The Polls, Donald Trump, and Secession

Far too many pundits and commentators live and die by polls. It seems that each day some on-air talking head or online spinmeister reveals breathlessly increasingly bad results for President Trump and anyone who dares to support him or intends to vote for him.

Consider the following headlines blasted out recently by television news:

“The President has now slipped again in the polls and is behind Biden in the six battleground states.”

“Trump is behind Biden now by 12 points.”

“Georgia, a once safe GOP stronghold, is now in play, as is Texas.”

And the pattern goes on, daily and incessantly.

At the same time, Joe Biden’s essentially stay-at-home, don’t-rock-the-boat, don’t-answer-controversial-questions strategy seems to be working if you believe the pundits. Witness his “town hall” forum Thursday night, October 15, on the ABC network, where not only he faced a moderator (George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton hack) who served up careful soft-ball questions to him, but planted supporters who did likewise. Nothing really difficult, nothing that would disturb his visible senility and obvious inability to form or give a substantial answer to a mildly challenging question.

Of course, even if it is true that many Trump voters will vote for the president despite his rough exterior and bull-in-a-china-shop approach to issues, most of Biden’s supporters will pull the Democratic lever not because Biden is a fountain of intellectual brilliance and political savviness, but because of their hatred of Donald Trump…a hatred engendered by the media, the educational establishment, and the entertainment industry.

Back in 2016 only one polling outfit actually got almost everything right about the presidential election.  The Scott Rasmussen organization—Rasmussen Reports—came out ahead of nearly all eleven major polling groups: “Rasmussen Reports told you all along that it was a much closer race than most other pollsters predicted. We weren’t surprised Election Night. They were.”

Once again Rasmussen is predicting a much closer election than the other polling organizations, including Fox (who were miserably wrong in 2016).

The results of the most recent Rasmussen Reports survey (Wednesday, October 14) have Biden ahead of Trump by only five percentage points, 50% to 45%, comparable to the polling results at this time in 2016.

Following the helter-skelter first presidential debate (September 29) and the initial flurry of news about the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the president apparently took a hit. Rasmussen had Trump losing to Biden by 12 points: “In mid-September, the candidates were neck and neck, but following Trump’s announcement that he was nominating federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, Biden moved from a narrow one-point lead to eight points ahead. Last week following the candidates’ first debate and Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, the Democrat jumped to a 12-point advantage.”

That survey occurred between September 30 (immediately after the first debate) and October 1 and 4-6.

But between those dates and the most recent Rasmussen Reports  (October 14) three things happened. First came the vice-presidential debate on October 7, with Vice-President Mike Pence squaring off with Senator Kamala Harris, who continually smirked condescendingly at Pence, but also at the American electorate. Pence’s performance was substantive and direct, and overall a compelling case for the current administration.

Secondly, viewers had an opportunity to watch and digest portions of the televised Senate hearings with Amy Coney Barrett. After viewing her poise and unrattled intelligence on display in the face of some very hostile questions from Democratic members of the upper legislative chamber, the latest Rasmussen survey indicates “that 51% of likely U.S. voters believe the Senate should confirm Barrett as a Supreme Court justice based on what they know at this time. That’s a 12-point increase from 39% when we first asked this question in late September just after President Trump nominated Barrett to fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Forty percent (40%) still disagree, but that’s down from 49% in the first survey.”

And, thirdly, the president made a quick and total recovery from the COVID-19 virus, and is back on the electoral trail as the happy warrior he normally is—while Biden, forced now to get out of his basement occasionally, continues to avoid inconvenient questions, with the blatantly obvious assistance of the major media.

Significantly, in this age of virulent cancel culture and personal reputation assassination by the Progressivist thuggery online (and on the air), and the real fear that many voters have about revealing their political sentiments to pollsters—particularly true of conservatives—even the 50% to 45% results may belie something that is actually happening beyond the surveys of pollsters, just as in 2016. In fact, the Trafalgar Group chief pollster Robert Cahaly forecasts that the “silent Trump vote” will be twice as large for the president this year than in the last election and that he will win a very tight electoral victory.

Add to this the growing Hunter Biden/Joe Biden “pay-to-play” scandal (as revealed in solidly-sourced articles in the New York Post)…a situation that the establishment media and the tech giants Facebook and Twitter have done their damnedest to suppress and keep a lid on.  Thus far they have been partially successful, but the next two weeks may see additional permutations and explosive news details. Look for the tightening and frenzied grip of the Leftist tech monopoly on our public discourse, as the Deep State apparatchiks strive desperately to avoid a repeat of 2016.

The question now is just what will take place on November 3, and then, in the days that follow when hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of votes will be “found” and the specter of suddenly-appearing ballots or tossed ballots will raise its ugly head.

No presidential election since 1860 (including the disputed one in 2000) has been fraught with such momentous consequences. Indeed, mainstream writers have raised the question of possible separation or secession of some states. It would not be much of a stretch politically to see California, Oregon, and Washington State refuse to accept a Donald Trump electoral victory, especially if the popular vote goes against him. Indeed, George Mason University law professor F. H. Buckley, in his volume American Secession: The Looming Threat of A National Breakup (Encounter Books), suggests this a serious possibility. And I have done likewise in two widely diffused articles first published by The Abbeville Institute: “Is Secession the Answer?” from February 4, 2019, and “Is Political Separation in Our Future?” from August 19, 2019.

More and more it seems certain that the Southern constitutionalists in late 1860 and early 1861 were right historically, and the conclusion of the military conflict in 1865 did not in fact really settle fundamental issues. The post-war triumph of 19th century liberalism and big financial capitalism, followed by the onrushing waves of state socialism conjoined with globalism as an almost natural result, just perhaps have run their course. We live, it seems, in a geographical entity, once a nation founded on certain principles that fully one half of the population now angrily rejects and scorns.

The next month or two will be a crucial watershed in the history of the country welded together with such great hopes in 1787. Will it continue as we have known it? Will the Progressivist totalitarians finally secure complete control? Will violence on a scale never before seen in our history erupt on our streets?

I don’t know…but since I was doxxed by Leftwing crazies over in Chapel Hill late this summer, I am sleeping with a pistol next to my bed. God help us all.

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations. More from Boyd Cathey

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