Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Betrayal is bad advice

Jerry Stratton, September 21, 2022

Trumpit: A trumpet over an American flag, with the link to hoboes.com/trumpit; Election 2016; President Donald Trump

A lot of the people who voted for Trump—and who campaign for Trump locally—are people who don’t normally vote. A lot of the pundits on the right don’t seem to understand this. They give it lip service but they don’t seem to either understand or care what that means going forward.

The reason these voters don’t normally vote is a simple cost-benefit analysis. They don’t believe their vote matters. If their vote doesn’t matter, why waste time voting? More importantly, why get invested in an outcome that is predetermined?

In 2016, Trump made an implicit promise—and probably an explicit promise occasionally, I don’t follow Trump’s speeches closely, and he is very outspoken. That promise was, come out and vote for me, and this time, your vote will count. In 2016, a few people took him up on that promise; he barely made good on it. In 2020, a lot more people took him up on that promise. Whether or not he failed depends a lot on what he does and what the Republican Party does going forward.

When I wrote in Who is Trump running against? that “Telling Trump to betray the voters is bad advice” these are the people who would be betrayed if Trump “moved on” from talking about fraud in 2020. The fraud to overcome his 2020 surge was in-your-face blatant. Fraud in 2020 was so blatant that it provided us an opportunity to reform the voting process and vastly reduce fraud going forward.

More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to acknowledge to people who believe their vote doesn’t matter that they were right, that we hear them, and that we’re doing something about it. The press and the beltway would very much like to stifle that conversation. If we want to keep those voters engaged and voting, we must not give in to that stifling. We must acknowledge that fraud exists and we must not let the press and the beltway get away with their national forgetting. Trump especially needs to both keep that conversation going and continue pressuring states to reform their voting processes.

If, instead, Trump “moves on”, these people will go back to complaining that their vote doesn’t matter. And it will be far more difficult to convince them otherwise in the future because they will remember what happened in the middle of the night between November 3 and November 4, 2020. They will remember that rather than fixing a system that encourages blatant fraud, everyone who could do anything about it just… moved on.

If Trump betrays these voters, he will lose in 2024. For the beltway, of course, that’s a victory. For the non-beltway right advising Trump to move on, it is not a victory. But come the morning of November 6, 2024, those seemingly well-intentioned advisors will look at Trump’s loss, sadly shake their heads, and tell us that obviously Trump was not the right man for the job.

And they’ll be right. He won’t have been the right man because he took their advice and moved on from the new voters who supported him in 2016 and 2020.

Once these one- and two-time voters go home, it won’t matter to them who takes Trump’s place. They know their vote doesn’t matter, so what does it matter who the predetermined loser is? To paraphrase the old joke about prostitutes, we’ll have already established that their vote doesn’t matter, so why should they care if the candidate it doesn’t matter for is a DeSantis or an Abbott or some generic next-Bush-in-line?

Betrayal is bad advice for any politician; it is especially bad for a politician who hopes to encourage wider participation by opposing the beltway swamp.

In response to Election 2024: Positioning for election 2024 is already started; the campaign will heat up very quickly after November 2022.

  1. <- Trump’s true opponent
  2. NYC Corruption Roundup ->