Trump Can’t Win in 2020; But Democrats Could Lose

If the 2020 election were simply a question of whether voters want President Trump to serve another term, he would lose. His Job Approval ratings have consistently been in the low to mid-40 percent range nationwide and it’s no better in potential battleground states. polling shows the president getting positive reviews from just 44% of Ohio voters and 43% of Florida voters.

But, it’s important to remember that if the question in 2016 had been whether voters wanted Donald Trump to be president in the first place, the answer for most would have been no. In fact, 10% of all voters cast their ballot for him despite believing he was unqualified for the job. The current president was elected simply because the Democrats nominated someone whom many voters considered even less appealing. It’s stunningly sad that both major parties nominated candidates disliked by most Americans on Election Day.

Could it happen again? Yes.

The danger for Democrats this time is policy oriented rather than personality focused. A center-left candidate with mid-western appeal would be a heavy favorite against President Trump. But many of the party’s most enthusiastic voters dream of a progressive candidate who would want to make the country more like California. Such a candidate could once again convince many swing voters that President Trump is the lesser of two evils.

Shortly after announcing her entry into the race, Senator Kamala Harris provided an early example of the dangers facing the Democratic Party on the topic of health care. Polling shows that voters like the aspirational ideas of Medicare for All or a single-payer health insurance plan. There is a strong belief that in a nation as affluent as ours, every American should have access to quality medical care.

But there is a big difference between the slogan and the policy. To implement such a health care plan, Harris said she wanted to ban private health insurance companies. Many progressive politicians share that view, but it’s a non-starter with voters. Voters want more choices, not fewer. Only 17% want to get rid of private health insurance companies.

The same dynamic can be found on other issues as well. On immigration, polling shows that 79% of all voters believe illegal immigration is bad for the nation. Yet, 59% of Democrats say they’d be likely to vote for a candidate advocating open borders.

On abortion, most Americans support a woman’s right to choose. But only 15% believe abortions should be allowed at any point during a pregnancy. Yet that’s precisely the position leading Democrats have been advocating.

Perhaps the biggest danger for Democrats comes from the Green New Deal. Led by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this progressive dream would give the federal government the power to transform the entire U.S. economy. Most Democratic presidential hopefuls have signed on to the plan, but voters have not.  Just 18% believe the threat of climate change makes it necessary to give the federal government sweeping new powers to control the economy.

The more that the Democratic nominee embraces these fringe policies of progressive politics, the more likely that nominee is to turn off the swing voters who are looking for somebody new.

Put it all together and it’s quite possible the Democrats could nominate another candidate who could lose to Donald Trump.

Posted in Scott's Columns

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