Donald J. Trump will be reelected in 2020. My hands shake as I tap out these words on my laptop. However, it is inevitable. You disagree? OK. Good. But I have my reasons and I will lay them out for you…
Before we begin, a disclaimer: I am not a political operative, journalist or someone who has a livelihood effected by me giving my views. I am a Democrat. I am an engaged citizen. I am a Catholic by upbringing and an agnostic by life. I love my country. I grew-up in a very political home where my Republican father (Richard J. Whalen) was advisor, writer and dealmaker for three Republican presidents: Nixon, Reagan and GHW Bush. I also have been teaching, writing and speaking about the media, entertainment and the business of media for decades.
Here are my ten reasons:
1. Trump is a brand not a politician.
As we have seen over and over since January 2017, Trump rejects politics and the endless tug-of-war that is our political system. In the opinion of many, the man is a master marketer and media manipulator of the highest order. The Presidency has given him a bird’s eye view of the country and how he can swoop down on any target, issue or person and force conflict. That said, the reason why he will be reelected is that his name was a household name for decades before he ran for president. He has had a mixed report card with the many companies built on his name. Maybe you never stayed at his hotels, read his books, bought his clothing, ate his steaks, flew on his airline, played golf at his resorts, lost money at his casino or bought one of his luxury condos, however, his name is everywhere. On TV, he became a “C list” celebrity with his show “The Apprentice”. As far back as the 1980s, Lou Reed wrote a song called “Sick of You” which names the Trump family specifically because of Trump’s constant visibility in the New York press. The Democrats keep sending mere mortals to do battle with a household brand name. Only someone with a brand as big as Trump’s (Oprah, The Rock, Michelle Obama, etc.) maybe could out shout “the other king of all media” and change our political narrative in 2020. Not likely.
2. Trump’s “fake news” strategy has worked.
Since the election of 2016, Trump has done battle with the media and been their darling by dominating almost every news cycle for 3 years. On podiums all over the country, he has been saying “the radical left media” is making up news about him because they are afraid of him “doing what’s best for America”. He’s been referring to CNN as the “FNN — the fake news network.” His supporters have chased CNN, New York Times and other news crews out of his rallies after one his shouting diatribes about the media.
The Democratic response to this tirade has been pathetic by comparing Trump to Hitler and the early Nazi party’s takeover of the German press in 1933. Our country barely knows our own history — how can you make a compelling case about Hitler if only a few people remember why the comparison of Trump to Hitler is so frightening? Into the history vacuum the Republican party has come to create their own narrative about what’s happening in “their” America. In three short years, Trump has made news organizations reporting facts meaningless to the audiences who are waiting to hear what they WANT to hear. How can a new idea or concept from any candidate but Trump breakthrough in this media environment? Answer: it cannot.
3. The Democrats keep giving us elitist candidates out of touch with America.
I rarely agree with Fox News about anything, however, they have described the Democratic Party in 2019 as a cabal of super-self righteous super-educated and many of them very wealthy folks who look down on the “red states” as poor hapless and hopeless “red neck” idiots being led around by the nose by Donald Trump. Have you been to a red state recently? Spoken to someone from Texas, Alabama or Mississippi? I have. My fellow countrymen aren’t being led anywhere. They want what will be best for them and their families. But it is their blinding arrogance which has Democrats look down on their own citizens which will lose the Democrats the election (again) in 2020. It also explains why people like Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Michael Bennet thought they could get into the race and win. Really? Are you speaking to me? I am a fucking Democrat and you are not talking to me and what’s important to me. I live in New York City the BLUEST city in America and they are not connecting with their own people. Amazing.
Barak Obama was a once-in-a-hundred years combination of implacable Ivy League pedigree with Hollywood charisma and media ready sensibility. But the Democrats took the wrong lessons from the success of two terms of Obama. Simply put: the Democrats don’t have anyone close to being ready for “Primetime”. When Obama left the stage, there was no heir apparent. A tragic mistake.
4. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are boring.
Joe is trouncing his fellow democrats in the early polls. Bernie and Elizabeth have peaked too soon and they are punching each other out for second place. But what’s more troubling is that I cannot get through entire speech of any of them from beginning to end. They’re boring. REALLY boring. Elizabeth has a plan but where’s the compelling vision I can be aligned with and maybe even volunteer for her? Bernie is all anger and self loathing in a socialist package. Joe is trying to make the sequel to the Barak Obama administration — but we don’t live in that country anymore. That’s how much things have changed under Trump. There’s nothing electric or sexy or charismatic about watching these three Democrats speak about the future. They speak with the same “safe” cadence. At the same time, they are utilizing a subversive set of fear tactics in their droning stump speeches that they accuse Trump of using. No one is scaring me into voting or not voting for someone. America is going to agree with me in that voting booth. Someone needs to step up and lead on the Democratic side. Trump isn’t afraid to lead.
