June 17, 2024
And Donald Trump holds the high ground
President Trump addresses a re-election campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa. May 20, 2019.
President Trump addresses a re-election campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa. May 20, 2019.

The 2020 campaign begins in earnest next week in Florida, when Donald Trump officially launches his reelection bid. On June 26, 20 Democratic candidates and five moderators hold the first of two nights of debates. Where do things stand?

According to the polls, President Trump starts at a disadvantage. He has 44 percent approval in the RealClearPolitics average, with a net disapproval of nine points. The most recent Quinnipiac poll has the major Democrats defeating Trump. The margins range from Joe Biden’s 13-point victory to Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker’s five points. Another recent Quinnipiac poll has Biden leading Trump by four points in Texas. Private surveys of the Lone Star State also show a tight race. Trump polls very badly among suburban women, and the growth in suburban Texas has been extraordinary. Which spells trouble.

If the election were held today, a generic Democrat would defeat Donald Trump. What makes the predictions game difficult is that Election Day isn’t for 16 months, and generic Democrats do not exist. Political conditions are bound to change, for better or worse, and voters once again will make a binary choice between the incumbent and a specific progressive alternative. That alternative might not be as flawed as Hillary Clinton. But he or she will have flaws.

Do the Democrats have more than a fighting chance? Absolutely. They’ve won the popular vote in all but one presidential election since 1992. And yet they would be foolish beyond belief to assume Trump is destined for a single term. President Trump can’t beat a generic Democrat. Lucky for him he won’t be facing one.

Trump holds the high ground of incumbency. Only once in the last century, in 1980, has the public ousted a party from the White House after just four years. Moreover, Trump is extremely unlikely to face a primary challenger, and at the moment, the chances of an independent third-party candidacy are slim. At the outset of the contest, the economy is humming, the country is not in a major war, and there is no disruptive social unrest. This is a winning record.

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See Also:

(1) Robert Mueller: A Scary and Mendacious Man

(2) Robert Mueller: Unmasked (PDF)

(3) ‘Not True!’—Trump Calls NYT Report on Russian Cyber Attacks ‘Virtual Act of Treason’

(4) Feds warn immigrants about welfare use

(5) Nunes blasts Mueller report for relying on media reports that promoted ‘Russia hoax’

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