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Interview: “Trump Wins in 2020: (With the Popular Vote)”

(Cameron Clark/York Daily Record)

“So over the holidays, I’ve visited several people in the Black community, and they have been very impressed with what they see Trump do.”

Victoria Lynch, the author of the book Trump Wins in 2020 (With the Popular Vote), joins Merion West to explain why she believes that President Trump will be re-elected in 2020, as well as to comment on the state of his policies and presidency. Lynch, who predicted President Trump’s 2016 victory, argues that many of the same signs are present as the election of November, 2020 approaches. She comments on President Trump’s economic policies, his approach to China, and answers if there is anything she’d like the President to do differently. Also, as an African-American woman, Lynch weighs in on the Trump campaign’s ongoing outreach to Black voters.

The first question I want to ask you, Ms. Lynch, is about your thoughts about Mr. Trump before he was president. For example, I covered a Trump rally for the first time in December in Hershey, PA, and a lot of those attending had a range of opinions about Mr. Trump prior to his entering politics. President Trump has been around a long time. What were your thoughts about him before—or right when he entered—politics?  

Erich, that’s a great question. So for me, I didn’t have any history with Trump prior to him entering the race. I mean, I knew of him. I knew that he was a businessman in New York. But I didn’t have any association with him at all. In 2015 and 2016—when all of the Republican candidates sort of emerged—that’s really when I took notice of Trump. Really it was his stance on immigration that set him apart from the pack. So I know he’d written a lot of books prior to entering the political sphere, but this particular new one, Crippled America, stood out.

So I read his book, and that’s how I really came to understand some of his policies and really how I was able to discern what I liked. I don’t know if the media really talked about it that much, but on the back pages—he actually did share some of his financials, which I thought was really awesome. But his policies on immigration, his policies on what he would do to grow the economy [stood out for me].

So when he’s on the debate stage, and there are numerous other Republican candidates up there, you’re saying pretty early on, “This is my guy”? 

I didn’t early on say he was my guy, but his policies on immigration set him apart. I was stunned by his passion for immigration and his idea about putting up a wall—and his suggestion that when people came in, we could do better with immigration reform. He was the first person to have the conversation in over 50 years. So I was just startled, and I was so impressed.

I think what Trump did was he really unpacked a very unpopular subject, and he just went at it head-on. I think it was his authenticity: the fact that he didn’t care what everyone else thought and he was willing to really take on the very difficult issues. Honestly, he was a disruptor from the time he walked in. He made no apologies. You know what I liked about him? I liked the fact that he funded most of his own campaign. He didn’t have the support from Republicans. He didn’t have the support from Democrats. He basically had to appeal to the voters. I saw this brash billionaire appealing to the middle of America and just knocking it out of the park. I was stunned.

I want to ask you a question about the title of your book. You’ve chosen the title: Trump Wins in 2020: (With The Popular Vote). Why not the title: “Why Trumpism wins?” It’s notoriously difficult to predict election results. There are “October surprises,” for instance; anything can happen. Recently, Pat Buchanan gave an interview to POLITICO Magazine. “The ideas made it, but I didn’t,” Buchanan put it. Why not: “Why Trumpism Wins?”

So this is my second book. It’s really an ongoing discussion from the first book that I wrote. And the first book that I wrote was: Red State America: Unpacking the 2016 Election. So a lot of the things that I saw as a grassroots activist in Philadelphia—I’m noticing that the trends are still there. I saw Trump being very successful early on. I tried to put together the research and the data, and I got a lot of my data and research outside of your typical urban centers, which is where a lot of the data in the polling came from, which was erroneous the first time. And if you stepped out of Philadelphia and went to rural Pennsylvania. If you went to Ohio. If you went to Florida. If you went to Georgia. If you went to North Carolina. If you went to the Midwest. If you went anywhere outside of your coastal cities, you saw a very different America. So I was looking at and researching those other voices. I was looking at the Heartland. So I was looking at data that was suggesting that he was trending much, much higher in the various areas than what people were giving him credit for.

So, in your view, a lot of those same signs that you saw in 2016 also exist in 2020?  

What I’m saying is that the issues that were important in the 2016 election for those areas in the Heartland, in the rust belt, for the middle-class, for Evangelicals, and for conservatives—they’re still there. And so those issues are still being addressed. Erich, I don’t dislike Democrats or anything like that. That’s not the issue at all. I’m just sharing the perspective of the Heartland or a typical Trump supporter. I just want to bring their voices to the front because their voices matter, and their votes really changed the course of history in the last election.

So were you traveling to these various states on a regular basis? What was your methodology to tap into the pulse of these places? 

I did travel. Pretty much the research was three years. I did three years worth of data. So in that period, I did travel a bit. Up the Eastern seaboard—and to the West. Historically, I’ve got 20 years of experience in the Lone Star state. I went to school in the Midwest, and our son lives in Cincinnati, so I traveled there. So I have had an unusual opportunity to visit a lot of the Heartland. And so when I started to do the research with the first book—it was three years worth of research, and it was actually meeting with people in the Heartland, which is the difference. I talk about experiences. I talk about living there, and that’s the difference: leaving the urban area and talking to people from rural America and experiencing life in rural America, life in the Midwest.

