There’s a funny thing about predictions. Those who make accurate ones are sure to remind you of their prescience, but those who miss the mark tend to pivot quickly and change the subject to their next prognostication. Witness the many pollsters who misfired in 2016 and have now released polling data for 2020 replete with absurdities. One poll earlier in the year had Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) beating Donald Trump by five points, for heaven’s sake.
But let’s face it. Putting oneself on the line with a weighty forecast of what’s to come more than a year out is a perilous business, especially for those of us who see fit to publish our predictions for all to see. But here goes. Allow me to dive right into the deep end, and not to beat about the bush with hedge words like possibly or probably, but instead to state plainly an unambiguous prediction for 2020.
Donald Trump will be re-elected, easily.
This is due in part to the president himself, of course. As his approval numbers rise to their highest level since he assumed office, 47% in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, the Trump economy is firing on all cylinders. We are enjoying a perfect storm of high growth, low unemployment, rising wages, negligible inflation, and soaring consumer and business confidence reflected in the rising tide sweeping from Main Street to Wall Street. Through more than two centuries of electoral history, in times of peace, the economy has always been both the single most important issue and most reliable indicator of a president’s prospects for re-election. People do not vote against their own financial interests. The only three presidents to be denied a second term in the last 100 years — Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush — were done in by deteriorating economic conditions. The rest, including several who were not all that popular, managed to secure a second term.
But what if, after all the sound and fury the nation has absorbed ever since he rode down that escalator more than four years ago, the election of 2020 is not actually about Trump? It seems incredible but very possibly true because the Democratic presidential field now irreversibly has committed itself to an agenda so radical that, as history also adjudges, the American people will simply disqualify the party’s eventual nominee.
The fates of tax-raising Walter Mondale in 1984 and the candidate of “amnesty, abortion, and acid” George McGovern in 1972 provide an unmistakable lesson. And keep in mind that what Mondale and McGovern supported was tame compared to the rhetoric being spewed by the overwhelming majority of current Democratic presidential candidates. But both were trounced, losing every state but one, victims of the largest landslides in American history.
The current crop of Oval Office wannabes — but crucially, not Democrat voters writ large — have evidently reached the self-destructive conclusion, much like the Nixon-hating left of ‘72, that the way to take down Trump is not to sharpen their appeal to voters who abandoned them in 2016 but to advocate for extreme policies that draw the sharpest possible contrast with the incumbent. These 2020 candidates apparently have learned nothing and forgotten everything.
With the obvious caveat that things can change in the next 16 months — we could be unexpectedly drawn into war or a recession — Trump, after winning a decisive victory in 2016 with 306 votes and a 14% margin of victory in the Electoral College, can reasonably expect to expand his margin in the next election. Here is how it figures:
30 States Trump Won in 2016. None of these states seem likely to reverse course in 2020, given that Trump as president has proven to be exactly what he promised as a candidate: a furniture breaker willing to go where no man has gone before, openly challenging the legitimacy of the encrusted and entirely discredited political establishment, promoting a muscular brand of patriotism, advancing America-first policies designed to kick start a stagnant economy, and keeping the nation out of armed conflicts. If Trump does face serious challenges, they would most likely come from the states Trump stole from the Democrats behind the much-vaunted blue wall — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. But if the Trump coalition remains in place, these states by themselves would give Trump more than 300 electoral votes, with only 270 needed for victory.
8 Battleground States Trump Lost in 2016. The president stands a better-than-even chance in all of the competitive states he failed to carry last time around, including six states he lost narrowly — New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado — and two that currently seem like a stretch but could well follow national trends — Virginia and New Mexico. Ask yourself if you really believe that a far-left Democrat such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is currently nipping at the heels of the fading frontrunner Joe Biden, or a thoroughly unelectable scold, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), or a self-proclaimed socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), can possibly prevail among a broad electorate in the midst of a prosperous economy. Trump has a realistic opportunity to sweep all eight states, worth another 50 electoral votes.
The electoral map is Trump’s friend. Less than a quarter of the states are out of play for the president: California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, and Delaware (plus D.C.). These states control only 177 electoral votes.
Nevertheless, it is always wise to consider worst-case scenarios. Consider that, even if Trump fails to duplicate his victories in Pennsylvania and Michigan and also is defeated in every battleground state that he lost in 2016, he would still win the election with the exact minimum needed for a second term: 270 electoral votes (barring faithless electors reneging on their commitments — there were seven such individuals in 2016). He also could lose every state he lost last time, plus Michigan and Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and still return to the Oval Office for four more years.
The Democrats have made their bed on the far left and must now sleep in it. Thus, no matter the general discomfort with his style of governance, it is beyond conceivable that President Trump could accumulate 350 or more electoral votes in 2020, which would amount to a mandate for his audacious agenda even greater than the one he received in 2016.
When the leftists lost their collective mind after the bombastic billionaire shocked the world with his upset victory over Hillary Clinton, they convinced themselves that they could remove him from office some way or another — false claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, financial crimes, withering ad hominem attacks, scandal in the White House, something. But they have spent their ammunition — and it was all blanks. One can only imagine how they will react upon realizing they must endure another four years of this man who represents the embodiment of everything they detest. Prepare to man the barricades.
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