Analysis: Where was the Biden wave?

By Ed Condon for CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 4, 2020 / 02:40 pm (CNA).- The Tuesday night election result, or lack thereof, confounded the many confident predictions of a “Blue Wave” that was expected to sweep Joe Biden into the White House. It also suggests his pitch to Catholics and other conservative values voters failed to convince.

While either side will take a win in any form, the end result of this race will not resemble predictions that put Joe Biden on course to win comfortably more than 300 electoral college seats.

So, what happened?

Many have noted Trump’s focus on repeating a narrow win in the Electoral College, and making little if any attempt to secure a popular mandate. Analysts said that Trump focused on base turnout and spoke to “his” side of the country exclusively. They contrasted that approach with Biden’s strategy, which framed itself as an ecumenical bid for votes, aimed at capturing much of the working class, Midwestern, and religious vote that delivered for Trump four years ago.

But as results run close across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, how open was Biden’s party to wavering Trump supporters, really?

During the Democratic primary race, the former vice president tried to pitch himself as a moderate candidate, a moderating voice in a party associated with ever-more stridently progressive positions, especially on abortion and religious freedom.

But despite campaign efforts to portray Biden as an anchor of centrism for the Democrats, it seems many voters in key states saw him as more captive than captain of his party’s agenda — an agenda for which far fewer voters than expected agreed to come aboard, especially in key states.

The last four years have seen the Democratic Party move to an extreme edge of pro-abortion politics, adopting radical laws in New York which – though celebrated by party leaders – were well outside the spectrum of public opinion, even among self-described pro-choice Democrats.

After Virginia governor Ralph Northam suggested that he favored laws permitting abortion even until labor, and even extending to neonatal infanticide, several states passed fetal heartbeat laws that set an early limit on when abortions could take place.

Meanwhile, House Democrats moved repeatedly to block passage of the Born Alive Abortion Survivor Protection bill, and primary candidates insisted that support for abortion is a non-negotiable condition for leading the Democratic Party.

Rather than drag his party closer to where most voters actually are on abortion, Biden moved to the left during the Democratic primary and stayed there, embracing calls to repeal the Hyde amendment and to carve the full extent of Roe v. Wade into federal law.

While many Democrats, including some Catholics like Biden, urged pro-life voters to look beyond abortion as a single issue, the message seemed to be that fundamental concerns about life and the rights of the unborn were not up for discussion at all. Pro-life Democrats were told, more than once this election cycle, there was no room for them at the table.

Similarly, while a majority of Americans, even American Catholics, indicate their acceptance of same-sex unions in civil law, Biden embraced the far more radical — and far less popular — agenda of the Equality Act, which would place so-called gender identity in the same protected class as race and sex and above established religious freedom protections.

Moderate voters looking for a party offering a live-and-let-live cultural agenda seem to have found little enthusiasm for Biden’s promise to support a law which would force Catholic schools to allow male students into female bathrooms and sports teams.

Biden often traded on his Catholicism during the election campaign, citing the “inspiration” of nuns on his idea of public service, and selectively quoting Pope Francis when the opportunity presented itself. Yet he would not, or could not, risk appearing to his own party to be soft on nuns when it counted. He vowed to reverse religious freedom protections for the Little Sisters of the poor against the HHS contraceptive mandate, which would force them to provide abortifacient drugs and sterilizations through their healthcare coverage.

As he tried to woo Trump’s reluctant religious supporters, the disconnect between Biden’s soft music and harsh lyrics seems likely to have cost him more than many expected.

Much has been made of the “shy Republican” phenomenon, in which polls seem unable to divine the true intentions of voters willing to turn out for Trump. Whatever the eventual electoral college result, it now seems unlikely Biden captured many more of these voters than did Hilary Clinton four years ago, despite widespread predictions to the contrary.

Among Catholics, too, voters seem to have upended pollsters’ expectations. Several polls leading up to the election said that Catholics favored Biden by more than 10 points, and that even weekly Mass-goers preferred him. But early NBC exit polls show Catholic 2020 voters split nearly evenly on Trump and Biden.

Professional pollsters will, no doubt, discuss the disparity between forecast and reality in technical terms: pointing to the limits of sampling models and hinting darkly at the mendacity of respondents.

But in an age when the doxing and targeting of ordinary people who do not support the progressive agenda is increasingly commonplace, social conditions appear geared towards the creation of a “silent plurality,” neither willing to vote to accept, for example, that men can get pregnant, nor so free with their politics as to risk offering that view out loud.

While there may be a true landslide-scale majority who would prefer someone “like” Joe Biden (affable, friendly, relatable) to someone “like” Donald Trump (aggressive, divisive, alienating), the real lesson of the 2020 election may yet prove to be that personality does not trump policy, at least for a great many voters.


