From the moment President Trump set foot in the White House the mantra of much of the media, many Democrats, and Trump loathers of all stripes was that he likely would not finish his term. He will, take your pick: be impeached and resign under pressure; get so fed up with the attacks, infighting and backbiting that he’ll quit; or he’ll bail out due to health problems. This is the third year of his administration and every one of these predictions has proven wrong.
Trump will serve out his term, and maybe a second one. Here’s why.
The Mueller Report. There will be nothing in the report that directly implicates Trump in colluding with Russian operatives to sabotage the 2016 presidential election. There will be nothing in the report that will directly link him to obstruction of justice or any other illegal activity connected with the election. The report will detail much circumstantial evidence of tampering and collusion and various types of wrongdoing. But the finger pointing will be at Trump associates for their roles in criminal activities. The report that the public and House Democrats see will likely be redacted.
Impeachment. This was a pipe dream from day one. The bar is simply too high. Even if the plausible case can be made that Trump committed an offense that meets the fuzzy constitutional standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” House Democratic leaders, mainly Nancy Pelosi, have dropped long and loud hints that an impeachment move is not going to happen. That’s in part because it’s just too politically risky and could backfire on the Democrats. And, in any event, the GOP-controlled Senate would instantly kill it.
Trump’s Popularity. Much has been made that Trump’s popularity scores consistently hover under 50 percent and that his bread and butter base of white, male, rural, blue collar, less-educated voters are way too narrow for him to win again. However, it’s not his base’s alleged small numbers, but where those numbers are located, and they are in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Those five states either have GOP governors or Republican-controlled legislatures or strong legislative blocs.
Democratic Contenders. They all would handily win California, New York and the handful of other Democratic states. This again could pose the same conundrum that it did for Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. They won the popular vote, but still lost the White House. The Electoral College insures that. The only Democratic presidential contender who can either compete with Trump for his crucial demographic or at best neutralize him with them will likely be a centrist, moderate Democrat from a heartland state.
The problem, though, is that as surveys have shown it isn’t just Trump’s economic message of bringing jobs back that got them on his bandwagon. It was his pandering to racial and immigrant fears that touched a nerve with many of them. It’s this same nerve that makes them defiantly shrug off every mention of Trump’s blatant personal and political malfeasance, as if to say “so what.” Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will be hard-pressed to crack that sentiment even with voters who may like what they have to say.
The Economy. Trump will continue to claim that he put America back to work. It’s a lie, but the reality is that when there’s perceived economic good times the man in the White House benefits politically. History shows that it’s still pretty much the economy that drives voter perceptions of whether a sitting president should remain in the White House.
Trump will have a united, nasty and manipulative GOP behind him, a king’s campaign war chest and the continued slavish infatuation of the mass media with any and every silly, insipid, inflammatory tweet and crack by him. He’ll also again have millions of dollars in free air time that would overwhelm anything the Democrats could counter with.
This is not to say that Trump is a shoo-in for another term. Much can happen in the months in the run-up to November 2020. But it is to say that, at least for now, Trump doesn’t appear to be going anywhere this term, and maybe another.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of “The Russia Probe: What Did Trump Know, And When Did He Know It?” (Middle Passage Press) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L46G65X. He is also a weekly co-host of “The Al Sharpton Show” on Radio One and host of “The Hutchinson Report” on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.