One of the common themes coming from the Biden campaign and many of his supporters is the idea that they need to win this election so things can go back to “normal.” The underlying message is clear. President Trump is an aberration from what we’ve come to expect in American politics and societal standards, so replacing him with “loveable Uncle Joe” will turn the clock back to the good old days of 2015. What most of these liberal Biden supporters don’t seem to grasp is that those “good old days” weren’t so good for a significant portion of the country. And even if Joe Biden pulls out a win in this race, nobody who accepted Donald Trump as an admittedly unusual alternative is going to be ready to “go back” to anything.

The social justice warriors have plenty of complaints about the current state of society and there is absolutely some merit to some of those concerns. Human beings are not perfect and we don’t always get everything right. There’s too much poverty in the country and the path to success is clearly steeper for many people than that of those born into more fortuitous circumstances. But what’s less frequently discussed, particularly in the media, are the equally strong objections of many citizens to the path we’ve been following in recent years.

Long before Donald Trump came down that golden escalator to announce his candidacy, a significant portion of the country was fed up with the accelerating slide we’ve witnessed toward socialist policies and the erosion of conditions that used to be taken for granted in America. Our public school system has failed many families who are financially disadvantaged, as liberals will regularly and correctly point out. But at the same time, those schools are churning out one generation after another of indoctrinated activists who would rather tear down the system than repair it. We’re breeding armies of entitled radicals who somehow feel that the government owes them equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. We’ve experienced a cultural shift toward a populace that values a handout more than a leg up.

A society that tolerates crime and unrest to the point where people can justify looting and rioting as some sort of compensation for perceived wrongs is on a fast track to failure. People who see law enforcement as a threat rather than our only bulwark against chaos are exhibiting suicidal behavior, perhaps without even realizing it. And yet we see these ideas being bandied about on our major news networks on a daily basis.

Perhaps worst of all, the very idea of patriotism and loyalty to America as one of the greatest nations in the history of the world is now looked upon with scorn. Blaming America has usurped the idea of loving America in some circles. Those are the complaints that drove many of us in 2016 to throw conventional wisdom in the dumpster and try something different. Perhaps something radically different. The phrase “make America great again” may have originated in Donald Trump’s campaign planning meetings, but it resonated across the country in ways that even he probably couldn’t foresee.

I was reminded of all of this when I went to vote at six o’clock this morning. There was a line of roughly 15 people there when I arrived. After I took my place, additional people showed up and three older voters who were behind me in line struck up a conversation. They were only talking about one thing. Rioting was what was on their minds. One woman nervously asked if the others thought there would be more riots in the cities or even in our own village. They talked of news reports showing stores being boarded up in advance of the election. One of the two gentlemen she was speaking to responded by asking when things had gotten this bad.

These are conversations that are going on all over the country and these concerns speak to why there are still huge turnouts for the President’s rallies, even in the midst of a pandemic. Donald Trump didn’t “take over” the Republican Party or derail the conservative movement. He just happened to come along at a moment when a large body of people who were never heard from in public debates was waiting for someone to carry that message forward. If it wasn’t Donald Trump, it would have been someone else before very long. And even if Donald Trump loses this election to Joe Biden (which is certainly possible), those voices aren’t going to go away or be silenced. The people who helped elect Donald Trump aren’t about to complacently go back to how things were before. If Trump is pushed out of office, someone else will rise up to take his place. As I said, Donald Trump wasn’t the cause of everything you’re seeing. He was a symptom. And the underlying conditions that led to his election four years ago haven’t gone away.