President Donald J. Trump has historically low approval numbers. He gets bad press – every day. Many in his own party have abandoned him. He has failed to get passage of healthcare or tax reform. The number of officials who have quit his administration or been fired is breathtaking. But Trump will most likely get reelected in 2020. Why? There are at least four reasons Mr. Trump is in good position to win a second term.
1. Great things are happening – we just aren’t hearing about them.
More Americans have work today than at any time in American history. The unemployment rate after six months of Trump’s Administration is lower than it was at any point in President Obama’s entire eight years. ISIS is losing for the first time. Retirement accounts are flush, with the Dow hitting 29 all-time records in six months. A great Supreme Court nominee has been successfully seated. So when 2020 comes around, while the left attacks President Trump, expect a replay of Reagan, 1980 – “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” For most, the answer will be “Yes.” And that bodes well for the incumbent.
2. The opposition is a train wreck.
At no point in American history have Democrats had less control in Congress and state houses. Only six – yes six – states are under Democratic control (governor, senate, house). And their party is divided between the liberal wing and the more liberal wing. The three Democrats in the highest level of leadership are all over 70. To say this is not a forward-looking party is to understate the obvious. Democrats’ agenda of “Just block Trump” has already grown tiresome, with over three more years to come. You can’t beat someone without someone to beat them. And so far, the Democrats have no one to beat Trump. They can’t even hold onto who they have now, having just seen the West Virginia Governor switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party.
3. Popularity is overrated.
President Trump is unpopular. That is beyond debate. But what is debatable is whether or not it really matters. Case in point – Richard M. Nixon. Nobody every really liked Nixon. They liked Ike, but only tolerated Nixon. He had a demeanor that made used car salesmen look like comedians. He was insecure, abrasive, vulgar, and humorless. Other than that, he was fun to be with. So having seen Nixon up close – for eight years as Vice President and four years as President – what did the American people do? They reelected him in 1972 with a 49-state landslide. Popularity is overrated.
4. The numbers are better than they appear.
Sure, Trump’s approval ratings are in the 30s. Sure, those are historically low numbers. And no, he can’t be reelected with those numbers. But keep a few things in mind. First, a recent poll shows that about 38 percent will vote for Trump no matter what. Second, he won the White House with 48 percent of the vote. So, he doesn’t need to convince 50 percent to vote for him – just ten percent. If he can turn ten percent of the 62 percent that are currently not on his side, he will win. I did the math. That means that of all the people who are currently opposed to Trump, he only needs to convince 17 percent of that group to change – in the next three years. And third, Trump remains more popular than Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi, who will appear on more Republican ads than Republicans themselves.
George H. W. Bush had the highest approval rating of any president ever – at 93 percent. That was at the start of the Gulf War. Do you remember what happened a couple of years later? He lost his bid for reelection. In politics, three years is a lifetime. President Trump’s low poll numbers in 2017 matter about as much as a first quarter field goal against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady.
Will Donald Trump win the 2020 election? Maybe not. But at this point, he has a better chance than anybody else.