More Thoughts on Trump’s Prospects

Steve wrote earlier today about President Trump’s re-election prospects. This is, of course, a subject to which we will return many times between now and November. For now I want to make a few big-picture points and post a couple of videos.

Three months ago, I was confident that Trump would be re-elected. Any president wants to run for re-election on a platform of peace and prosperity, and Trump was perfectly poised to do that, buoyed by perhaps the strongest economy in our nation’s history. But the Wuhan virus changed the landscape dramatically, in two ways.

First, the shutdowns that resulted from the virus (rightly or wrongly) have taken the best argument for re-election–our strong economy–off the table. Trump will run in the context, not of unprecedented prosperity, record employment and strong wage gains, but of a deep recession and a stock market crash that perhaps has not yet bottomed out. Whether this was Trump’s fault or not–it wasn’t–is beside the point. With “peace and prosperity” no longer the winning formula, the entire deck has been reshuffled and the Democrats now have an opening.

Second, the Wuhan virus has introduced a new and unpredictable issue into the campaign: the administration’s response to the epidemic. This should be seen as Act III in the Democrats’ determined effort to take out Donald Trump. Act 1 was the impeachment hoax. Act II was the Ukraine kerfuffle. Both failed, and it looked as though the Democrats had nothing left. But now, their press minions are launching daily attacks on the president related to the virus. Act III. No matter that these attacks are mostly ludicrous, along the lines of the president urging us all to drink toxic aquarium cleaner or inject ourselves with Clorox. The attacks may be silly, but they play on the fear that millions of Americans are currently feeling.

So, unlike the situation three months ago, the Democrats now have a shot at unseating President Trump. But, as in 2016, there is one overwhelming problem: they don’t have a candidate. That, too, is a subject we will return to many times. But I think it is widely recognized, including among Democrats, that Joe Biden is simply inadequate. Whether and how the Democrats can get him off the ticket remains to be seen. But even if they can replace him, the question remains, with whom? The Democrats have no good substitute, nor, perhaps, do they have an alternative to whom they can turn without alienating a large segment of their base. So in the end, they may be stuck with Biden.

The Trump campaign released this video yesterday. It is the beginning of Trump’s effort to put the Wuhan epidemic and resulting problems in a positive light:

I like the ad, although it seems a bit disjointed. I like the comeback theme: we did it before, we can do it again. But how voters will respond–emotionally more than intellectually–to the changed landscape of 2020, remains to be seen.

Finally, this video came out today. Not being a Star Wars aficionado, I don’t entirely get it, but I take it that Trump is Yoda and he dispatches CNN and MSNBC.

This is the kind of thing that Trump’s fans mostly love, and his enemies all hate. We will see a lot more of it between now and November.

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