The midterms: Trouble signs for Trump
The road to Trump’s re-election is lined with “blaring-red warning lights,” said Steven Shepard in Politico.com. The results of the midterm congressional elections point to a daunting list of problems in 2020 for a president who squeaked out an Electoral College win the first time around, while getting only 46 percent of the popular vote. Democrats just made meaningful gains in three states that were key to Trump’s 2016 victory: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Kyrsten Sinema’s upset win in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race suggests that former red state is likely to be a battleground; so is Florida, where Republicans won statewide races by razor-thin margins. Upscale suburban voters, women especially, have swung blue in a big way. Trump still has a tight grip on GOP voters, said Jay Cost in NationalReview.com, but the support of hard-core Republicans alone won’t get him across the finish line in 2020. And he shows no sign of understanding this. “In two years, he has done nothing to win over that critical 4 or 5 percent of voters who will be necessary to secure his re-election.”
It’s the economy, stupid, said Scott Jennings in USA Today. It’s humming, and Trump can win if he runs on it. “Slightly right-of-center voters will put up with bushels of drama if they believe the president is looking out for their jobs.” And he may well get a boost from the Democrats, who will likely put up a nominee “more representative of the liberal mob than of suburban America.” The problem with that argument is that Americans already give Trump credit for the economy, said Harry Enten in CNN.com. His approval rating on that one issue is high. “But that isn’t translating to a stronger overall approval rating,” and he’s the only president in recent history who has never cracked 50 percent.
Yes, and in 2016 no one gave Trump a chance, either, said Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. What the prognosticators fail to grasp is that when it comes to Trump, predictions based on logic and historical precedent have limits. Trump is the candidate of “anyone who’s pissed off about anything,” and the chaos he causes and insults he delivers delight tens of millions of Americans unhappy with the state of their lives. With his race- and Muslim-baiting and promises to surround the country with “a Great Wall of Whiteness,” Trump gives them “permission to unleash their inner monster.” Don’t make the mistake of underestimating him again.