5. Wall Street loves Trump.
Finance guys love Trump. The President has made it so much easier for these money folks to make MORE money — lots and lots of money. By creating an environment that Trump calls “taking care of business”, the US economic engine that Obama repaired has gone into light speed under Trump: since the 2016 election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has soared by more than 50 percent to more than 28,000 points. The S&P 500 has climbed by more than 50 percent to more than 3,200 points. The Nasdaq composite has risen by more than 70 percent to more than 8,800 points. In case you don’t know the market, this is trillions and trillions of dollars of market capitalization. So, you can expect Trump to be awash in Wall Street money come the 2020 election. Don’t forget that Trump rolled back many of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act in 2018 to grease the financial skids of the finance industry further by removing many of the regulations put in place after the financial meltdown of 2008.
By contrast, Wall Street is terrified by the idea of Sanders or Warren as president. Wall Street sees these candidates’ proposed tax plans and financial regulations as the beginning of democratic socialism in America. Trump has, of course, amplified these shrieks of horror at his rallies by calling both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “communists”. This is, of course, hysterical Sunday morning talk show woo woo. However, the siren call of Wall Street has been felt on the Democratic campaign trail as several “promising” candidates have seen their donation dollars dry up… fast. No one wants to pay for the election of a socialist president in America. In this world, FDR and AOC are also considered “socialists.”
6. Trump’s impeachment will backfire on the Democrats.
Let’s be serious… Trump’s “impeachable” offense is the kind of old school horse trading that is done behind closed doors on Capitol Hill everyday. Was Trump’s mistake doing this on the phone with 30 people on the line and having the discussion recorded? Perhaps. He was certainly abusing his position but he has a clear intention for the “benefit” of the country.
In 1931, Al Capone went to prison for tax evasion and prohibition charges even after he was accused of dozens of murders and terrorizing whole neighborhoods in Chicago. Do we nab our “bad guys” on anything we can pin on them or are the Democrats using the impeachment procedure as a way of trying to discredit Trump before the election? Both? There are many who say that this are the Democrats “hail mary” play before the election they know they cannot win. Certainly the framers of our Constitution worried that impeaching a President could be used for political gain. The Democrats should beware while they are busy chastising Trump.
It’s simple: the impeachment of Trump will backfire on the Democrats. Why? The Republicans and independents don’t care what “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” and her band of communist buddies in the House have cooked-up against the President. The charges against Trump seem rather innocuous given Trump’s long “shady” personal history, controversial public statements, his frequent angry Tweets and closed door reputation. This might be the first time in American history where the (probably illegal) personal exploits of a President have shown a more positive spin on his impeachable exploits in office. Said another way, can you imagine what Trump would have said if 30 people had not been on that call?
Since the Summer, Trump has characterized the Democrats as “do nothing” while the House Democrats want to be seen in the impeachment process as the “Saviors of the Republic”. You might remember that Nancy Pelosi has spent more than a year trying to stop the impeachment train from rolling. She saw all of this happening many months ago. Whether or not Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment to the GOP controlled Senate for quick acquittal of the President is irrelevant. Sadly, the Democrats will take this one in the teeth just as the 2020 election cycle starts in earnest and you will see the Democratic primary candidates try to distance themselves from the whole impeachment mess. (deep sigh)
7. Replacing a President (even Trump) in peacetime with a roaring economy and a jobless rate under 4% is almost impossible.
Given that no president running for reelection in the postwar era has been defeated with unemployment at less than 7.4 percent, the record of Trump on the jobs front alone sets him as a formidable candidate for reelection against anyone Democratic or Republican. Furthermore, GDP growth has risen from the 2 percent average of the Obama years to 2.5 percent, with two quarters of the Trump years significantly clocking in above 3 percent. If Trump wants to run on a “peace and prosperity” platform, he can easily. Many Americans like easy to understand platforms like “peace and prosperity”.
