At least six Democratic candidates would defeat President Trump if the election were held today and he’s struggling even in Texas, a pollster claims. Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former vice president Joe Biden would trounce Trump by anywhere from five to 13 percentage points nationwide, the poll says.
Another poll said Biden and Sanders had 12-point leads over Trump in Michigan.
Media outlets such as Axios claim that Trump has a “re-election crisis“:
Everywhere he looks, President Trump can see flashing warnings that his re-election is in serious peril, a week ahead of his official campaign launch next Tuesday in Orlando. …
Trump is betting polls will swing when it’s a choice between him and someone he can lampoon as a dumb socialist.
But, but, but: Even the self-avowed socialists are beating him — Bernie Sanders is up 12 in Michigan.
Nearly a year and a half before the 2020 election, no one knows what will happen. Perhaps Axios’ Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen and their fellow tut-tutting DC journalists are correct that Sanders really could defeat Trump in a historic nine-point landslide win.
In a more reasonable and less histrionic world than the one DC journalists inhabit, however, the truth is that Trump is a favorite to be re-elected. The polls are what the polls are, as they were in 2015 and 2016, when they showed Trump having little to no chance of winning the presidency. (Spoiler alert: he won.)
One major difference from that era is a poll of Wall Street insiders showing that more than 70 percent expect Trump to win re-election. A Goldman Sachs analysis also sees Trump’s re-election as more likely than not. These projections absolutely could be wrong, but firms such as Goldman Sachs are deeply concerned about making money for the corporation and its clients by making accurate predictions about likely future events.
One doubts that journalists crowing about Trump’s peril would take the under on a 9-point spread for Sanders over Trump, if they were betting men. The real-world situation of Trump being a favorite is not complicated. Approval records notwithstanding, the country has a strong economy, and is in an era of peace and prosperity. Incumbents tend not to be thrown out of office in such situations.
So what explains the rash of stories about Trump’s certain doom in 2020? There’s a method behind the false narrative, and one relates to the fact that the media and other members of the Resistance are invested in Trump’s destruction. In the years since Trump did the unthinkable and won, they’ve been monomaniacally focused on overturning the election or otherwise making sure, in the words of one Democratic politician, it’s a one-term aberration.
For Democrats, the media, and NeverTrump Republicans, the current situation is much worse than they anticipated when their Resistance effort began. One shared goal was to drive a wedge in the Republican Party with elected officials splitting from the president. While the Resistance counts some top Republicans in its ranks, the ones that have tested their anti-Trump message publicly with voters instead of just privately with reporters and colleagues — such as Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker — have been run out of politics.
The Resistance also helped perpetuate the delusional Russia collusion conspiracy theory that gripped Washington and her institutions for the better part of two years. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe served a powerful function. For reasons he hasn’t explained, he declined to notify the American public that there was no Russia collusion until months after the 2018 election, even though investigators chatted in May 2017 with their colleagues about the lack of substance to the charge.
As a result of the ensuing hysteria and false reporting of supposed “bombshells,” many took the claims seriously, ginning up suspicion and hostility against Trump that helped propel Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives. But it wasn’t enough to take the Senate. That meant that the Senate confirmed the formidable and capable William Barr as attorney general — his second time in the position following his first stint in the George H.W. Bush administration.
Mueller was unable to deliver the goods in his Russia probe, ending with not a single indictment of any American or treasonous collusion with Russia. Barr, meanwhile, says he seeks to restore the credibility of the FBI and Department of Justice by getting answers about the unprecedented probe of the Trump campaign by intelligence officials.
The efforts against Trump affiliates included national security letters, wiretaps, and the use of overseas intelligence assets. The New York Times reported yesterday that CIA officials are nervous about being asked questions about their role against the Trump campaign. After years of using the false allegation that Trump was a traitor to undermine him and his administration, the media, Democratic operatives, bureaucratic resisters, and NeverTrump holdouts are now on the defensive.
The Resistance was certain that Trump would be subject to a party primary, and some worked very hard to find a legitimate candidate to primary him. A primary opponent would allow NeverTrump Republicans months or even a year of time to work with media allies in opposing Trump. Instead of a legitimate candidate, they have found Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor and the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee. Everyone knows that his candidacy is not serious, and certainly not a serious threat.
Nothing has turned out the way the Resistance had hoped. Far from their fever dreams of global chaos and economic catastrophe, the Trump agenda is turning out to be surprisingly successful, whether in economic invigoration or repositioning with China. The Republican Party is, despite all the best efforts of its fervent opponents, united. The media do not want to report these fundamental issues, choosing instead to claim, as per usual, that Trump is in “crisis.”
Just because Trump is a favorite to win re-election does not mean it is automatic. Much matters on who the Democrats nominate. But there, too, they face a tough situation. They need to tap into party excitement to win, but the excitement is on the far left of the party. The current front-runner Biden may be too much like 1996 Bob Dole or 2012 Mitt Romney, neither of whom had the energy needed to unseat vulnerable incumbents.
The theory in 2012 was that dislike of Barack Obama would be sufficient for Romney to win. It was not. Alternately, Democrats could go the riskier route and nominate someone who taps into the energy of the leftist base, such as Warren or Sanders. But then there’s a question of whether Trump would throttle them and their unpopular positions in a general election match-up.
Rather than assess the race honestly, including that Trump is overseeing a healthy domestic and global situation and is currently a favorite to win re-election, the media and other Resistance members need to keep up the illusion that Trump is an aberration and in dire trouble, a narrative they would like to run through the fall of next year in the hope that 2020 will reward their efforts to influence voters in a way 2016 did not.