A lot of people have such a low opinion of Donald Trump that they can’t even think about the prospect of his re-election. That’s too bad, because there is a rational argument supporting the contention that he just might win.
A Trump win in 2020 is within the realm of possibility.
So, bear with me while I point out a few trends that might predict a Trump victory in 2020.
Trump has low approval numbers, but that does not erase the fact that he enjoys rock solid support from his core constituency. Nothing he does seems to erode the support of millions of voters who believe in him. What do they see in Trump that justifies this level of support?
They see authenticity, for one thing.
While Hilary takes on a strained Sothern accent when she’s in the South, and Obama drops his “g” when speaking to African Americans, Trump is consistent with his folksy informal speaking style. He doesn’t craft messages for his audience. He speaks off the cuff, sometimes abandoning the prepared remarks in front of him.
And people love it.
Most of his recent rallies have packed the venues, no matter how large they are. People drive for hours to get to his speaking engagements, then spend more hours looking for a place to park.
And they cheer him on, sometimes breaking into spontaneous chants.
What’s that all about?
Maybe because identity politics has run its course. The Clinton Era is over. Trump uses words like “our”, “us” and “we” in the context of “Americans” more than any politician in recent memory.
Trump reminds his supporters there is nothing wrong with being proud of one’s country.
And people love that too.
More people than you might think.
In an era of hostility and incivility only the most ardent of Trump supporters publicly reveal themselves. Wearing a MAGA hat, or making pro Trump statements in public can invite physical aggression and social ostracism. Just yesterday I saw a bumper sticker saying:
“If you voted for Trump don’t follow too close. I don’t trust your judgment.”
These messages of intolerance are hard to miss and they might be having an unintended consequence.
Not all Trump supporters advertise their support.
The extent to which support for Trump are not detected by surveys and polls is, by definition, unknown. But it exists.
But there are very obvious signs of Trumps popularity, too.
Economists at Goldman-Sachs, the conservative investment bank, recently released an analysis finding that Trump has a shot at re-election in 2020 owing mostly to incumbency advantage and a strong economy.
Other financial analysts come to the same conclusion:
“The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it.”
Even Piers Morgan has gone on record predicting a Trump win in 2020.
But there is more.
Trump is raising more money than any of his Democratic challengers.
The Trump campaign has $82 million in the bank, double what it had at the beginning of the quarter. Yes, Trumps war chest doubled in only three months. He now has twice as much as much as the two leading Democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, combined.
Finally, Trump has made accomplishments that could sway undecided independents to his side of the ballot. North Korea, low unemployment and a bullish stock market could generate support from this large block of potential Trump votes.
A very interesting collection of figures with the ungainly title, President Trump Job Approval by Demographic Subgroups, Overall and Within Party Subgroups is now posted at Gallup.com.
Almost every Independent subgroup shows significant approval for Trump. If enough of them vote for Trump he will be swept into office in a landslide.
It’s the uncertainty that makes politics so interesting. Between now and the election any number of things can happen that will affect the outcome of the 2020 election.
All sides will endlessly manipulate the Mueller Report for political gain over the next year and a half.
Sooner or later the economy will fall into recession. Lately it is showing signs of weakening, and could as easily help Trump as hurt him.
Whoever the Democrats pit against Trump will also make a huge difference in how the election plays out. Trump is a master at ridiculing and diminishing his opponents, but eventually someone will be able to turn the tables on him.
One thing is certain, though.
Neither the Democrats or Republicans have any certainty of winning the 2020 election.