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.
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