Will Trump Win a Second Term?
Logic would suggest that US President Donald Trump can’t make it through a reelection fight: his base is too small, and he’s done next to nothing to expand it. But Trump’s success at solidifying his base could be his salvation in 2020.
WASHINGTON, DC – It seems that every time I write about Donald Trump’s presidency, I pronounce it to be in more trouble than ever. This time is no different: he and his presidency are indeed in more trouble than ever. And yet that may not prevent him from winning again in 2020.
I used to think Trump might not even finish his first term, much less get a second. Now I’m agnostic. For one thing, the US Justice Department’s questionable view that a sitting president can’t be indicted is an inducement to fight to stay in office. Logic would suggest that Trump can’t make it through a reelection fight: his base, an estimated 35-38% of voters, is too small, and he’s done next to nothing to expand it. And while he has governed for the base, he’s failed to fulfill many of his promises. But logic isn’t a trademark of the Trump presidency.
Much of Trump’s base is quite satisfied that he’s named two very conservative justices to the Supreme Court, that he’s rolled back regulations on various industries, and that businesses and the wealthy got their tax cut. But business tycoons and the wealthy don’t attend his rallies and cheer his every utterance. Those who do tend to be middle- and lower-middle class voters, to whom he has delivered little other than the satisfaction of yelling at mentions of Democrats and chanting – still – “Lock her up!” even though their target, Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, has said that she won’t run again in 2020.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in