In 1932, 102,221 citizens of a certain nation voted for the Communist Party in their country’s presidential debate. In 1948, two governors of the same country’s administrative municipalities ran on a ticket of oppression and apartheid for the nation’s racial minority. They gained all of the electoral votes of four of their nation’s main divisions. Twenty years later, five of the main divisions went for another party arguing for the same concepts as the 1948 organization.
The nation was the United States.
The Communist Party under William Z. Foster and James Ford, the States’ Rights Party under Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi, and the American Independent Party under Governor George Wallace and General Curtis LeMay all received ample support from certain segments of the American people. Some politicians argued for a totalitarian, though racially egalitarian, state while others sought the preservation of racial segregation in the United States. Both movements achieved limited, though considerable, success in presidential elections within the past century.
As for the presidential candidates with widely considered controversial beliefs that did achieve major success in U.S. presidential elections, most readers would immediately point to President Donald Trump. Trump mocked a reporter with a disability, argued for the execution of the families of terrorists, and showed disregard for the Supreme Court ruling in Texas v Johnson that explicitly legalized flag burnings. Critics from both the right and from the left did not take such actions lightly, and they were right to air their grievances. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the tens of millions of Americans who did vote for Trump probably did not vote for him because of his controversial statements and actions. Rather, many conservatives probably voted for Trump in spite of his frequent foibles. There was unemployment or some other economic or social issue, such as abortion, that they did not want a Democrat handling for four years as the head of the executive branch. Democrats can organize and respond in kind with a different candidate and a refined message with the next presidential election.
Besides Trump’s vulnerability at the next presidential election, America’s history reveals that the people of the United States change the candidate that they support on a surprisingly consistent basis. The last election wherein a president from one party succeeded a president from the same party was in 1988, when President George H.W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan. Additionally, the 1988 election was the only case of its kind since the 1952 election that ended 20 straight year of Democratic rule in the White House. Such dominance was unheard of since the days of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe in the first three decades of the 19th century.
Many Americans change their minds, occasionally in less than a four-year span. In 1964, Democrat Lyndon Johnson rode a wave of sympathy over John Kennedy’s assassination and over civil rights and welfare legislation to reelection with over 61 percent of the vote, the highest since 1820. In 1968, Johnson announced his refusal to seek another term after his popularity plummeted after his support for the controversial Vietnam War, and the American people elected Republican Richard Nixon during the same year. In 1972, President Richard Nixon won reelection to the presidency with 520 electoral votes and 49 of the 50 states at his side. Two years later, Nixon resigned from his position under the specter of impeachment rulings from the House of Representatives and from the Senate. 1976 marked the election of Democrat Jimmy Carter to the White House, showing a second change of heart in the American electorate in eight years.
All of the aforementioned elections and dates reinforce fact that certain events can radically change the views of various American voters. In 2017, Jessica Taylor reported that “22 counties that had once voted for Obama switched to Trump.” The report brought up the unemployment levels that probably influenced the change in voting behavior. Hillary Clinton probably failed because of unemployment in swing states and because of the issue of four possible Supreme Court nominations until 2020. Conservatives would not want somebody from the left to hold the right to nominate justices to those seats, and so simply voted for the conservative candidate mostly likely to win after Trump’s nomination: Trump himself.
Fortunately for President Trump’s critics, the reverse is also true. If Trump does not fulfill his promises to fill the Supreme Court with conservatives, commits major domestic and foreign policy blunders that obviously result from corruption and sheer incompetence, or does not give aid to the unemployed by creating jobs, his job might be the one in jeopardy during November of 2020.