The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Glee?

Trump looking downward w/ a worried expression.
This guy? Conservative media hardly knew him. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Right now, with Joe Biden seeming to have the clearer path to the presidency but Democrats making sense of a worse-than-expected election performance, the left seems to be wrestling with despondency while the right—the side that may be about to lose the White House—appears to be gleeful. Such was the mood in conservative media on Wednesday morning. Processing the close results, right-wing pundits took the opportunity to tut-tut liberals and the media for overinvesting in identity politics and failing to understand “real America.”

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All told, conservatives seemed happy with the results thus far and sanguine about the prospect of Trump ultimately losing reelection. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative outlined the reasons he and his ilk were feeling fine: The absence of a Biden blowout means Trump’s impact on the Republican Party will last even if he doesn’t remain president. “[Tuesday’s] result makes it clear that there will be no restoration of the pre-Trump Republican status quo. The Lincoln Project will have been its last hurrah,” he wrote, criticizing the group of anti-Trump Republicans. He was also bullish on Republicans keeping the Senate, a not unlikely outcome, which he contended would make Biden a feeble, one-term president.

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Dreher also pointed to Trump’s better-than-expected support from Latino voters as a sign that “intersectional solidarity” is ill-conceived, a theme that many other conservative media outlets ran with. For example, the editorial board of the Washington Examiner ran a piece titled “The biggest loser of election 2020: Identity politics,” which argued that the “summer of wokeness” did not persuade people of color to turn out for Democrats in larger numbers. (Many Democrats, on the other hand, blamed this phenomenon on the fact that the Biden campaign did not start reaching out to Latino voters in earnest until the summer.) Washington Examiner commentary writer Eddie Scarry zoomed in on the relatively strong pro-Trump Latino support coming out of Florida, hypothesizing that it had more to do with Democrats’ failures than with Trump’s appeal. In the National Review, senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty advised that Democrats “should stop assuming that they have African Americans and Latinos locked up, and stop reflexively labeling all opposition to any aspect of their agenda racist.”

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In a similar vein, conservative outlets took the election results as evidence the media is not in tune with people who live outside major cities. Both the Federalist and the Blaze amplified items in Axios and Politico newsletters that came to similar conclusions. As an article in the Federalist read, “Whether President Trump manages to win, Beltway denizens are waking up to the inescapable reality of their own ignorance.”

Yet not everyone was accepting of a likely Trump loss. PJ Media blamed the left for the fact that mail-in voting held up a definite outcome of the presidential race in an article that did not once mention the coronavirus. Newt Gingrich also said on Fox on Wednesday morning, “You cannot as a conservative look at this and not feel that the Democrats have done all they could to steal the presidency and that the legal fight the president’s going to wage is exactly right.” Whatever becomes of Trump’s desperate efforts to keep the White House at this point, right-wing media on Wednesday were working out a plausible party line.

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