We’re one week removed from the presidential election of 2020 and I’ve come to some preliminary conclusions that bear attention to in the midst of the ensuing chaos that remains at the moment, in trying to ascertain who by God’s providence, who will be in leadership of our country from both the White House and Capitol Hill (with the Senate still up for grabs through January of the new year).
Our nation – politically is at a standstill and societally is more divided than at any time in recent history – at least in more than a generation since the civil unrest and upheaval of the decade spanning from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s (e.g. Vietnam, the first wave of the sexual revolution and race relations). That much seems clear to most people.
However, the political pundits seem to be missing the point or the big picture in my view, as to what divides us as they began their obligatory post-election analysis of what happened last week.
What we do know if anything at this moment, is with tens of thousands of outstanding mail-in ballots still waiting to be counted and confirmed (including a recount in GA), Joe Biden held a victory rally in Delaware last Saturday night claiming the title of president-elect, in a speech in which he ironically referenced Ecclesiastes 3 and proclaimed a national “time to heal.”
His speech came after the major news television networks declared – anointed him really, as the winner of Pennsylvania, Nevada, and the Electoral College vote.
Meanwhile, the incumbent in the oval office, President Trump, said, “The simple fact is this election is far from over,” in a statement on Saturday. This week his campaign and cadre of lawyers began filling lawsuits before the Supreme Court and elsewhere, protesting the results of the handful of battleground states which will have the greatest impact on the final count of electoral votes necessary to winning the presidency on the grounds of voter fraud or irregularities (i.e. late or manipulated ballots).
Indeed, the possibility of such irregularities reversing the media’s call of Biden as President does exist, though the possibility seems unlikely- as unlikely as when Democratic Challenger Al Gore, appealed his razor-thin loss to Republican George W. Bush in 2000 (remember the “hanging chads,” Floridians?), in which Bush’s election results prevailed.
Why Did the President-Elect ‘Apparently’ Prevail?
Early exit polls estimate that in a year of increased racial tensions, President Donald Trump surprisingly improved his standing among racial and ethnic minorities – winning my home state of Florida, due in large part to the Hispanic voter turnout in Miami, consisting of Cuba and Venezuelan-Americans fearing an onset of socialism in our country, under the helm of a Biden administration, though the current President-Elect still won the majority share of black, Latino, and other minority voters’ support.
Although Biden performed worse among voters of color overall than Hillary Clinton did in 2016, a strong turnout of African-Americans in key major cities such as Philadelphia, PA; Milwaukee, WI and Atlanta, GA may have put Biden over the top in those three key states.
All of this could seemingly point to a strict, black and white racial divide in deciding the presidency. I think that conclusion takes the wrong colors into account. I see red and blue rather than black or brown as the dividing lines in our nation.
In addition, I see two practical factors that may have tilted the results of this election despite questionable poll data which may emerge to the contrary- if you put any stock in media-driven polls, which failed again, miserably, in anticipating the winners of this election and their margins.
One factor was the record deluge of early and mail-in ballots which were cast, preceding election Tuesday, of which at least a two-thirds majority seems to have favored Biden. A second contributing factor from the election which may have made the difference, is the likely possibility that ‘character still counts’ for a Presidential candidate.
Some analysts have already concluded in their post-mortem that many “shy” Trump voters did not disclose their voting preference prior to the election, skewing poll numbers due to possible concerns over being affiliated as endorsers of Trump’s questionable character and tongue – particularly among evangelical Christian voters who are to be concerned about such things.
One prominent pastor from the Midwest speaking on perhaps tens of thousands, said this past week, “I did not vote for Joe Biden, or for Hillary. I cannot vote for ‘the party of death.’ I am now an independent. My sympathies and convictions are closer to the GOP on issues, but I will not vote for ungodly, borderline racist, misogynistic, xenophobic candidates because they are GOP.”
There were assuredly many other thousands that voted for President Trump but remained, ‘in the closet’ about it- “shy”, as #NeverBiden voters. Trump’s character and communication methods – his messaging did little or nothing to gain their support of his person. Rather, they relied on his politics or policies, as we had posted prior to election day.
Similarly, there seemed to be little passionate support for Biden nationwide, among many Democratic voters, but rather a mass of fearful voters cast ballots – not only of the prospect of President Trump’s being re-elected, but of their party veering too far left to the radical and liberal agenda of its leadership in congressional races. As a more moderate Democrat on his way out of the Senate after losing last Tuesday, put it, “We’re not some demonic cult like we’re portrayed to be.”
What marks the color divide of red (GOP) and blue (Democratic) states and voters is quite simply worldview. Ideological conservatives who tend to vote for Republican candidates – generally, on the most current and key issues of our day, do not support ‘defunding the police’, packing the court and pursuing a new and extreme, environmental, Green New Deal. Whereas the ideological liberals or ‘progressives’ who tend to generally vote for Democratic candidates do.
As we noted in the platforms of the two major political parties of our country that one- represented in modern political terms by the color red, is pro-life, pro-traditional family, pro-liberty – as in religious and is pro-capitalist, while the other platform, represented by the color blue, is pro-abortion, pro-LGTBQ, pro-secularist and socialist leaning. It must be added, that the ever present centrist or purple minority may impact an election as well.
These political ideologies or positions are simple reflections of how people view reality or truth and the world they live in and would like to live in.
For instance, on the clear and unmistakable issue of abortion:
The red thinker and voter generally sees life as God and the scripture does, being sacred and dignified as a fellow image bearer from the point of conception to death (‘womb to tomb’) and worthy of the law’s acknowledgment and protection.
The blue thinker and voter- generally, sees life as utilitarian and subject to the whims and needs of those already born and the freedoms they already enjoy- mostly of a physical and sexual nature. Thus, which presidential candidate do you think most voters of those particular colors supported on election day?
Likewise, on the issue of local law enforcement and race, a red voter would emphasize the need for a Romans 13, biblical perspective of law and order in supporting police and policies which punish evil and protect the innocent (how imperfectly that may be administered).
Whereas a blue voter may deemphasize the above- even at the cost of public safety, in the emphasis of social justice, such as guaranteed racial outcomes of equality. I would argue that the ideologies of worldview, trump mere divisions of skin tone or ethnicity. President Trump’s inroads into certain minority groups in this election would seem to bear that out.
America remains divided more between red and blue in a culture war that does not seem to have an end in sight in our near future.
Interestingly enough, the cause may be due to the absence of the influence of Christianity in our nation, which once viewed as the moral glue that held this nation together since its inception.
America was more religiously diverse than most of us today might think in its infancy – denominationally, as well as between Deists, evangelicals and Jews for that matter. However, Americans of every worldview at that time in the wake of the revolution supported religious freedom and the idea of a creator God that was the source of and guaranteed their fundamental (“inalienable”) rights.
That theological worldview coupled with the correct view of mankind and his inherent sinfulness, saw that its citizenry could only remain free if it were virtuous – self-regulated or governed so a centralized government would not have to.
There was once a “civil spirituality” in our nation according to historians, or a set of common, religiously influenced American values which kept our states more ‘united’ than divided as it is today.
Therefore, I would argue that a true religious revival among God’s people (the church) may be just what this nation needs from preventing us- under God’s watchful hand, from falling from a culture war into civil war in 2021.