A Life-Changing Election… by Tony PerkinsNovember 10, 2018
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By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, November 9, 2018
There was no “Blue Wave.” There was no “Red Storm.” What do we learn from that? That the Democrats aren’t who they think they are, that Evangelicals are sticking with the president, that many things will get better, and that everyone should watch out for Donald Trump.
First, Democrats should not get cocky. They have, pending one or two still election counts, a four-vote majority in the House. This means they’ll need coalitions with at least some Republicans to pass almost anything in the House. Assuming, of course, that they actually want to do anything substantive.
Furthermore, a number of the new Democratic members are relatively moderate. Newly elected Elaine Luria, a West Point grad who commanded a combat vessel. She will represent the heavily military Virginia Beach area. With her husband, she owns a small business. Luria will be unlikely to make rabid partisan cause with New York Democratic Socialist Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In short, the Democratic Party is philosophically much less coherent than the Republican. Nancy Pelosi will need a healthy supply of political duct tape to advance whatever priorities she might have.
By the way, the House Republican Conference has become even more conservative. And thus more unified. This will mean party discipline and resolve Pelosi will envy.
Second, divisions in the country are real but not as fixed as many analysts claim. For example, the current wave of socialist youth should pass. Age brings conservativism.
Tulane University researchers exposed people to several scenarios. Among them were these: seeing “a girl laughing at another student forgetting her lines at a school play” and “a player publicly yelling at his soccer coach during a playoff game.” Guess what? “Parents are “more likely than non-parents to judge these scenarios as moral violations.” They also tended to be more socially conservative.
When people grow up — get “real world” jobs, get married, have children, pay taxes, buy homes, and so forth — they want to protect their kids and safeguard that they’ve worked hard to purchase. All the noise about a younger generation that believes in “socialism” (although they can’t define what it means) seems a bit too panicky.
Wait until they first visit the emergency room with a toddler and, then get the bill. Watch their moral arrogance evaporate like fog in the sun. At least, for many of them.
Third, 75 percent of “white, born again/evangelical Christians” voted Republican on Tuesday. This is consistent with the nearly 80 percent of white Evangelicals who voted for Trump in 2016.
For these voters, abortion-on-demand, the erosion of the family and of religious liberty, and general cultural decay remain central issues. What’s noteworthy is that these issues consistently vote on these issues.
Why? First, white Evangelicals see them as moral imperatives, not personal preferences. This understanding of morality is grounded not just in a belief in unchanging divine revelation. It’s grounded in the general, common experience of mankind. Abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. Families with a mom and a dad should be the norm because the family best helps children (and their parents) flourish. Liberty of religious practice is critical to human dignity.
Second, the left keeps trying to reshape reality. Our hyper-sexualized society keeps claiming that casual sex with multiple partners is nothing more than fun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that sexually-transmitted diseases are at an epidemic level. Yet secular liberals believe what they want. Reality, as the expression goes, bites.
White Evangelicals are not going away. Neither is their heavily Republican voting.
Fourth, an expanded Republican Senate means more conservative federal judges. And less bitter hearings about conservative judicial nominees. There currently are 135 vacancies on the federal Court of Appeals, District Courts, Court of International Trade, and Court of Federal Claims. Guess who gets to fill them? Donald Trump.
He has already appointed scores of judges. A Senate Judiciary Committee led by Chuck Grassley and a fairly robust Republican majority in the Senate means he can continue naming conservative, Constitution-focused judges. This bodes very well for the future. Our courts have for decades been the left’s go-to to get the policies it can’t get through the legislative process. Not any more.
Fifth, Donald Trump is a remarkable politician. He rallies his base like few other political leaders. He speaks forcefully and repeats his messages over and over. He also speaks simply, with clarity and energy. Ordinary people love it.
During the 1952 presidential election, then-president Harry Truman gave Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson some sage advice. Stevenson, who loved to sound intellectual and was the darling of college English profs everywhere, was getting nowhere. Truman took him to a window and pointed to a guy walking on the sidewalk. “You need to learn to talk to that man down there,” said the Missourian.
Stevenson didn’t learn. And Dwight D. Eisenhower went on to two terms in the White House.
It’s too early to say the same about Donald Trump. But as Hillary Clinton found out, underestimating the current president is a sure way to fail.
Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.
Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.
Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.