8. America is not ready for a gay or Jewish president.
I am a big fan of Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He is smart, speaks well and has a vision for America. He was a veteran. The problem is that he’s gay. Like really, really gay — like married gay. You know, gay. Not TV gay. America has gone kicking and screaming into a future where they are trying to accept gay people versus simply tolerating them. America is not ready for a gay president. I am very proud to support Buttigieg and I think he might be the most media savvy person in the Democratic field this election cycle. But the other slight problem with Mayor Pete is that he’s another Harvard educated lefty elitist who went slumming and got a “working man” type public service gig as mayor of South Bend, Indiana after cashing-in hard at McKinsey & Company. Also, things in South Bend haven’t really improved very much during his term. Drugs and crime.
Mike Bloomberg is someone that I would vote for as well. We was my favorite mayor of New York City and the man knows his way around a spreadsheet. His problem: he’s old. 77 years old. Also, he’s Jewish. Robert Jeffress, who spoke at President Trump’s private inaugural prayer service and is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas said: “all Jews are going to hell.” Can you imagine where things would go in a Trump vs. Bloomberg campaign? Said simply, Americans are not ready to have a Jewish President. We don’t live in era of tolerance. We live in a time of deep divisions and Bloomberg’s religious “differences” will not endear him to a nervous electorate who can see past all of Trump’s sexual and financial misdeeds as the hero of the religious right. Wow.
9. Women will vote for Trump.
At least 17 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct including: rape, groping, unwanted sexual advances and more in the years before he became President of the United States. It is clear from his Twitter rants that Trump is threatened by strong women like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg. He has a “thing” around women. Experts look at Trump’s behavior and say his need to dominate (and humiliate) women comes from a deep seated insecurity. Most bullies are actually insecure which feeds their bullying, but for Trump, he doesn’t quite know how to handle himself around women.
Despite all of the accusations and all of the stories about Trump, polls suggest that as many as 95% of Republican women who voted for him in 2016 will vote for Trump again. Why? Despite how many of these women might feel about Trump personally and privately, there is tremendous financial pressure from their families and co-workers, pressure from Christian groups and from other political groups to keep Trump in office for their own good. The point is being made over and over again that Trump is putting money in their pockets because of his policies (some would argue whether or not his tax cut has hurt middle class families). Being led by their wallets might be reason enough for these ladies to hold their moral noses in the voting booth.
On the other side of the aisle, Independent and Democratic women voters may not vote for Trump because they will probably NOT VOTE AT ALL. Many of these voters are disgusted by the political landscape after the 2016 loss of Hilary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren has not turned out to be the candidate that most women can turn to for a President that will stand-up for their rights. Why? Warren’s policies. For many independent and moderate Democratic women voters, Warren’s policies are “too extreme”. Also, the issue of biological rights (including abortion) will be fought soon in the Supreme Court and many of these issues divide women into shards and pieces that election pollsters cannot get a handle on easily. It can be said, however, for every Democratic woman who does not vote — count a victory for Trump.
10. The electoral college problem.
In 2016, Trump got 62,984,828 votes to Clinton’s 65,853,514 votes. Trump won because he got 304 electoral votes and Clinton garnered 227, as two faithless electors defected from Trump and five defected from Clinton. It was the 5th time in history that the winner lost the popular vote. Said simply: the electoral map has not changed and many of the same issues that Hilary Clinton faced in November 2016 will be facing a yet to be determined Democrat in November 2020. So, even if I am wrong and the 2020 election is close, Trump will win because of the electoral college.
The Electoral College was created by our nervous Founding Fathers in the Constitution, in part, as a compromise so the lesser populated states (let’s call them “red states”) would have the same ability to effect a Presidential election as the more populated “Blue” states — or purple states in the case of Florida. You need 270 electoral votes to be President. Given our history and how the electoral college designed things, Trump will win unless there are some major upsets in places like Texas, Florida and Ohio. The midterm elections have given us mixed messages on where these “swing” states stand this cycle.
Pundits and prophecies are rarely correct. I am certainly no pundit. I am simply looking at the environment here at the end of 2019 and all signs point to Trump’s reelection. Can things change? Yes. Will they change enough to effect the vote? That’s a better question but its impossible to answer. For example, what if Michelle Obama announced her candidacy? Trump will lose by a lot. Oprah? Probably a similar outcome. I don’t think anyone new is coming off the bench to “save” the Democrats. Maybe we let the White House go in 2020 and the Democrats should pick off Republican Senators like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky? Can ex-Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath beat him after losing a house run in 2018? Needless to say, that will be one bloody battle in Kentucky and a bellwether for the country — so I’ll be watching that race as well if any of the Democratic Presidential Candidates wants to step-up and lead. We’ll see…