in Washington, but are still likely to flip back to their party for the runoff in order to keep a Democratic White House in check. This is especially probably considering that Democrats control the House of Representatives and that several of Biden’s goals, including the proposal for a budget that calls for 5.4 trillion dollars of new government spending in the next decade alone, are concerningly progressive. Were the Senate to be controlled by Democrats, a Democratic trifecta would ensue in the Federal government for at least the next years, allowing the party virtually unchecked power on policy affecting Americans on a daily basis. Although it is apparent that the Trumpian experiment was firmly rejected by the American people, it is evident that conservative values of a free market economy, limited government, and pro-business policy are here to stay.