Monday, March 2, 2020

Five Predictions for the November 2020 Election

I am in a prophetic mood. Maybe it is because I am listening to the prophet Isaiah during my daily devotions in Lent. Reading the biblical prophets always prompts an urge in me to foretell the future. Anyway, I have some predictions about the upcoming presidential election in November, even though it is eight months away. Here goes:

Prediction #1. Trump will lose the 2020 election. Just so Trumpers won’t accuse me of spreading liberal propaganda, I must point out that the most recent Fox News poll said that any candidate the Democrats nominate will defeat Trump. But my prediction is not based on an opinion poll. I think Trump will lose because I have faith in the American people. After four years of Trump I believe that the American people now know exactly what type of man he really is, and they will not want four more years of his leadership.

I believe that the American people are good, honest, decent, moral people who can no longer tolerate the immorality, uncouthness and crudeness of this president. I believe that America is better than Trump’s version of it. I believe that Americans will cast their vote based on love for people rather than fear of people.

I believe that Americans care about immigrants. They care about the poor. They care about the sick. They care about prisoners. They care about the reputation and influence of our nation in the international community. 

I believe that most American Christians will vote against this very unchristian president. I also believe that many Republicans and conservatives will refuse to vote for Trump, but they will not admit it publicly because of the backlash from fellow Republicans. I call them the "silent minority" of the GOP. 

Americans are smart enough not to be fooled twice. You know the old saying: “Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.” I don’t think the American people will be fooled twice by this “arrogant huckster,” as Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called Trump.

Farmers, blue collar workers and the middle class will see that they are not better off than they were four years ago. They were conned in 2016, and they will vote accordingly in 2020. I have faith in the wisdom and common sense of the American people.

I also have faith in God. As Martin Luther King famously said (and President Obama had woven into the rug in his Oval Office – which Trump immediately removed), “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” In other words, I have hope.

I can’t believe that God will abandon our nation to Trump’s narrow vision of America. If God is guiding our nation, as I must believe God is, then the arc of our history cannot bend in the current direction much longer without great harm being done to our future. Faith, hope, and love. That is why I think Trump will lose.

Prediction # 2. Trump will not concede defeat on election night, November 3, 2020. He will not phone his Democratic opponent and congratulate him. (Yes, I predict the Democratic candidate will be a “him.”) Trump may never make that customary call, but at least he will not do it until he is forced to.

He will blame his loss on everyone but himself. He will blame it on the media, whom he has called the enemy of the people. He will call the election results a hoax, sham, scam, fake news, and all his other favorite four letter words.

He will indulge in conspiracy theories, saying that the election had been stolen, rigged, fixed or whatever. He will say there were voting irregularities, that the Democrats stuffed ballot boxes or counted illegal votes and voters. Fox News will indulge these conspiracy theories thereby giving them credibility.

Trump will want a recount. He will threaten not to leave the White House in January. Such troublesome tweets will get people talking about a constitutional crisis. Both sides will use the word “coup.” It will be a dangerous time for our democracy.

Trump will eventually step down by Inauguration Day. I say that because I have faith in the democratic process. But the president will leave kicking, screaming and tweeting all the way. He will never admit that he was beaten fairly and squarely because the American people no longer want him as their president. He will be a thorn in the flesh of our country – and the Republican Party - for years to come.

Prediction # 3. There will be demonstrations and rallies across the country by Trump’s supporters who believe everything he says about the election. The president may even show up and speak to them in person. At the very least he will voice his support for them via Twitter and before news cameras. There may even be violence perpetrated by a few of his most ardent supporters. The Alt-Right will not let their champion leave office without a fight.

Prediction # 4. It will be the beginning of the end for the Religious Right. Evangelicals who now support Trump so vigorously will preach dire warnings about the forces of evil taking over America. There will be prayer meetings and religious rallies calling for our nation to repent before it is too late. But this is just the death rattle of a movement that has been exposed as spiritually bankrupt.

Evangelicalism will not go away. In fact it is likely it will grow. It seems to do best when it is out of power. But to the vast majority of Americans this fundamentalist caricature of historic Christianity will be exposed for what it is. A movement cannot be identified so closely with such an immoral and unspiritual leader without some of his qualities rubbing off on it.

That does not mean that progressive mainline Christianity will fill the political power vacuum. The days of Christianity wielding substantial political power in the US are gone. The words and conduct of prominent evangelical leaders have tainted all of Christianity with their stench, just like the pedophile priest scandal of Catholicism has likewise done irreparable damage to the reputation of the Church. The days of Christian hegemony in America are over.

But I hope that institutional Christianity’s momentary loss will be an opening for true spirituality to flourish. I pray that in its place will arise in America a type of religious expression – both in Christianity and other religions - untainted by extremism, fundamentalism, sectarianism, violence and intolerance. I pray that a true spiritual revival - apart from organized religion - will happen in our land.

That’s it. That is what I see happening in November and beyond. In conclusion let me just say that I am not a prophet. So please, I do not want any evangelical readers accusing me of being a “false prophet” when one or more (or all) of my predictions do not come to pass. I do not claim to speak for the Lord – unlike Isaiah. You will not find “Thus saith the Lord” here. These are my personal thoughts, and nothing more. And it is likely my prognostication skills are not much better than Punxsutawney Phil’s.

But if these predictions begin to be fulfilled on Election Day, then I will share this blog again on November 4. I will post it on Facebook right after I post the Munchkins’ celebratory “Ding Dong” song. You know, the one in The Wizard of Oz that they sang after the wicked witch was crushed by Dorothy’s house. I might even follow up with an encore as I treat myself to a sweet from the Lollipop Guild.

On the other hand if I am wrong, then I will admit it publicly, and I will lament with the other half of the country that we are in for a bumpy four more years. If you think Trump’s first term was perilous for our country and the world, just wait until you see a Trump unrestrained by having to run for reelection. As the old Lenten hymn says, “Sometimes it causes me to tremble … tremble … tremble.”

One more prediction. I can’t help it. Prediction # 5. If Trump does win, then within his first year he will float the idea of changing the election law that limits presidents to two terms. And if his party wins the House of Representatives as well as the White House, it won’t be just idle jesting. As Jesus prophesied, “Lo, I have warned you beforehand.”  

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