Seasons Greetings

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What Are Trump's Options to Better His Chances in the Election? Part 2

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What Are Trump's Options to Better His Chances in the Election? Part 2

2020-06-12 22:44:10

By Laura Tucker,  Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

Yesterday we took a look at whether it would be possible for Donald Trump to postpone the November election until his poll numbers improve. In short, the answer is no. But is there anything else Trump can do to help his chances? Perhaps he could make a return to the success of his 2016 campaign. 

Trump's poll numbers are doing really badly. And it's not just that — they keep getting worse, increasingly so with each month that passes. It all just had incredibly bad timing for him. He just barely got through the impeachment by the seat of his pants when he was acquitted by the Senate.

Then he made several missteps with the coronavirus pandemic, and he just hasn't been able to right that wrong. On top of that, he's made more mistakes with his reaction to the George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests. Many people won't be able to forget the sight of the peaceful protesters being clear just so he could walk to a church for a photo op. 

He has a low approval rating and is desperate to get back to the success of his 2016 campaign. That would be possible, but he can't take on new topics. He needs to stick to the core belief system to appease his base.

One of his biggest promises in 2016 was to build a wall at the shared border with Mexico. He needs to have it done or be near done to show his base his accomplishments. But he spent so much time working on the funding for it, that he's behind the gun. 

Construction is taking place, but it's not necessarily scoring Trump any new supporters. In Ajo, Arizona, the crews are scaring residents. They have been protected from the virus so far, but the crew are bringing in unwanted germs and are many times not wearing masks.

As of April 24, the administration had completed 170 miles of border wall, but there was still another 180 miles or so to go. 450 miles had been promised by the end of the year, and it's not looking like it's not going to make it. 

Additionally, campaigning to keep migrants out of the country at this point is a delicate subject. It could be viewed that they could be bringing in the pandemic with them. He won't be able to charge up his base by upsetting the other side, unlike when he was separating families and locking children in cages. Basically, it's not going to look any worse than it already has. But it's not going to look any better either.

Another 2016 campaign promise was to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. But Trump was shy of the votes he needed, even when he had both a GOP Senate and a GOP House. 

However, he's attacked the law in piecemeal fashion to make it less effective. One of those changes he's made was just finalized this week. Former President Barack Obama made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of "race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities."

Last year the Trump administration proposed reversing that legislation and has now finalized it. It's believed that the rule is most unfair to transgender people, as it insists on treating people by their sex at the time of their birth. 

But during a health pandemic is just not a good time to attack health care, especially with unemployment so high. This means there are many, many people without insurance, and they'll need something like Obamacare to fill in the gap.

Another of his big campaign promises was to fix the economy. While the economy was the best it had been since 2008, he didn't really do that. He just rode on the coattails of Obama who had begun to bring the country back, yet he has claimed that he did it all on his own. It wasn't even Obama that tanked the economy. It started under former President George W. Bush. 

And now it has fallen again and has fallen badly. After several warnings, it's been confirmed that we are once again in a recession. The pandemic and closure of businesses have really affected unemployment, which in turn has affected the economy as a whole.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says that more help is going to be needed from Congress in the form of aid, and that's going to be tough, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already signaled he's not ready to grant more bailout money at this point. 

While Powell does see the unemployment easing a bit, he believes it will be a long, slow process. He sees it falling to 9.3 percent by the end of the year and to 6.5 percent by the end of 2021. That's not a quick enough pace to save things for Trump. And there just isn't much he can do to bring it back at this point. He provided a lot of bluster about reopening the economy, but too many people are afraid to go back to work or to travel or attend other events where they'll be spending money.

Just about the only other option Trump has left is to rely on foreign help. Whether or not he wants to admit that Russia helped him win in 2016 and whether or not he worked with them, they did help. He was also caught in the act of trying to get Ukraine to help him last year. It's why he was impeached. He was already working on 2020 at that point. 

Earlier this year, Intelligence officials found that Russia was already interfering in this year's election. It was once again trying to help support Trump's reelection and was also trying to help Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the primary. But he's already dropped out of the race, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

So Russia's attempts are already not working. Clearly, if they were trying to help Sanders, they do not want Biden in office, just as they did not want former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to win in 2016. They will need to try different attempts to help Trump this year. Since they couldn't plan on the pandemic or social unrest to hurt his chances, they need to go back to the drawing board. And if Trump was planning on this helping him, he needs to do the same. 

In short, voters know what Trump is all about in 2020. Four years ago he wasn't sharing his plans, only big promises. Those big promises never came through, in part because he had no big plans. It doesn't appear as though much has changed, and this could be why he is yearning for a 2016 repeat. It worked well then but isn't working quite so well this time.

Voters know what Trump is all about. In part 3 on Monday we'll delve into what his chances are in November as well as Biden's. If you haven't read it yet, check out Part 1 of this three-part series which explains why Trump can't unilaterally change the date of the election.

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