- - Sunday, November 8, 2020

Given Donald Trump’s huge record of kept promises, foreign and domestic, he should have coasted to a landslide last Tuesday. But his temperament may have cost him. That and vote fraud, beginning with Democratic judges rigging election procedures in battleground states like Pennsylvania.

With Republicans gaining seats in the House, it’s hard to believe that millions of Republican and independent voters split the ticket. Mr. Trump’s pugnacity was a factor, but someone without his New York, wise guy persona would have caved early to the open conspiracy against him even before he took office.

We’re talking most media, Hollywood, Twitter, Facebook, Google, the educational establishment, much of corporate America, Deep State elements within the FBI, and the Never Trumpers in the Republican Party. That’s a lot to take on, and Mr. Trump has the backbone others don’t, which is why a lot of people love him regardless of his more cringeworthy tweets.

A lot of people, including me, admire President Trump for his strength and willingness to forge ahead despite nonstop, vicious attacks. But with that strength might come an Achilles heel: Being so confident that you don’t bother to temper your tone.

Perhaps he thought that tax cuts, a roaring pre-COVID-19 economy, American energy independence, defense of life and religious liberty, cutting regulations, support for Israel, 200 good new federal judges, including three Supremes, backing the police and calling out China and Russia would be more than enough.

Maybe he thought nonstop rioting by Black Lives Matter and Antifa in major Democrat-run cities would sour millions of people on the Democratic Party.

And it did, to some extent. That was evidenced by the GOP’s gains in the House, apparent retention of the Senate majority and the historically strong Hispanic GOP vote, especially in Texas and Florida. So why did Mr. Trump struggle at all against a weak and declining opponent with a Marxist running mate licking her chops to take over the presidency?

The first debate may have hurt Mr. Trump more than we thought. He just needed to look presidential. Instead, he slugged it out with obviously biased moderator Chris Wallace and interrupted Mr. Biden constantly. Although Mr. Biden returned the favor, he also took time to look directly at the camera and address Americans at home — the real audience.

In the second debate, Mr. Trump exhibited far more patience and clearly won, exposing Mr. Biden’s lie about never promising to end fracking and also the Biden family’s lucrative ties to Communist China.

Mr. Trump prevailed in that one handily, but missed opportunities to bond with people who, like the ponytailed guy in 1992, needed a Bill Clinton-like virtual hug. Mr. Trump’s no teddy bear, we know. That’s a big part of his rugged appeal, but taking it down a notch wouldn’t have cost him any of his base and might have expanded it.

He also missed an opportunity on race. He ticked off a list of accomplishments such as record low Black unemployment and millions of dollars sent to Black colleges, and more. But he didn’t look into the camera and speak from the heart. He needed to confront, with some righteous anger, the false charge that he’s a racist.

Many people vote on emotion, not facts. I have a dear relative in Western Michigan who told me that a couple in her conservative church said they voted for Joe Biden, despite their pastor’s sermon in which he clearly laid out the views of the two parties — in their own words — on key moral issues, such as abortion and marriage.

The woman said she thought Mr. Biden was “nice,” unlike the rude Mr. Trump. They were especially impressed when Mr. Biden talked about people sitting around “the dinner table.” Good grief. Was it really that easy?

Maybe it was. An anti-Trump pastor ran billboards in heavily evangelical Kent County, Michigan, comparing Mr. Trump unfavorably to Jesus. The president’s vote there appears to have slipped by 2% from 2016, according to The Washington Times.

Many Americans are oblivious to Joe Biden’s mean streak, such as telling a Black audience that Republicans “gonna put y’all back in chains.” It’s no wonder; the media shamelessly act as censors, serving up Soviet-style propaganda: Mr. Biden, nice. Mr. Trump, racist.

We live in an odd age, with COVID-19 lockdowns and obscenely rich athletes and movie stars claiming racial victimhood. There is a madness loose in the land, a cancel culture fueled by a decades-long Marxist assault on the institutions that transmit cultural values — family, church, schools, entertainment and media. It shows up in elections.

Portland, Oregon’s Democratic officials yawned while their city was torn apart by more than 100 straight days of riots. Oregon voters nonetheless went big for Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats, and actually voted to legalize possession of hard drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and oxycodone. If you think “Portlandia” is weird now, wait till this takes hold. And they will somehow blame Mr. Trump if he is still in office.

Donald Trump may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s been a strong rudder trying to steer America away from the shoals of despondency. Not to mention the Cliffs of Insanity.

God willing, this wise guy will somehow get another term to see us through.

• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times. His website is roberthknight.com.

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