November 09, 2016 - Wednesday
America to Trump: You're Hired!
"Weeping may endure for the night," the Psalmist David wrote, "but joy comes in the morning." In the case of most Americans, those nights stretched into very long years -- a nightmare from which the nation finally awoke last night with the astonishing news that voters rejected the continuation of the anti-faith, anti-family policies of Barack Obama. Instead, a nation spurned by almost a decade of a radical liberalism turned out with a vengeance -- electing Donald Trump in perhaps the most stunning political upset of the modern age. In a year of surprises, the ultimate outsider delivered the biggest, tapping into the frustration that pollsters didn't detect and liberal elites never took seriously.
"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer," vowed the president-elect, who not only overcame the opposition of the Democratic Party, but his own -- soaring to victory in spite of a biased media, his own personal baggage, lopsided polls, and a bevy of Hollywood stars. In disbelief, pundits watched the electoral map turn into a sea of red, colored by eight years of disillusionment with the president's extremist agenda. Fueled by massive turnout, the highest in history, voters delivered a stinging repudiation -- not just of Hillary Clinton's ultra-liberal agenda, but of the entire Obama era. Tired of the Left's contempt and unwilling to answer to pollsters, a silent majority propelled the GOP to a victory no one saw coming.
But the night wasn't just a vindication of Donald Trump. It was also a validation of the evangelical movement, which once again overcame the media's narrative of division to deliver one of the most significant political messages this country has ever seen. In nearly every election cycle for the last 40 years, liberals have tried to bury a movement they wish had never been born. And last night, they learned just how impossible that prospect will be. Evangelicals, many of whom (myself included) backed other candidates during the primary, quietly assessed the perilous state of the nation and unified behind Trump in greater numbers than they had behind the last three GOP nominees. To the astonishment of everyone, Trump outperformed John McCain, Mitt Romney, and even George W. Bush—winning an overwhelming 81 percent of the evangelical vote. FRC was proud to play a crucial role in that surge, calling or knocking on the doors of more than 264,000 in North Carolina alone. We rolled through 20 states on our Values Bus with the message of what was at stake in this election, making more than 140 stops, and moving the needle on a vital bloc of voters who undoubtedly helped deliver Trump's win.
If the media had questions about the influence of the religious right, they were answered early Wednesday morning by the greatest coalescence around a Republican nominee in two decades. Turns out, the press had about as much success writing the obituary of the evangelical movement as it had predicting this election. (And that isn't much!) Anyone who traveled the country these last few months saw how values voters connected with Donald Trump, not because of shared values, but because of shared concerns over the damage a Clinton Supreme Court would do to our freedom. Combine that with targeted videos like ours, and it's no wonder the number of voters who ranked the Supreme Court as their most important issue soared to 21 percent by Election Day (and even higher among evangelicals!).
Making the night even worse for Democrats, the GOP held on to its majorities in Congress, giving Donald Trump the keys to a unified Republican government -- and ousting a handful of gutless moderates in the process. Of the Senate's True Bluers (members who voted with FRC Action 100 percent of the time), 14 out of 14 won -- a feat replicated in the House, where 139 of 158 also held on to their seats. With their hands on the levers of power, Republicans finally have the mandate they need to roll back the oppression of the Obama era, defund Planned Parenthood (both of which Congress has done before), defend the ban on taxpayer-funded abortion, repeal Obamacare, restore pulpit freedom, appoint pro-life judges, tear up the Iranian nuclear deal, invalidate Obama's executive orders, beef up our military, protect the privacy of women and children in bathrooms, and so much more. Truly, this is an unprecedented opportunity to turn back the clock on a radical administration that was on the cusp of driving America into the ground. Instead, it seems Barack Obama decimated his own party, putting Democrats in a significantly weakened position.
In states, where conservatives have made the most strides under Obama, the GOP continued its state-level dominance. The historic gains that started under this president continued, resulting in another major increase of Republican governors. By week's end, the GOP will hold at least 33 gubernatorial seats -- up from 22 in 2008. Winners included Missouri's former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, Vermont's Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Indiana's Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb, Utah's incumbent Gary Herbert, and North Dakota's Doug Burgum (with Montana still too close to call). The celebration continued in the Kentucky legislature, which flipped to Republican control for the first time in 100 years. Iowa's Senate was next, leading the New York Times to mourn that, "At least 20 chambers were seen as highly competitive in the election, and a majority of those are now controlled by Republicans."
One of the biggest prizes of the night, however, was North Carolina -- which not only helped push Trump over the top but also beat back the narrative on H.B. 2, the state's Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. While liberals continue to pump out phony argument that gender-specific bathrooms will cost Republicans their majority, nothing could be farther from the truth! If protecting women and children were as unpopular as the Left claims it is, why did the GOP add to their veto-proof majority in both chambers and reelect Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest (R), who was the driving force behind the law? While Governor Pat McCrory's (R) race is too close to call, there's plenty of evidence that his opponent's surge had nothing to do with outrage over H.B. 2 and everything to do with the shady decision of a Durham County judge to leave the polls open when it was clear that Roy Cooper (D) was significantly behind.
In the end, what we witnessed wasn't just the revenge of the deplorables, but the collapse of the Obama legacy. After the spectacular failures of Obamacare, the demoralization of our military, the explosion of lawlessness, tolerance of corruption, and obsession with social engineering, Americans finally have the opportunity to rebuild the country they once knew. But the election is just the starting gun. Donald Trump may open the door to America's solutions, but he was never meant to be the solution. The true transformation of a society starts in the hearts and minds of men. And under an administration with no interest in continuing the eight-year war on the First Amendment, we may finally see what the Church is capable of. In the meantime, one thing about this historic uprising is clear: Americans are looking for leaders of conviction. And as last night's results show, they will accept no substitutes.
For more analysis of the race Americans will be talking about for generations, watch FRC Action's "Election 2016: Where We Stand."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.