Trump’s GOP Allies Recoil; Will He Stay in the Race?
Author: Greg Valliere
July 31, 2020
FIRST, LET’S GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY: There will be an election on Nov. 3; only Congress has the authority to delay it. Unless there’s a landslide, the results may be disputed — and mail-in vote-counting could take at least a week.
THEREIN LIES DONALD TRUMP’S ASSERTION that the election will be fraudulent — “rigged,” as he repeatedly claims. His base may believe unsupported claims about mail-in voting, so at the least a Joe Biden presidency could be undermined, Trump apparently believes.
BUT A REMARKABLE THING HAPPENED YESTERDAY: Virtually every Republican of note recoiled at Trump’s suggestion that the election could be postponed. He might have thought there would be support for his idea, but there was none. His GOP allies were aghast.
PERHAPS TRUMP WAS TRYING TO DEFLECT attention away from yesterday’s woeful economic data (unemployment claims, now rising, were particularly troubling). Or perhaps he was trying to deflect attention away from his inability to get a stimulus bill passed. Or perhaps he wanted to deflect attention away from the funeral of civil rights icon John Lewis.
IN ANY EVENT, THIS MOVE BACKFIRED SO SPECTACULARLY that people we talked with last night were speculating — once again — about whether Trump could throw in the towel.
NOT EVERY POLL IS WRONG: They overwhelmingly show Trump not just losing the election, but barely ahead in states like Texas. He hates to lose, so Trump has to be worrying about a humiliating defeat. The economy, which he was counting on, hardly looks like the “rocket ship” that he has been promising. And while new cases of Covid-19 may be leveling off in parts of the Sunbelt, fatalities continue to surge.
COULD TRUMP CONSIDER DROPPING OUT OF THE RACE just before the Aug. 24-27 Republican convention? Could he claim that the deck is stacked against him — a conspiracy that would preclude his re-election? This stunning option cannot be ruled out.
IF THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO SLUMP, with Trump unable to get a desperately needed stimulus bill through Congress, with polls still showing him far behind, we think there’s a 25% chance he will bow out in a blaze of recriminations and self-pity.
AT THIS POINT
Mike Pence would have a better chance than Trump in the general election, many Republicans are saying in private. Trump’s base and evangelical Christains would gladly vote for Pence — who might give the GOP an outside chance of keeping the Senate, which almost surely will fall if Trump heads the ticket.
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