That was the year we had a choice of a historically bad (Hillary Clinton) and even worse (Donald Trump) candidate for president. Both finished the race with the worst unfavorable ratings of any candidates since Gallop started tracking in 1956. Clinton finished at 52% and Trump at 61%.
Democrats whined about Clinton, how unlikeable she was and how she wasn’t Obama. Instead of holding their nose and voting for her, Democrats stayed home, switched their vote, or went with Trump. How bad was it? Clinton not only underperformed Obama in 33 states, but she received nearly 434,000 fewer votes than Obama in Ohio and about 296,000 fewer in Michigan.
Republicans not only held their nose but put on gas masks and flame-retardant suits and rallied around Trump. He won more electoral votes (306-232) but lost the popular vote by 2.8 million. That’s your fault, too, Democrats. Clinton lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,748 votes. She wins those states and she’s president.
Instead, Democrats stayed home.
With the Federalist Society and Mitch McConnell at the helm, Republicans remade the federal courts and the Supreme Court. McConnell, in a ruthless display of authoritarianism, refused to let Obama bring Merrick Garland’s name up for a Supreme Court vacancy — even though Obama had 18 months left in his term — and slammed through Amy Coney Barret in record time.
Remember this is the guy who said, in justifying holding on to Garland’s nomination, that “the public should decide” who the president should nominate as justice — even though there were more than two years left in Obama’s term.
And now, we have a court that appears ready to take a blowtorch to Roe, with a draft signed by all three of Trump’s nominees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a statement, said if the draft holds true, Gorsuch’s and Kavanagh’s actions would be “inconsistent” with what the justices told her. Barret never answered how she viewed Roe during her confirmation hearing, which gave anyone paying attention a clue of how she’d vote.
So yes, Democrats are furious that existing Supreme Court justices say one thing and look like they’ll do another (I’ll let you determine if they’re lying or engaging in self-serving opportunism). They claim that this will unite Democrats for the midterms in November.
They’re dreaming. People are worried about the higher costs of gas and groceries, not Roe. We already see the roadmap to defeat here in Ohio. Twice as many Republicans turned for the May primaries than Democrats.
What will happen in Ohio? Democrats will stay home and whine when their candidates lose.
Republicans realize they should lose more elections, especially national ones than they do. The people they placate — far-right evangelicals and the ultra-conservative — are outside the mainstream on issues like abortion, race, and same-sex marriage.
But they vote, and they’re loyal. If you have an ‘R’ next to your name and say you believe in what they do, they will come out in force. That’s why Trump received the highest vote totals of any Republican presidential candidate in history. He has people who will vote for him no matter what, and that’s why he’s the likely 2024 Republican nominee if he wants it.
Democrats came out in force once, in 2020, when Joe Biden received a record 81.3 million votes — and he still won by a whisker in several Midwest states. If Democrats want to win, they have to marshal that type of enthusiasm in every race.
Chances are, they’ll just whine. And if that’s the case, get ready for Republicans in power for a very long time.
Ray Marcano is a long-time journalist whose column appears on these pages each week. He can be reached at email@example.com.