Democrats have reason to be hopeful about their 2020 chances. President Donald Trump has been a historically unpopular president, and polling suggests he has many vulnerabilities — not the least of which are his chronic lying and his apparent criminal history.
But Trump retains solid support of his party, making any potential primary challenge unlikely to succeed. And even with relatively weak public standing, he’ll have the advantage of incumbency heading into 2020. While his initial entry into politics looked like a lark and his chances at entering office looked far-fetched, Trump will be running again while holding the title of the presidency, and that matters. He could also benefit from third-party spoilers entering the race or deep divisions weakening the eventual Democratic nominee, which could allow him to eke out victory even if most of the country wants him gone.
So Democrats shouldn’t assume the 2020 general election will be a cake walk and focus only on the coming primary fight. They should begin thinking about how to run against Trump in 2020 — assuming he’s still in office. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin offered a strong proposal Thursday for the campaign against him.
Part of the problem — one Hillary Clinton faced — is that there are so many arguments to make against Trump’s re-election that they can all get lost in the noise and no clear narrative will emerge.
“Democrats and Republican primary challengers hardly need to make the case that Trump is racist, dishonest and unethical,” Rubin noted Thursday in a Washington Post op-ed. “A large percentage of the electorate already buys that. The presidential contenders can let the House investigators show that he is corrupt, abused power and obstructed justice; they can let prosecutors make the case that Trump’s also a law-breaker.”
Trump’s biggest vulnerability, she argued, is that he is a loser. Hammering home this message could hurt him even with his beloved base, which clearly doesn’t care about his racism, misogyny, and corruption. It does care about the fraudulent image of success Trump has crafted for himself.
She noted that Trump’s tariff war, North Korea negotiations, Affordable Care Act repeal attempts, tax cuts, government shutdown, and border wall fights have all ended up being political failures. “So much losing,” she said.
“He’s a loser, temperamentally and intellectually unfit from the start and incapable of learning on the job,” she said, emphasizing the key message for Democrats. “It’s a powerful political argument against someone who depends on the image of toughness, and it has the benefit of being true. “