- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In my Washington Times column in mid-April, I noted that 50-60 percent of eligible American voters never vote, even for president. I also commented that, if any person or movement could mobilize these silent voters, they could dominate American politics. Finally, after researching previous elections, I concluded that it couldn’t be done, even by Donald Trump.

I may have been wrong.

If the primary votes of Mr. Trump and Sen. Bernard Sanders are combined, they represent 25 million votes, or about 19 percent of the votes in the 2012 presidential election. New York Times’ Nate Cohn, in a lengthy June 9, 2016 article, adds some very interesting new analysis of the so-called “white vote”. He cites research which indicates that the exit polling, which has been the basis of the demographic analysis of all recent elections, is in fact unreliable in reporting the racial, age, education, and ethnic identities of voters.

His conclusion is that “These [new] sources show that the 2012 electorate was far whiter, older and less educated than the exit polls indicate.” This means that the segment of voters who are white, over age 45, and without a college degree was 30 percent of the 2012 electorate, meaning about ten million more votes than previously thought. Another finding was that the ethnic/racial mix, which has routinely been credited with President Obama’s re-election, was less significant than we thought.

None of this should be terribly surprising since the 2010 U.S. Census showed the white population of the United States to be 72 percent, or 75 percent when mixed race whites are included. In fact, updated estimates show 79.96 percent of Americans identify themselves as white.

Those analysts who see the Obama presidency as the triumph of non-white America are the only commentators who would be shocked at this finding. In reality, the most shocking thing about this analysis is that it comes from the pre-eminent advocate of the liberal agenda, the New York Times itself. The bottom line seems to be that President Obama owes his electoral success to white voters outside the South without whom he would not have beat Mitt Romney by 5 million votes.

The interesting twist to the Times story is that Mr. Cohn proceeds to the conclusion that Mr. Trump now has a visible (to Mr. Cohn at least) path to victory in the coming contest. To win, says Mr. Cohn, he must enlist the support of older, white, less educated voters in the upper Midwest. Mr. Cohn expresses doubts that Trump can succeed at this challenge, but at least he now has a shot.

The underlying thesis of this conclusion is that the Trump constituency is predominantly white, older and less educated. This snobbery is characteristic of the entire liberal press. First, they predicted that Mr. Trump could not capture the Republican nomination. When he did, they predicted that he will lose in November. They explain his success by assuming that he is a racist, and that the minority races plus sophisticated whites will defeat him in the election. So, the only way he can win is by getting all the white racists in the country to vote for him. This analysis is so much poppycock.

In my column cited above, I pointed out that there is a difference between the message and the messenger. The message is fundamentally economic. America must live within its means, guard its industrial base, remove the incredible new regulations on American business, lower taxes, and spur the Gross Domestic Product to 4 percent to 5 percent annual growth.

The Washington-oriented press and pundits simply cannot comprehend the appeal of this message. The messenger has so offended them by his challenge to their power that they cannot distinguish between the message and the messenger. But much of Mr. Trump’s appeal has been that he talks and thinks like the 50 percent of the non-voting public which is treated with disdain by the elite. His fifteen million votes in the primaries appear to include many of this silent majority.

But his appeal is much broader. To legal immigrants who have won their place in American society the hard way, to small business owners who are having to fire people because of Obamacare, minimum wage demands and high taxes, to parents who fear for the safety of their children at school, to the millions of women entrepreneurs who start more businesses than men, and to religious organizations who fume at political correctness running amok – to all these voters, Trump’s message has undeniable appeal.

These are not matters which are determined by race or ethnicity. In spite of the prevailing liberal doctrine, race is not the central issue of American history. Central to American identity is freedom. And the center of freedom is economic freedom, the freedom to reach beyond birth or status to whatever rewards can be earned by individual talent and effort. Donald Trump knows this, even if the elite do not.

Granted, the message needs honing, summarizing, and sharpening, but it is a message which can win back the middle class and provide a course correction for America’s future.

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