Damn the Impeachment Torpedoes; Full Speed Ahead
I started to write a column months ago about how President Trump could easily win reelection, but then the Democrats’ impeachment distraction intervened, and I set it aside.
Today, after watching the partisan impeachment railroad run out of steam, and simultaneously seeing many Democratic presidential candidates doing the same, I am more confident than ever about Donald J. Trump securing a historic second term.
Let’s start with the polls. I’ll admit even I was surprised when a recent round of surveys showed the president firmly ahead of each and every one of his Democratic opponents in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Did someone paint the blue wall red?
Maybe it was Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, who hijacked Congress and tried to use it as a political weapon to short-circuit the electoral process. To paraphrase von Clausewitz, “Impeachment is the continuation of electoral strategy by other means.”
Though the people of the great state of California may be happy to see President Trump impeached for coloring outside the lines, the people of the Midwest, South and Mountain West who voted for him to be the Great Disruptor no doubt see things very differently. After watching Congress do nothing for two years except try to unseat the people’s president on a host of trumped-up charges, it is very likely that there will be hell to pay in 2020. That means not just a Trump victory, but also a larger Republican majority in the Senate and very likely a House of Representatives that will flip from the Democrats to the Republicans.
The Democrats, however, did not have to impeach President Trump to seal their doom, at least in presidential politics. The cake was already baked, and the icing on it is Trump’s just-won’t-quit economy. In 1980, Ronald Reagan asked Americans to vote based on whether they were better off than they were four years ago. For the vast majority of folks today, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Sure, lots of voters still don’t like Trump’s bluster and bravado, but God help the Democrat who comes between them and their 401(k).
Even if you take both the impeachment hoax and the economic renaissance off the table, Trump would still be the hands-down favorite for reelection. That’s because there has always been a clear path to victory for him in 2020, and it goes straight through the Supreme Court. There are several other issues that will boost Trump’s chances for reelection, but none quite as ripe as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The octogenarian justice is locked in a life-or-death battle (literally) with President Trump to see who can outlast the other.
Trump’s ally, of course, is time. Ginsburg, 86, has beat the clock on numerous occasions, surviving multiple bouts with cancer and other ailments to which the flesh is heir, but actuarial statistics give voters a reasonable expectation that were Trump reelected, he would be appointing a successor to Ginsburg at some point. This also goes to a lesser extent for Stephen Breyer at age 81 and possibly Clarence Thomas at age 71 and Samuel Alito at 69.
Almost everyone agrees that Trump’s promise to appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court energized his base in 2016 and helped to cement his victory. Although liberals will also use this issue to their advantage, it is a safe bet that taking the court back from activist liberal judges will play well for the president in the battleground states.
Another factor that makes Trump the favorite next year is that he has proven himself to be a problem solver whereas the Democrats are living up to their party symbol and acting like obstructionist donkeys.
The president has not always succeeded in delivering on his promises, but no one has ever doubted his hard work trying to find solutions to the border crisis, the opioid crisis, the trade imbalance and much more. Meanwhile, what have the Democrats done? Take a moment to make your list, because you won’t need more than a moment.
Oh, sure, the Democrats in the House announced — on the same day they announced that they were going to impeach President Trump — that they would pass the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, but that was just window dressing. They could have passed that important agreement months ago.
Honestly, the only thing the Democrats have going for them is the media trying to whip voters into a frenzy with the constant drumbeat of anti-Trump news, but doesn’t that ultimately play into Trump’s hands, too? If everyone is throwing haymakers at him, and he keeps getting up off the mat, doesn’t he start to attain folk hero status? It’s no accident that the Hong Kong protesters were hoisting posters that depicted Trump as Rocky when they marched through the streets last month.
Finally, you can’t overestimate how important it is that President Trump has connected to minority communities in ways that are extraordinary for Republicans. Rasmussen Reports announced on Nov. 22 that 34% of blacks now support the president. The same result was confirmed by Emerson Polling just a few days later. If that holds true, it would be impossible for him to lose reelection. Remember, he only got 8% of the black vote in 2016.
There are multiple reasons why Trump is polling well among blacks and other minorities, including Hispanics. You can start with the record low unemployment among African Americans. The president famously asked blacks in 2016 when he was soliciting their votes, “What the hell do you have to lose?” The answer is now clear — they could lose their decades-long poverty under Democratic policies.
The president also got a big boost among minorities when rapper Kanye West endorsed him. Throw in Trump’s support for criminal justice reform, his grant of clemency for great-grandmother Alice Johnson (serving a life sentence for a minor drug crime), his intervention with the Swedish government to free rapper A$AP Rocky, and his pardon of boxer Jack Johnson more than 100 years after he was railroaded for having a white girlfriend, and you can easily understand why blacks might agree with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Promises made, promises kept.”
Since President Trump likes to go big and bold, I would expect him to put his reputation for solving problems to use in 2020, especially with the minority community. We have seen attention increase in 2019 to the plight of American cities, from Baltimore to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as the murder rate has spiked in the former and the homeless are taking over whole neighborhoods in the latter two cities, terrorizing businesses and families with an onslaught of drug paraphernalia, defecation and crime.
President Trump has suggested he might skip debates against his Democratic opponent in 2020. If he does, I hope he schedules appearances in Harlem, Watts, and the south side of Chicago on the dates in question. It is time for the president to reinforce the words of his inaugural address with action:
“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
If all the Democrats have to run on in 2020 is a failed impeachment, and the president can point to successes in the economy, trade, and foreign affairs as he promises a renaissance for our beleaguered cities, then his victory is not just likely, it is assured.