Former President Trump has held a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics Average of the polls since around September 11. While his lead is well within the margin of error, Democrats find it disconcerting that Biden is struggling against Trump. They have unceasingly berated, twice impeached, and four times indicted Trump, yet his support has grown. But Democrats shouldn’t be surprised. In important respects, Trump has them to thank for the strength of his support.
There are always a lot of moving pieces in an election and it’s early, but Trump’s current support basically comes from three groups: Those who know, love, and miss him; those who may not miss him but miss 2019’s peace and prosperity; and those who believe Democrats are corrupting our justice system to persecute a political opponent. Since 2020, Democrats have solidified support for Trump with the first two groups to the point where you have to wonder whether it was intentional – and then they literally created the third group.
Democrats have made no effort to convert the Trump diehards – flyover country conservatives who hold traditional views of God, country, and family. Among other derogatory references, Biden has berated these voters as “an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: the MAGA movement.” That would be all those flag-waving Americans at Trump rallies.
After deriding Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” in 2016, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently doubled down, calling them “cult members” who may require “a formal deprogramming.”
Suffice it to say, these voters aren’t going anywhere. They have nowhere to go.
And who doesn’t miss 2019’s low inflation, low interest rates, low unemployment, secure border, urban calm, peace breaking out in the Middle East, and no one seriously contemplating World War III. You get nostalgic just thinking about it. The pandemic paused the momentum, but we could have returned to pre-pandemic levels of peace and prosperity when it ended. In fact, at the end of Trump’s term in office, the economy was poised for a major recovery.
But the Biden administration’s excessive spending, anti-U.S. energy policies, lax border security, and utterly incompetent foreign policy rapidly put an end to all that. You can’t really blame people for wanting a return to the days when lower taxes, reduced regulation, a focus on domestic energy production, and a strong – and competent – foreign policy led to both peace and prosperity. The Democrats have made it patently obvious that those are not their policies – they were Trump’s.
While Democrats deserve significant credit for Trump’s strength with the first two groups of voters, they deserve all the credit for the third. This group only exists because Democrats are prosecuting a political opponent for blatantly political reasons.
No president or former president was ever indicted until this pre-election year when four separate Democrat prosecutors targeted and brought charges of questionable validity against a former president – who also happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president. While experts from both parties have questioned the legal gymnastics employed to pursue these charges, polling indicates that the American people can see through this thin veneer of legitimacy on their own. They know no Democrat would have been criminally charged for what the Democrats claim Trump did. In fact, none have been.
There’s a 24-minute YouTube video of Democrats denying election results without fear of prosecution.
President Biden had top secret documents from his time as VP – which he had no right to possess – sitting in his garage (and elsewhere) without fear of prosecution.
Hillary Clinton’s staff used a software program called “BleachBit,” to wipe data from her computer server containing thousands of government emails she had no right to possess – including top secret emails. FBI Director James Comey said at the time that “[w]hile there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” Voters may well wonder whether the rules of reason have changed.
In perhaps the most absurd case, a Trump-hating New York prosecutor, who ran on a promise to target him, is threatening to destroy Trump’s family business for allegedly overstating the value of assets to obtain loans. It is undisputed that the loans were never in default, were paid off in full, and that no lenders have complained they were misled.
Of course they haven’t. Any American who has purchased a home knows it doesn’t matter what you tell the lender you think the home is worth. Banks don’t lend based on the borrower’s assessment of an asset’s value. Banks do an independent appraisal and lend based on their own appraisal.
You don’t have to find Trump a sympathetic figure to know that sacrificing the legitimacy of our judicial system to destroy a political opponent threatens what Biden called “the basic beliefs of our democracy.”
This obvious abuse has also solidified support among Trump’s other supporters, dissuading them from switching to other primary candidate. Some see this as the Democrats’ plan to strengthen Trump in the primaries because they believe he is the candidate they can beat. Personally, I believe the Democrats are driven more by blind hatred at this point than reason. But, if that is their plan, it’s a risky one.
Keep in mind that we elect presidents through the electoral college, not by popular vote. Democrat voters are concentrated in heavily populated urban areas in blue states, driving up the percentage of Democrat votes in those states. But winning 51% of a state’s popular vote produces no more electoral college votes than winning 100%, as losing presidential candidates – but popular vote victors – Al Gore and Hillary Clinton can attest.
So, a tie in the popular vote (as reflected in the current polling) augurs well for Trump’s chances. Combining Trump diehards and those nostalgic for 2019 with voters repulsed by political persecution just might be enough to reelect our 45th president as our 47th. If so, we’ll have some overreaching Democrat prosecutors to thank.
Andrew F. Puzder is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. and a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.