If you’re multi-tasking, click here for an audio version:
President Trump has now made official what most people suspected would happen all along: he is running for reelection in 2020. Although Trump actually filed for a second term with the FEC one day after he was inaugurated, the shock announcement on the Drudge Report Tuesday, and Trump’s own announcement to supporters Thursday, will kick things into a higher gear – almost 1000 days prior to Election Day 2020. Here is the report:
The question now is why Trump has made clear his intention to seek a second term earlier than any president in American history. Let the speculation begin. There are at least a half-dozen angles to consider.
First off, the President might be sending a signal to Jeff Flake and his fellow nevertrump Republicans who have been nipping at Trump’s heels or openly expressing their contempt for him. And where does that leave Flake? So low in Arizona polls that he is not even seeking a second term as the state’s junior Senator. But a presidential primary challenge vaguely hinted at by Flake or another of his recalcitrant fellow travelers among the dwindling anti-Trump forces in the GOP now becomes less likely. Declaring this far out will make it that much more difficult for challengers to gain traction through uncertainty about the president’s intentions.
Second, there has been so much uninformed and idle speculation about whether Trump enjoys his job or is miserable in it. This seems to reinforce the former notion, and puts an end to the theory that Trump always had in mind to serve just four years – if he could somehow manage to overcome yuuge odds to begin with – and then return to his already glorious life as a private citizen.
Third, this is another way for Trump to declare that he remains large and in charge. Better put, it might be a way for Trump to say “you’re not getting rid of me.” Or to paraphrase Charlton Heston, “the only way to take away my presidency is to pry it from my cold, dead hands.” Now, if he says that after a second term, we’ll have a problem.
Fourth, this will give the president an added ability – and excuse – to get out to more of those pro-Trump rallies he savors in flyover country and raise money among the faithful. Most of Trump’s base continues to support the president as strongly as ever, even though some disagree with certain of his recent declarations on guns and immigration. Knowing he wants eight years instead of four seems sure to invigorate his base.
Fifth, this sends a clear signal to the big-time fundraisers that he is all in, thus removing any hesitancy to let loose and seek the massive donations which will form the financial foundation of his reelection campaign. Raising wads of cash for a sitting president intent on a second term will be far easier than doing so on behalf of a highly controversial long-shot candidate or a president uncertain about his plans.
Sixth, declaring his candidacy for reelection is another way for the president to advance the argument that he’s doing a great job – not that he has hesitated to say that repeatedly since taking office – and deserves to finish what he has started.
What this will mean for the Democrats remains to be seen. But one potential candidate who has energized many on the left – an entrepreneur and entertainer like Trump – is not relying on worldly wisdom. Yes, Oprah Winfrey says she will seek signs and wonders from the Lord himself to determine whether she will run for President:
Amid calls for her to consider a run for the White House — from fans as well as her closest friends — “I went into prayer,” (Oprah) tells PEOPLE in the magazine’s new cover story. “‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.”
Whether from God or a less authoritative source, President Donald Trump has apparently heard and heeded the call to double down on making America great again. Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the swamp-dwelling establishment begin.