Thoughts on the 2020 election

I have been putting this off until more votes were counted, but here are my thoughts on the 2020 election here in Indiana, in Monroe County and for President.

In Indiana, a lot of people were expecting a different result in the governor’s race. Despite the fact that a lot of conservatives were unhappy with Eric Holcomb’s policies surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and there were longtime Republicans (including Republican elected officials) supporting Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater, Holcomb ran about even with the other two Republicans running statewide, Todd Rokita and Donald Trump. Rainwater did take votes, but not from Holcomb. He took votes from the Democratic candidate, Woody Myers. That even appeared to be the case in Monroe County, which is heavily Democratic. Here are the numbers for those races, statewide and locally:

President – Joe Biden (D)

  • Statewide – 1,242,413
  • Monroe County – 39,861

Governor – Woody Myers (D)

  • Statewide – 968,092
  • Monroe County – 33,033

Attorney General – Jonathan Weinzapfel (D)

  • Statewide – 1,229,624
  • Monroe County – 38,405

President – Donald Trump (R)

  • Statewide – 1,729,516
  • Monroe County – 22,071

Governor – Eric Holcomb (R)

  • Statewide – 1,706,724
  • Monroe County – 24,605

Attorney General – Todd Rokita (R)

  • Statewide – 1,721,995
  • Monroe County – 23,187

Governor – Donald Rainwater (L)

  • Statewide – 345,567
  • Monroe County – 4,885

Back in 2016, local Republicans ran significantly ahead of statewide Republican candidates. That was not nearly as pronounced this year. Judith Benckart was the highest Republican vote-getter in Monroe County, and Carl Lamb got about the same number of votes as the other Republicans on the ballot.

One race of interest was Congress. Andy Ruff, despite being from Bloomington and serving on the Bloomington City Council for 20 years, actually ran behind Biden and Weinzapfel in Monroe County while getting crushed across the rest of the Ninth District. Because of the demographics of southern Indiana, it is highly unlikely that any Democrat will win the Ninth District. They could shrink the gap if they stopped nominating people from Bloomington, which is a huge hurdle across the rest of the district.

Now on to the big one. There is no reason Donald Trump should have lost this election. Trump got over 10 million more votes than he did in 2016, while Barack Obama got fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008. But as I pointed out on Twitter, the big number is that 56% of people said they were better off today than they were four years ago. When Ronald Reagan asked if people were better off, he won a 49 state landslide. That was never going to happen with the nation much more polarized, but Trump should have won.

So what happened? Trump was personally toxic. He won despite his toxic personality and trolling on Twitter in 2016, not because of it. Trump’s needless trolling and personal vindictiveness energized and motivated the Democratic base. Joe Biden did not win the election as much as Donald Trump lost it – a reverse of the 2016 election. I kept hearing people claim they “like” Trump’s childish trolling on Twitter. Well, you must like Joe Biden as President too, because that is one reason he won.

One particularly stinging loss is Arizona, where the family of John McCain endorsed Biden. Had Trump not been so personally vindictive toward McCain even after the senator’s death, perhaps he would have won a state that was critical to his re-election hopes. Trump also needlessly alienated Jeff Flake, who voted with him the vast majority of the time. Flake also endorsed and campaigned for Biden.

There is only one person to blame for Donald Trump losing this election, and that is Donald Trump himself. He refused to be presidential or even professional. He constantly motivated Democrats to work against him with his childish desire to “own the libs.” We had an economic boom that was slowed only by an unprecedented global pandemic and dramatic peace deals in the Middle East. Many voters were worried by the more radical elements of the Democratic Party.

But Trump simply would not restrain his mouth. Had he been more disciplined and focused on policy instead of childish personality conflicts, Trump would have won this election. Instead, Trump could not get out of his own way and handed a perfectly winnable election to a terrible, uninspiring candidate.

Trump defeated Trump.