A Sleeper Cell of Socialists Could Steal the 2020 Election—and Finish Off America as We Know It | Opinion

A phenomenon unique to the American political experience is known as the "Bradley Effect," or, synonymously, the "Wilder Effect." The Bradley label refers to the 1982 California gubernatorial campaign, where African American Tom Bradley was polling as the front-runner but ultimately lost. The Wilder counterpart happened in 1989, when African American Douglas Wilder was narrowly elected governor of Virginia, despite polling at a much higher margin.

In these cases, the conclusion reached by some is that people will poll differently than they vote in order to appear more enlightened or politically correct.

In an America where Barack Obama polled ahead, and then won, two national elections right in line with pre–Election Day polling, the Bradley Effect holds perhaps less water today than it once did. Nevertheless, it makes some rational sense to think that in today's culturally charged America, for a variety of reasons, people may be highly reticent to reveal their preferences to pollsters who are perfect strangers. The so-called hidden Trump voters of 2016 serve as the primary case-in-point.

It is for this reason that it becomes very difficult to calculate, and even more dangerous to ignore, the potential impact of hidden socialist voters in the run-up to the 2020 election. After traveling the country extensively, delivering speeches and otherwise interacting with people from all different backgrounds, I can confirm that this hidden vote exists, and it is not unsubstantial. Unfortunately, the only way that empirically derived hypothesis can be tested is on Election Day, and at that point it will be too late for conservatives.

But we can determine some sort of baseline.

Let's refer to Federal Election Commission data and the 2016 presidential election. Nationwide, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 2,868,691. Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote 304-227. The key to his Electoral College victory was by prevailing in hard-to-win states like Pennsylvania (20 votes), Ohio (18 votes), Michigan (16 votes) and Wisconsin (10 votes). Those states were the difference between making America great again and making America as we know her a memory.

In those four states, 19,437,399 votes were cast. Trump won 9,496,565, and Clinton won 8,971,980—a margin of victory of only 524,585 votes.

But wait, you might say. Those numbers don't add up! That's right, because in those four states alone, 959,854 votes were cast for some candidate other than Trump or Clinton. Said another way, 183 percent more votes were cast for someone other than Trump or Clinton than the margin of victory between the two, more than enough to wipe it out.

Now, let's turn to the youth vote in 2016. According to CivicYouth.org, approximately 50 percent, 24 million, of eligible voters age 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 election. Fifty-five percent of those young people voted for Clinton. Having spent the entire election cycle on college campuses, I can assure you that Clinton was the least inspirational candidate the Democrats could have presented to the demographic that still has all of their hair. For some evidence of this, consider that in 2008, a more youthful candidate with a far more progressive and "inspirational" message, Obama, received 66 percent of the same age group's vote with a higher turnout, 53 percent.

Going back to 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein likely played a key role in helping to elect Trump, but certainly not on purpose. For those not familiar, the Green Party is the one that wants to take America back to the days before the discovery of making fire. Stein won more votes in Michigan and in Wisconsin than Trump's margin of victory. No socialists who vote with their eyes open would ever choose to vote for Trump instead of Stein, but they would choose to vote for an openly socialist Democrat instead of wasting their vote on Stein.

What all of this means for 2020 is that the growing national movement toward embracing socialism and collectivism could be awakening a sleeper cell of voters who are ready to unite the political left and finish off America as we know it in 2020.

As Joe Biden continues to self-destruct, thereby eliminating the only viable perceived-as-moderate (he is not) candidate from the Democrat field, it is becoming increasingly likely that the Democrats will nominate a far-left candidate openly hostile to our founding principles, especially the control of private property. This will have appeal to voters who in 2016 were uninspired and stayed home, voted for non-viable candidates and have recently been "woke."

Crowd Bernie Sanders
Thousands of people listen to Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, on March 2 in Brooklyn, New York. Spencer Platt/Getty

This is why, even if you are a reluctant Trump voter, it is important to work tirelessly on behalf of the president to get him re-elected in 2020. His re-election strategy cannot be about holding on to voters in swing states, but increasing the number of voters in those states. It is quite likely that the opposition is going to add to their numbers, and our margins were too razor-thin to prevail against a swell. No status quo was established in 2016.

One thing that could work in Trump's favor is a sort of reverse Bradley/Wilder effect. The president has done much to improve conditions in America for both African Americans and Hispanics. These communities know it is the president's policies that have brightened their economic circumstances, even if it may not be popular to voice this publicly among neighbors, co-workers and family.

Conservatives are hoping that they remember on Election Day that their ballots are both secret and important. We need them to help counteract the socialists of the country uniting in their attempt to begin phase two of what Obama termed "the fundamental transformation of America."

Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, the nation's largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of The Charlie Kirk Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

A Sleeper Cell of Socialists Could Steal the 2020 Election—and Finish Off America as We Know It | Opinion | Opinion