For those conducting a postmortem on the “red wave” that died before it had a chance to reach shore, one explanation seems to stick out: Donald Trump.
Yes, Trump’s chosen candidates underperformed significantly in several Senate and gubernatorial races. The former president didn’t help matters any by declaring victory anyhow and, without missing a beat, attacking the one Republican who overperformed on Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
However, oversimplifying the GOP’s woes to a showdown between Trump and electoral realities overlooks a more ominous reason for the loss. What if conservatism didn’t prevail because there’s simply not much left to conserve, at least morally, in the United States?
Contrary to what Democrats told us in the waning days of the election season, democracy wasn’t on the ballot this time around. Inflation and the economy were — and those, without question, hurt Democrats.
The balance of the issues, however, were social in nature.
Republicans wanted Roe v. Wade to be kept overturned and for states to choose how to protect the unborn; Democrats not only wanted Roe reinstated as the law of the land, they wanted to go further, often proposing there be no exceptions to abortion on demand before a child is born.
Republicans wanted a safer country, while Democrats didn’t think crime was even an issue.
Republicans campaigned on parental rights in education, while Democrats compared attempts by parents’ groups to keep outright pornography from entering school libraries to “book-burning.”
The GOP wanted to restrict “gender-transitioning” medications and procedures from being used on minors; Democrats called this “transphobic.”
As columnist Mark Lewis noted at Townhall.com, these issues might not have resonated with voters because America is morally bankrupt and running up more ethical debt by the day.
“The United States has been drifting leftward politically and downward morally since the 1960s. There have been occasional blips in that political slide — Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump come to mind — but they don’t change the general trend,” Lewis wrote in an article published Thursday.
“The moral decline is even more evident,” he said. “In the 1950s, there was a popular TV show for six years entitled ‘Father Knows Best.’ Can you imagine a program being aired like that now?
“In today’s America, half the children either don’t have a father living at home, or have had multiple fathers depending on how many times their mother has been married. Or they are living with two ‘fathers’ or two ‘mothers.’ ‘Father Knows Best’? Not in 2022.
“This is just one example, of course. Hollywood has certainly been in the middle of the immoral invasion that has attacked America. But my point here is, this is history. Nations rise, nations fall. … It doesn’t have to happen, but it always does, and America is not somehow miraculously immune to that process. Indeed, we are becoming a classic case.”
Even in deep-red Montana, the elections Tuesday offered a glimpse into the moral rot of the nation.
The language of Montana Referendum No. 131 was simple and easy to understand. If passed, the measure would have compelled the state to adopt legislation “providing that infants born alive, including infants born alive after an abortion, are legal persons; requiring health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant; providing a penalty; providing that the proposed act be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana; and providing an effective date.”
Not only was the ballot question straightforward, but so was the moral decision that voters would have to make: Is a baby that has been born a human being entitled to medical care? Every ethical bone in your body should scream, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.”
Montanans didn’t concur.
The initiative was defeated by more than 22,500 votes, with 53 percent opposed and 47 percent in favor, according to the Montana Free Press.
The Montana secretary of state’s office reported 53% of voters opposed LR-131 and 47% voted in favor.
Montana has voted to let babies die on operating tables if they survive an abortion attempt.
We deserve the judgment we will face for our wickedness. pic.twitter.com/rwYGXtHhha
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) November 10, 2022
While Americans remain divided on abortion, there’s a marked difference in how each side approaches the issue.
Pro-lifers are often apologetic and count on Republican lawmakers to do something on abortion — although not enough that angry leftists might start a boycott or anything like that. Let’s not rock the boat, after all.
Pro-abortion advocates, meanwhile, have long since progressed past the “safe, legal and rare” stage of activism. They want abortion on demand with no restrictions so long as the child hasn’t been born. And in Montana, the left is willing to ignore that last part, apparently.
This is what moral decline looks like.
It doesn’t just happen in navy-blue states like California and New York. Montana failed to pass a referendum that would have saved living children.
In Pennsylvania — a purple state with a pro-life cant, thanks in part to a large Catholic population — voters were willing to cast their ballots for John Fetterman, a candidate who promised to scuttle the filibuster in order to enact a federal right-to-abortion bill.
We can’t wait. We need Democrats to vote like Democrats, scrap the filibuster, and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) June 25, 2022
All is not lost now. As Lewis pointed out in his Townhall piece, we still have “millions and millions of good, decent, God-fearing, family-oriented people in the United States. But there are also millions and millions who aren’t.”
As for future red waves, he noted they “could still happen. We did elect Reagan and Trump. Decline usually happens in fits and starts, and is not always smooth and consistent, any more than the ‘rise’ of a great country is.
“America isn’t finished yet, though if [President Joe] Biden and the Democrats have their way, it will be soon, at least in any traditionally recognized way. They intend, deliberately, to destroy the country. To stop them and turn it around, the first thing we’ll have to do is recognize what is happening.”
That’s a lot deeper than one man and a few bad candidates. Say what you will about Dr. Mehmet Oz and where he can stick his crudités. For him to lose to Fetterman, voters in a relatively pro-life swing state with serious crime problems still had to pull the lever for a man who spent his time as lieutenant governor opening the state’s jail cells and who believes a woman should have almost no legal impediment to terminating the life of her unborn child.
If you’re a conservative and want to take this out on Donald Trump, go right ahead. You do so at the peril of missing the point and the gravity of the situation we face.
We’re in an uphill battle against a culture that not only bristles at traditional values but will do anything in its power to destroy them.
Of the potential explanations for why the “red wave” never was, this should alarm us the most.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.