Today’s the big day for presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Before the night is over, one of them will be the president elect, having secured the 270 electoral college votes nationwide needed to win the White House.
Should Hillary Clinton prevail, it will be because America chose to stick with the status quo of Democrats controlling the White House. If it’s Donald Trump, then it will be because the American people decided it was time for a change. It will tell us what voters decided to do, but not why.
One thing is clear, though, headed into Election Day. Donald Trump has dominated this race since the summer of 2015 when he announced his candidacy with a his simple but tough message against unbridled trade and illegal immigration.
Few gave Trump any chance whatsoever of even getting to this point. Statistician Nate Silver once predicted Trump had just a 5 percent chance of winning the nomination, let alone the presidency. Now Silver predicts Trump will win Ohio with a 65 percent likelihood based on the polls. Silver also has Trump losing the entire contest, but let’s focus on Ohio for a moment.
Ohio has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1964.
No Republican has ever been elected without winning Ohio.
So, a necessary prerequisite for any Republican candidate running for president is: Can he or she win Ohio? For Trump, the answer appears to be yes, something neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney can claim. And it’s because of his appeal on trade and immigration, issues that unite Republican and union households, key to winning the state. That the state is now trending for Trump underscores the failure of the Republican establishment and intelligentsia to see the value of a Trump candidacy earlier on.
With Trump’s strong opposition to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) even Clinton who once called the trade deal the “gold standard” found it necessary to nominally oppose it, even if she really means to go through with it in January.
Free trade Republicans for their part have largely gone into hiding this cycle, not campaigning on the issue, such that any attempt by GOP Congressional leadership to pass the trade deal in a lame duck session would put them firmly on the side of Clinton and Democrat globalists. It is a path fraught with political peril.
Watch Ohio closely.
With that play on Ohio, Trump has even tried to expand the electoral map into Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Can he beat Mitt Romney’s performance in these key states? If he does, then Tuesday could prove to be incredibly interesting and even surprising to many Americans not expecting a Trump win. But more so, it tells us that there is a new potential Republican coalition to be tapped into in future election cycles.
Thanks to Hillary Clinton — who if elected will implement the TPP and push for illegal immigration amnesty — Democrats are now the party of, in her words, “open trade and open borders.”
And the factors that led to Trump’s GOP nomination — slowing economic growth, dropping labor participation rates for working age adults, good jobs and production moving overseas and mass immigration taking other jobs away from Americans — are likely to be exacerbated under a Clinton presidency. These trends could crystallize with by 2020 two decades of irrefutable data showing American economic strength waning.
Getting the economy moving again is going to be hard no matter who wins the presidency. A recession, which averages once every 6 or 7 years, seems likely. If the policy response results in even more economic dislocation, broken communities and decline, the resentment among working Americans will only continue to build.
That is why, win or lose, Donald Trump’s movement is here to stay. In fact, Trump’s outreach to traditional Democrat constituencies today, like labor unions, could prove critical to the GOP’s very survival in coming election cycles. Trump’s message was one that promises jobs more than anything. What’s the argument against jobs?
So, while Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is predicting robots will soon be doing all of our jobs and that government will be providing Americans guaranteed universal income, everyone else will still be looking for a job and a way to feed their families. Automation and globalization, plus cheap labor, can provide many comforts and some cheaper goods, for sure, but if it comes at the cost of livelihoods and the standard of living in our communities, eventually the dam will break politically on these issues, Musk’s Star Trek utopia notwithstanding.
Today could be that day the tide turns. But even if it isn’t, what Trump’s challenge to that system — and Brexit, for that matter — tell us is that politically globalism’s days may be numbered. Something’s got to give.
If the model for the global economy cannot be sustained politically because for working Americans it could not be sustained economically, then it will not be sustained. That is, not without a fight. Donald Trump is merely a symptom of that reaction. Whether it is enough for him to win the presidency is up to you, but either way, the fight for independence from this global village has only just begun.