Governor Bob Ehrlich Commentaries

Trump Is Robbing Democrats of Their Base Across the Country

Voters are being called to “reimagine” an awful lot these days, but one major development is profound and occurring in real time.

I refer to the ongoing realignments within both of our major political parties.

Think about it. Big business has been a stalwart GOP ally for decades. Indeed, many congressional Democrats correctly viewed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as nothing more than a wing of the Republican party.

Even moderate Democrats had difficulty securing the Chamber’s attention — and fundraising prowess. The focus was always on the speakership — which party would control the House — and few Democrats were willing to cast that vote against their own leadership.

Today, we operate in a vastly different dimension. A social issue-driven Wall Street is fertile territory for Democratic fundraising. Check out Joe Biden’s Wall Street contributions for context. But the most remarkable (and rapid) change has been a large segment of the business culture ready, willing and able to spend billions in order to virtue-signal their newfound wokeness.

Look no further than a happily progressive NFL for evidence.

The average person may find this confusing, but there is context.

Think of your college-aged children. Many parents go into debt in order for their son or daughter to attend an expensive university. The institution uses your tuition dollars to pay professors, many of whom then make it their business to indict your traditional values — the ones you have spent seventeen years instilling in your kids.

You are nevertheless supposed to feel good about the indoctrination, err, education, even if your once-polite child now deems it socially acceptable to riot, loot and scream F-bombs at police officers. Biting the hand that feeds you it surely is — a lesson big business will learn too late should Mr. Biden be elected.

Another Trump-generated dilemma concerns trade policy.

In the modern era, at least, the GOP has been the party of free trade. For their part, Democrats have proudly heralded their union-driven protectionist positions. But here again, the tables have turned.

Trump’s GOP has developed a taste for bilateral trade and punishing tariffs, especially in regard to a predatory and perpetually cheating China, while Democrats have taken to singing the praises of mega, multi-lateral trade agreements.

As cited above, a more Democrat-friendly business community is one tangible result, but so is a blue-collar, working-class voter far more open to Trump’s Republican party and conservatism.

This tradeoff really counts. There are outsized numbers of these Democrats (once called “deplorables” by you-know-who) in the vital blue-leaning states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

A third realignment pertains to law enforcement, but the significant change here is limited to the Democrats.

A police-friendly GOP has long been the norm, despite resistance from some union leadership types more preoccupied with union rather than public safety issues. But recent events have diminished even this remnant of FDR’s New Deal coalition. Almost daily, the media reports yet another Trump police union endorsement, including some who have bravely retracted their Democratic support to do so.

What other choice do they have? The Democratic Party’s remaining moderates are reticent to show support for the blue, given the possibility of retribution from the “defund” wing of the party. Recent well-publicized resignations of high-profile female African-American police chiefs reflect the frustration and angst of police leaders — and the depth of anti-police sentiment among progressives within the party.

This may be one explanation for Mr. Trump’s recent relatively high approval numbers with African-Americans. Poll after poll has shown that a large majority of black Americans oppose efforts to defund police in their communities, one as high at 84 percent. No surprise here. Law enforcement is most needed in our most vulnerable communities.

And then there is perhaps the most startling realignment of all. A suddenly dovish GOP, recently forsaken by numerous high-profile neo-cons, now opposes an internationalist Democratic Party invested in military adventures around the world.

There are caveats: Trump’s defense acolytes will spend heavily on hardware (especially where military sales to allies are concerned) and personnel, while ascendant progressives continue to control the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party. Still, the attitudinal changes are surprising, given where the respective parties were a mere four years ago.

The bottom line: The profound differences between the parties are real, and anything but static. Blame or praise the “Great Disruptor” for all the commotion. He would have it no other way.

If you enjoyed this column consider following Governor Ehrlich on Twitter