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7 Comments

  1. The electorate may show Biden is there winner. However, given Trumps every effort to undermine this election on many fronts he may well destroy our democracy. Remember, Trump can do anything he wants and he does indeed!

    Excerpt:
    “Several polls leading up to the election said that Catholics favored Biden by more than 10 points, and that even weekly Mass-goers preferred him. But early NBC exit polls show Catholic 2020 voters split nearly evenly on Trump and Biden.”

    In feel that Biden can be encouraged to return to church teachings, especially on abortion. I want to believe that Biden will support the Hyde Amendment that eliminates federal funding for abortion on demand. Hoping it will happen I want to turn to President Trump. There are so many issues with Trump it is nearly impossible to list them all. Here are some high points…

    Trump’s admission that he withheld early warnings, (late January), on the deadly coronavirus. Even letters from one of his close supporters, Peter Navarro warning that this “pandemic will terribly affect his tenure in office. Trump ignored all warnings resulting in an out of control deadly COVID virus killing more than 230,000 poor souls. Trump sinfully misdirects the public, dashing his science experts, by saying “we have rounded the turn”. Yet, he seems to be a star in some eyes, (especially the Catholic Church). I can’t spell the word ” compartmentalize”, but I keep trying.

    Trump committed treason at Helsinki when he favored Putin over his intelligence pros. Dan Coats resigned.

    Trump has divided our country so bad that it may never recover.

    Trump fearing that he would loose the 2020 election threw everything against the wall to disrupt the counts and favor his illicit efforts. He executed a plethora of frivolous law suits in the Supreme Court trying to prevent mail in ballots from being counted after the polls closed on Nov. 3rd. His Republican minions in the field were quick to seize upon voter suppression methods. Like… moving polling places to remote locations, Georgia being the most notable. Reducing mail in drop off boxes to one per county, Texas. Requiring a photo ID at polls. Trashing mail in votes “received, not postmarked, after the polls close on Nov. 3rd.

    Lets not forget the 545 caged babies without mothers. Mothers who still cannot be found.

    Trump has never once said mea culpa. He demands loyalty and to insure that devotion. He has fired more than 750 members of his administration.

    Trump shows he is demented when he trashes our military heroes calling calling them “losers and suckers”. Add to that, his disgraceful references to hero John McCain during his life and even morbidly after his death. Obsession!

    I encourage the church fathers to study the differences between each candidate.

    God save the republic.

    • “Frivolous lawsuits”? But among them is the fact that once the counting is actually ended–rather only interrupted–the relevant (Democratic) secretaries of state can declare the state elections complete, thereby preventing any legitimate recounts.

      So, perhaps a bit more insight can be mingled with inventoried outrage? Also, more realism than waiting for middling-politician Biden (middling within his Leftist party) to ever “return to church teachings.”

      Instead, the Left-middling Biden will be lashed to two bent birches, as in earlier barbarian times, then to “return” to the blue (!) skies by dismemberment into pieces as the restraining ropes are cut. Either this failure to unify, or he will actually find a way–since the radical Left agenda (his pary’s Manifesto which he also signed!) is not legislatively possible with a steadfast Republican Senate still intact. On the chopping block, then (like other more physical “abortions”), are the radical Left agenda items of unlimited abortion, euthanasia, heterophobic LGBTQ-ism, infanticide, client-capturing freebees, etc.

      Media talking heads, meanwhile, speak from on high about a middle-ground and “purple” America, failing utterly to grasp the depths of the abyss between, yes, the bull-in-the-China-shop Trumpism and, also yes, the bullsh** in the agenda of hijacked “democracy.”

    • Please stop, MorganB. You just keep embarrassing yourself with these psychotic rants. Please get some help, and please seek spiritual counsel.

  2. Even if we don’t put being pro-life first, much of Biden’s actions, voting record, and statements are anti-Catholic. He chose a Marxist VP!

    morganB, a lot of your statements are false rhetoric spouted out by liberals. By the way, what’s wrong with needing a photo ID at the polls? The last time I checked, voting was for legal citizens only. Ballots with postmarks by the due date is reasonable. These regulations are precisely why we have a great election system in the US. They are there for our benefit.

    Wake up, Catholics! Your party is the Republican party, not the Democratic party. Socialism is not a Catholic value.

    • Try without a photo ID to cash a cheque, board a plane, purchase alcohol, get a library card, open a bank account, or a host of other things less important than voting in a presidential election.
      People manage to come up with a photo ID for every other occasion requiring that but somehow it is an overwhelming burden to identify yourself to cast a vote.

  3. Your Pope should excommunicate Biden for being pro abortion. He does not because he’s too concerned about the whimpering gays feeling left out and encouraging illegal immigration. Francis is a nice guy but as the leader of Catholicism, a spritual wimp.

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