Death knell for Democrats?
There’s a lot of truth in that, even if it does not speak well about Americans’ ability to select an effective president. But despite that quadrennial truism, Moore was struck by something unusual surrounding this year’s election.
“I think the thing that made it different for me is the split at the top; people really, really believed in their candidate or they really believed the other one was unacceptable,” he said. “People truly internalized this election in a way we haven’t seen since maybe the Kennedy years, or in ’64 when you had Goldwater supporters who were crushed.”
Goldwater’s landslide loss to Lyndon Johnson saw Democrats retain the presidency and both chambers of Congress and was viewed by some as a death knell for the Republican Party. But four years later, Republicans won the presidency, and conditions were in place for the rise of Reagan not long after that. In other words, while many are readying a funeral pyre for Democrats this time around, the party is not as disheveled as it might seem.
“What’s unusual to me is in these battleground states it was really, really, really close,” Moore said. “A half-point here or there and we would have a President Clinton.” Trump won Michigan by about one-quarter of a percentage point; he won Pennsylvania and Florida by about 1 percentage point each. And while Clinton supporters like to point out that she won the national popular vote, Trump was correct when he wrote on Twitter: “If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are salving their wounds by suggesting that Bernie Sanders would have beaten Trump, clinging to polls conducted during the primaries. But Moore said: “He wasn’t tested in the primary. The numbers showing he would have won the general election, those weren’t true numbers.”
As the polls demonstrated right up to Election Day, there were a lot of numbers that were not true. And that will leave a lot of people wondering what happened for many years to come.