What are the chances of Donald Trump winning the upcoming election?

By Donald A. Collins | 28 May 2020
Church and State

(Screenshot via YouTube)

To those of us who are expecting a new President to replace what for some is an odious incumbent, I would counsel a serious look at the facts. His documented lies, his assaults on anyone who he sees as a critic, his phony push for the religious support of the born-agains and the Catholic hierarchy, the anti-family planning behavior, the already packed Supreme Court with the prospect of more packing in term 2 would seem to raise broad enough criticisms to insure a change.

One who has not flinched at such a reelection effort is Victor Davis Hanson who is described thusly by the Hoover Institution, a powerful conservative think tank, with which Hanson is closely associated.

“Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of more than two dozen books, ranging in topics from ancient Greece to modern America, most recently The Case for Trump (Basic Books, 2019). He lives in Selma, California.”

In the circles in which I circulate (now mostly electronically) I find it hard to talk to anyone who finds Trump eligible for a 2nd term. However, if one reads the enthusiastic reviews on Amazon for his latest book, one realizes that it is not at all certain that we will have a new President in November.

This enclosed essay by Victor David Hanson quoted below was written before Coronavirus and before Biden was assured of the Democratic nomination, but by the time Election Day comes, even if many more deaths are recorded, that percentage as a ratio of our total population will be small—say even 400,000 deaths over 340 million. And the likely performance of the stock market rise as the economy recovers, plus the return of nearly full employment, may get many to ignore the incumbent’s flaws. Trump’s campaign war chest is bulging. A lot of work ahead for the far less well funded Biden forces.

Donald Trump has at least five strong historical arguments for his reelection.

One, he is an incumbent. Incumbent presidents have won 14 of 19 reelection bids since 1900.

The few who lost did not enjoy positive approval ratings. In a Gallup poll from earlier this month, Trump enjoyed his highest approval rating since his inauguration, squeezing out a 49 percent favorable rating vs. 50 percent unfavorable.

Two, the public perception of the economy usually determines any presidential election — as incumbents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Herbert Hoover learned the hard way. Currently, the U.S. is enjoying low inflation, low-interest rates, positive economic growth, near-record low-unemployment, rising workers’ wages, and record gas and oil production.

Three, unpopular optional wars derail incumbent presidencies.

The quagmire in Vietnam convinced Lyndon Johnson not to run for reelection in 1968. Jimmy Carter was tarnished by the seemingly never-ending Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981. The Iraq War drove down George W. Bush’s second-term approval ratings and helped derail his would-be Republican successor, John McCain.

Four, scandals also can destroy a presidency, as when Watergate forced the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Five, the opponent matters. Barry Goldwater was caricatured as an out-of-touch extremist and made incumbent Lyndon Johnson’s election a sure thing in 1964. George McGovern’s radicalism ensured that Richard Nixon would be re-elected in 1972. Ronald Reagan was assured of a second term by Walter Mondale’s anemic candidacy.

How does Trump stack up on all such criteria?

His poll numbers have climbed steadily since Democrats began impeachment proceedings against him in September 2019. His Gallup approval rating is now four points higher than when he was inaugurated in January 2017.

The more Democrats have sought to abort the Trump presidency through impeachment, congressional investigations, lawsuits and sheer hysteria, the more Trump seems Teflon-like and his approval ratings go up.

We can assume that Biden, seeking to encourage Bernie Sanders partisans support will get the socialism label of the Progressives, which will not help in critical states. And the heavy emphasis of Trump’s huge war chest on the key states that won him his first term will again be key to his victory.

After all the rich are so rich now that little needs to be done to make them Trump voters again. Lack of probity, honorable behavior, and no law against an incumbent President in taking profits for your private businesses while in office, or not allowing us to see his tax returns has not yet gotten him in any trouble so far.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
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1 COMMENT

  1. From outside of the US it seems it very likely. Not just because what's going in the US, but it also seems that supporting dictators and hardliners have become the norm in most countries across the world. If not officially, but through the support of the far right movements. These movements have slowly started to creep into prominente not only the US, but also in Europe. It seems we are repeating the pre WWII history here. Complete with purity/morality cults praying on minority groups and supporting strong men to make — insert country name — great again.

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