In your book, you bring up Condoleezza Rice, and I’m familiar with her comments about, “My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote.” I’ll quote you where you write, “The Democrats just switched from overt racism to a subversive strategy of getting Blacks as dependent as possible and the government to secure their votes.” When Moynihan was in the Nixon administration, he was writing about this idea that maybe the worst thing that could happen to Black America is for people to get too reliant on welfare programs. He took a lot of flack for it at the time, of course. With all that in mind, can you talk about President Trump’s current outreach to Black America, which has been ramped up since his November event in Atlanta? 

That’s an excellent point. So, in the book, I talk about the sin of omission, and I talk about my trip to the African American museum in D.C. and just going through the museum and looking at the history as it was depicted. And while it was an amazing trip and the artifacts were stunning, there just were a lot of omissions. There was no place in the museum where they talked about the fact that every slave owner in the United States was a registered Democrat. That was never anywhere in that history. And we know that after the Emancipation Proclamation that most Blacks—when they got the ability to vote—were registered Republicans until the New Deal. So the Condoleezza Rice story was just incredible to me because I lived through a lot. My family, my sisters, and my brothers—a lot of them were there when we had “colored only” places and experienced a lot of racism.

So I’m first generation to go to college. I’m one of 11 kids. My parents were married. They were married for 53 years. We were in a lower-income home in the DC metropolitan area.

I wanted to say that I came from a two-parent household. Even though we didn’t have much money, we grew up in a two-parent household. But getting back to Condoleezza Rice, who made the same observation that I did: historically, Blacks have never been oppressed by Republicans. They’ve always been oppressed by Democrats. So my argument in the book is: “If you think that this is not that same party, let’s just look at President Kennedy.” President Kennedy, himself, attempted to use his brother, the Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, to undermine Martin Luther King Jr. and had them wiretap him and investigate him with the FBI on the suspicion of being a Communist. So this is Kennedy. So this is not Kennedy’s party? Well, how about LBJ? This is not LBJ’s party?

So the reason that I really wrote the book was to encourage the typical Trump supporter or the voters in the Heartland and also to inform them. You hear such a one-sided story: all of the information, all the angst, and all the racial divisiveness. And we really need to get back to the core need to understand that this is not generated from Republicans. Absolutely positively not. I can’t suggest that there aren’t Republicans that are racially biased. There are people who are racially biased on both sides of the aisle. There are. But the blame for racial inequality is not with Republicans. That is something that I would lay at the feet of a typical Democrat because historically the Republicans weren’t bashing the Civil Rights March. The DNC had the hoses; the DNC had the dogs; the DNC had the bats. It had nothing to do with Republicans. So that’s what you need to understand. Historically, it lies at the Democrats’ feet.

But that being aside, we as a society have come full circle. We have done a lot to repair the relations between Blacks and Whites, and so we have moved forward and made such gains. Are we are 100% there yet? No, but we are trending in the right direction.

So let’s get to Trump. One of the things about Trump that was really, really super impressive was prison reform. He was the first president to do prison reform, which really is amazing and really impacts the minority communities even more. He’s delivered for Black and Brown jobs. Like right now, 7% unemployment in the Black community. And there’s like 5% unemployment in the Brown community. So when I did my data—and I did my research under the Obama administration—and we had the Great Recession during this time, but I can tell you that it peaked at about 36% unemployment for Black males between the age of 16 and 35. Now, our inner cities were blowing up under Obama, and now Blacks are better off now than they’ve been in about 40 years. So I was telling a friend of mine, I go to my hair done, I get my hair trimmed, and she’s a Black stylist. And we were kind of talking. I told her I’ve written books, and she said to me: “You know, I have to admit I’m better off now than I’ve ever been. For the first time, I can afford to buy a car. I can afford to go back to school.” So I was shocked, and she said, “I think Trump’s doing a great job.”

I know that, for example, at the end of 2019, Major Garrett was on CBS’s Face The Nation and said that the most underreported story of 2019, in his view, was President Trump’s policies that have been helpful for minority communities. And he cites, like you did, the unemployment rate, the First Step Act, and also investment in historically Black colleges and universities. But why do you think more Black Americans are still hesitant about this president? Why is he still very much underwater in his approval ratings with Black America?  

So I don’t know that I agree with that last statement necessarily. I think that Trump’s going to do probably the best in the minority communities, the Black communities, compared to any Republican candidate in recent times, Recently, I have visited and talked to a lot of people in the Black community that I’m a part of. So over the holidays, I’ve visited several people in the Black community, and they have been very impressed with what they see Trump do. As a matter of fact, I visited an uncle of mine, who’s 95, over the holidays, and he just kind of turned to me and he said, “You know, I have no idea of why they want to impeach Trump because he hasn’t done anything wrong.” So I’m visiting Blacks, and what I can say is they are not nearly as hostile [to President Trump] as people are projecting in the media. I’ve given this book to several Democrats; some were Black Democrats, and the aim of the book is not to get people to change their point of view but to inform them as to what some of the President’s accomplishments have been—and to let them know that his domestic and economic policies have helped everybody.

