Jim Furlong: The People Have Spoken

Jim Furlong: The People Have Spoken

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(Taken from the Nov 18-24 issue)

The political reality of the right wing movement known as “Trumpism” is alive and well. That was the big take-away from the midterm elections in the United States. The Democrats did take back control of the House, but the Senate still belongs to the Republicans. The GOP actually increased its Senate strength. 

Many of you were waiting for a great voter uprising in the midterms. Like many commentators I was waiting to announce that something has awakened in America. As you know I am a great proponent of the notion that “the electorate is always right.” That idea was severely tested when a thug like Donald Trump became President of the United States.

The Polls Were Right

Was this really the will of the people? Well two years into the Donald Trump hijacking of the Republican Party (the party of Lincoln) it appears to be so. 

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For a change, the polls were right. They predicted the Senate and the House accurately and left CNN muttering long into the night about there are still “votes on the table.” Key governors’ races between the two parties were a split. The long shot chances of the Dems in key Senate races didn’t pan out. 

So what happened? First of all the message of “Anyone but Trump” is a poor place to hang your hat as a political party. If you ask the question, “Who leads the Democrats?” there is no clear answer. If you ask the same question of the Republican Party then the answer is loud and clear; Donald Trump. 

Trump’s Appeal

This election was billed as a referendum on the Trump presidency. He certainly survived to the surprise of many, particularly the commentators of the left. That reflects something we don’t care to think about much. Trump’s appeal to fear and loathing in parts of the country appears to have worked. 

In the final days of the campaign he took to downgrading the booming American economy as an issue and focused instead on a caravan of refugees headed for the Mexican border. 

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He sent troops that weren’t needed to handle a march that was still a thousand miles off. That worked. His whirlwind tour of key states in the final days of the campaign also worked. His polarizing message on immigration and other issues appears to have found traction with the American electorate.

Voter Turnout High

Now the Democrats certainly did make gains in the House, but that is par for the course in a mid-term election. President Obama’s Democrats slipped badly in the midterms compared to Trump this time round. 

Here is the good news. Lots of people voted. Voter turnout was very high. President Trump’s antics turned out the Republican vote, but it also turned out the Democratic vote. There was no “blue wave” and America remains very much a country of the centre-right. That is allowed. The media (FOX excluded) may not be that way, but the people surely are. Are they right? Well you know the answer. The people are always right because they are the people.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: jfurlong@ntv.ca

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