November 9, 2016

USA: The Reagan Democrats Have Returned To The Republicans - Handing The Party Unprecedented Power And Helping To Elect Our 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump.

The Telegraph, UK
written by John Bolton, Former US Ambassador to the UN
Wednesday November 9, 2016

You could feel the incredulity spreading throughout the media as it became increasingly clear that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. You could feel the stunned reaction even in the Fox studio in New York, where I spent election night (and early morning). Trump supporters and opponents alike across the country had all read the same pre-election opinion polls. No one believed that the surveys could be so wrong.

They were.

Not only did Trump win, but Republicans kept control of the Senate, apparently losing only one seat, something that had seemed almost as impossible as Trump himself prevailing. The House of Representatives also remained in Republican hands, makes it a clean sweep: President-elect Trump has working majorities in both Houses of Congress.

Republicans concerned by his personal behavior who had spurned Trump came home in the days before the election, more concerned about Hillary Clinton’s honesty and integrity. For example, the most-discussed voter group of this election, college-educated white females, were seen as representing all the reasons Trump couldn’t possibly win.

Long staunch Republican voters, neuralgic about Trump and attracted by electing America’s first female President, split almost evenly. Ultimately, enough Republicans, male and female of whatever educational level, couldn’t stomach Clinton.

Potentially even more significant longer-term, Democrats and independent voters surged to Trump. This kind of switch to the Republican Party, largely of white, working-class voters is not entirely without precedent. These are, historically the “Reagan Democrats,” who gave Ronald Reagan a similarly stunning election result in 1980, and a massive landslide re-election in 1984.

They had, post-Reagan, substantially drifted back to their Democratic roots or withdraw from politics entirely. The blue-blooded Bushes did not inspire them, and Mitt Romney left them cold. Trump brought them back.

The anticipated bloodbath among Republicans, widely expected after Trump’s defeat, will be postponed, perhaps forever. Undoubtedly, there will be policy battles over the direction of a Trump Administration, but they will be far more muted than some were forecasting before the unbelievable election-night results rolled in.

In reality, Trump, by the end of the campaign, had positioned himself well within the mainstream of Republican thinking on both domestic and national-security issues. And the Senate and House Republican majorities are overwhelmingly conservative in a thoroughly conventional way.

Financial markets nonetheless immediately turned south on the news of Trump’s victory, reflecting the astounding news. Key financial decision makers -- and their supposedly objective algorithms -- were on the verge of melting down because the voters had come to such a surprising, unexpected conclusion.

In many respects, the markets’ swoon mirrored what happened after the Brexit referendum on June 23. The tribal conventional wisdom of the financial elites, like the media elites, like the political elites, and like the cultural elites could not comprehend what the non-elites were up to. The elites will now have four years to figure it out. Good luck to them.

Politically, the Democratic Party is now a shambles, which may be Barack Obama’s most lasting legacy. Democrats have lost not only the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. government, but almost certainly the Judicial branch as well.

There is a key Supreme Court vacancy now existing, and possibly one or two more during the next four years. Literally hundreds of lower Federal trial and appellate court judges will now be determined by those who believe in interpreting the Constitution as the Framers intended, rather than rewriting it according to contemporary liberal whims.

Internationally, we can expect the initial reaction to mirror that of the financial markets. There is an inherent “conservatism” among diplomats that prizes foreign leaders and factions they know rather than those they do not, even if what they know is not always to their taste.

But there is no need for panic, for the inherent stability of the U.S. political system and the Republican Party means that Trump’s foreign policy will not be far different from what any of the sixteen other Republican contenders would have brought to the Oval Office.

America’s presidential transition (the period between November 8 and January 20, 2017) seems long to foreign observers but incredibly short to Americans who realize the extraordinary amount of work an incoming President must do. And the tasks in this impending transition are undoubtedly the greatest since Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter in 1981. There are hundreds of senior positions to be filled, innumerable policies to be elaborated, and the opening months of a new Administration to be planned.

Financial markets, foreign diplomats, friends and adversaries of America should all take a deep breath and let the transition unfold.

The United States is the greatest free government in mankind’s history. It has always placed its faith on citizens ruling themselves. All those who doubt Tuesday’s result should contemplate the alternatives before elevating their prejudices over the judgment of the American people.

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