I’m not doubting that there are Black Americans who share that view. But I’m here with a recent poll showing Vice President Biden leading President Trump among Black voters, 86% to 6%. 

I can’t tell you necessarily why the polling numbers are disproportionate. I can surmise that a lot of people today—it doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is—don’t necessarily voice their support for the President because they are vilified when they do. They are made fun of, and so people are just keeping it to themselves. I don’t know any Blacks that are going to go around and say, “I’m voting for Trump.” They will come to me and say, “I think he’s really great, and I am fixated every time he comes on the television.” But no one’s going out with a sign to say they’re going to do it. But they will show up at the polls. So I’m anticipating that Trump’s probably going to get about 20% of the Black vote.

I’m looking at election result: Ted Cruz and his Senate race against Beto O’Rourke in Texas in 2018 and Governor Kemp in his race in Georgia against Stacey Abrams, also in 2018. Actually, both Republicans, Cruz and Kemp, performed unexpectedly well with Black men. Kemp took 11% of the Black male vote, and Cruz received approximately 17% of the votes of Black men. But there appears to be that gender gap between Black men and Black women where Black men seemed more inclined to support Republican candidates, as opposed to Black women.  

You know, Trump is sort of an alpha male. I can tell you the Black males that I’ve talked to—they’re not mad at Trump. They like Trump because he has actually done something for the Black community, and the last few Democratic Presidents have just talked about doing things for the Black community, including Obama. I think the actor Isaiah Washington got hammered because he supported Trump and was just rejoicing and coming to the White House at the signing of the historic prison reform, but he got hammered.

I remember when the First Step Act was signed, Van Jones at CNN having a number of very positive comment about President Trump on that issue. So I think even some of the President’s critics were pleased with the First Step Act.  

Yes, that’s just one of the things. But, Blacks are not just thinking about things that are unique to the Black community; they are just as excited about a middle-class wage increases because a lot of them are middle class. A lot of them have moved into the middle class. They are excited about job creation. A lot of them are participating in that. It’s the  millions of jobs that he’s brought. A lot of these people live in the Rustbelt where they’re seeing manufacturing jobs grow at the fastest rate in 23 years. And the Americans with high school diplomas—they are experiencing the highest gains. The economy is rising, and Blacks are part of that.

I want to ask you one last question; it’s a two-part question. You’ve already answered the first part of it when you’ve pointed to these unemployment figures and job growth. But what do you think is the number one reason that people should vote for four more years of a Trump administration? Perhaps it’s an economic policy, a foreign policy, etc.—what do you think should encourage people who are on the fence to vote for President Trump in 2020?  

I would answer this way: From an economic policy, he has done a great job with his job creation. 6.3 million jobs all over America, especially the Rustbelt. So he’s delivered in manufacturing jobs. So that’s the reason. And I would say number two, for everyone who supported Trump—or who is interested in American safety—it’s his fighting for the wall. And now he just got permission to continue to fund a wall. His court appointments. He has done a tremendous job trying to create more balance in the court system, and he is doing a great job standing up to countries like China. He’s doing an amazing job with really looking at all of the imbalances in the trade deals that have been going on. So he has done well.

I know even some of his critics, such as George Soros had an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, saying they agreed with the Trump administration’s policy towards China. 

If you think about it, China has been stealing intellectual property for decades with absolutely no consequence. It’s cost Microsoft alone $10 billion.

Second part of the last question: What’s one thing that if President Trump is re-elected that you’d like him to do differently? Or what is one thing that you disagree with from his first three years so far that he’s been in office? 

So I’ve really been very impressed with what I’ve seen. I don’t disagree with anything the President’s done. If anything, I wish we had more people that would understand the magnitude of the things he was able to accomplish with one hand tied behind his back. It’s a red hot economy. People are working again. Consumer confidence is going through the roof. People are seeing their 401(k)s grow. Their pensions are getting better. We’re living at a higher quality of life. We have hope. Even if you haven’t had the opportunity to go to college, you are still able to provide well for your family. You need to, “Let Trump be Trump.” What I’d like to see for him that’s different is not having one hand tied behind his back. I’d like to see what it would really look like if he were given the ability to really have the support that’s necessary to do everything that he wants to do for the American people. I’ve just been really impressed with what I have seen from him. Wealth is not just being spread among “the Haves,” but also “the Have Nots.”

Ms. Lynch, I want to thank you for your time and for laying out your case. 

Thank you, Erich.

Erich J. Prince is the editor at Merion West. Erich has contributed to a variety of publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Hartford Courant, The News & Observer, the Orlando Sentinel, and The Hill. His opinion writing has been honored with two awards from the Columbia University School of Journalism. He studied political science at Yale, completing his thesis on the history of polarization in the United States Congress.

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