Donald Trump's Post-impeachment Calculation
Author: Greg Valliere
February 14, 2020
HUBRIS, THE FATAL FLAW IN WASHINGTON: Donald Trump did not learn any lessons or change his ways after acquittal, as Sen. Susan Collins ludicrously predicted. Instead, Trump has horrified even his supporters in this city with behavior that reinforces our belief that he’s not a shoo-in for re-election, as the financial markets expect.
TRUMP OBVIOUSLY THOUGHT he could do whatever he wanted after dodging his removal from office, but his recklessness in the past few weeks has generated intense push-back:
His bipartisan defeat yesterday in the Senate on his ability to strike Iran;
A smackdown from Attorney General William Barr over Trump’s interference in the Justice Department;
A chilling new brawl with New York state, which Trump wants to punish for investigating him;
A potential defeat from the Senate on the nomination of Judy Shelton to become a
Fed Governor; she’s on very thin ice.
TRUMP IS STILL THE SHAKY NOVEMBER FAVORITE, but as we wrote last Friday, he’s vulnerable on a wide range of issues and faces overwhelming opposition from college educated women, young people, suburbanites and — especially — African Americans and Hispanics. We’re confident that he won’t get 304 electoral votes, as he did in 2016; he needs 270 and would be lucky to get 290.
WHY ARE WE BUCKING THE “TRUMP LANDSLIDE” THEME? Our sense is that the public is weary of the un-ending feuds and tweets. Can’t this guy get along with anyone? Virtually everyone who previously worked in his White House is prepared to eviscerate him as unstable and dangerous — and it’s pretty difficult to tweet that Gen. John Kelly or John Bolton have sinister motives.
THE GREAT WILD CARD: Can the Democrats patch up gaping wounds this summer and unite behind a candidate who can beat Trump? We once thought Joe Biden had a path to 270 votes, but he simply lacks the energy. Bernie Sanders could lose 40 states. Pete Buttigieg isn’t quite ready. Amy Klobuchar still doesn’t have widespread recognition.
MIKE BLOOMBERG IS STARTING TO LOOK like the best bet to defeat Trump. Bloomberg hits back hard, with scathing and witty tweets, while the best Trump can do is mock Bloomberg’s height. Like every other candidate, Bloomberg has flaws, but his endorsement this week by several respected black leaders is a sign that they put winning ahead of “stop and frisk.”
OUT BOTTOM LINE is that Trump simply can’t let well enough alone; he won acquittal and the economy is good (but not great). Yet Trump is addicted to headlines and controversy, so he rises to the bait, tweeting furiously on minor issues from critics who should be ignored. He couldn’t even resist a fight with a 17-year-old girl on climate change.
TRUMP IS HIS OWN WORST ENEMY, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized this morning, and we reiterate — it’s way, way too premature to expect him to win a second term.
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