Donald Trump’s Path to Victory

This is how the GOP plans to re-elect Trump in 2020.

Joel Bleifuss May 28, 2019

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump cur­rent­ly has the low­est aver­age pub­lic approval rat­ing of any pres­i­dent since opin­ion polls were invent­ed. He is poised to lose the pop­u­lar vote in 2020, as he did in 2016.

A united and broad anti-Trump front will be essential in November 2020. To the extent that a handful of super-rich liberals jeopardize that unity, they should be named and shamed.

The GOP, how­ev­er, sees a road to the White House, and, again, it runs through the Elec­toral Col­lege. Trump tweet­ed March 19, I used to like the idea of the Pop­u­lar Vote, but now real­ize the Elec­toral Col­lege is far bet­ter for the U.S.A.”

While the Elec­toral Col­lege is inte­gral to a pos­si­ble Trump re-elec­tion, the GOP’s war plans con­tain four oth­er components.

In a March speech at the Roman­ian Acad­e­my in Bucharest, cam­paign man­ag­er Brad Parscale said Team Trump will keep their man in office by spend­ing $1 bil­lion and mobi­liz­ing 1.6 mil­lion vol­un­teers in a data-dri­ven, get-out-the-vote cam­paign tar­get­ing the 36% of the elec­torate in swing states who are inclined to vote for Trump.” The cam­paign will also again invest in Face­book ads to reach the lost, for­got­ten peo­ple of Amer­i­ca.” Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, old­er peo­ple, are on the inter­net, watch­ing pic­tures of their kids because they all moved to cities,” Parscale said. If we can con­nect to them, we can change this election.”

Sec­ond, the Repub­li­can Par­ty will sup­press the vote of Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­stituen­cies — with the help of the five-jus­tice con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty on the Supreme Court (four of whom were appoint­ed by pres­i­dents elect­ed despite los­ing the pop­u­lar vote). In June 2018, for exam­ple, the con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices upheld an Ohio vot­er sup­pres­sion law that purges vot­ers who fail to return an address con­fir­ma­tion form. Mean­while, in the swing state of Ari­zona, the House vot­ed in March to cre­ate new crimes asso­ci­at­ed with vot­er reg­is­tra­tion. Any­one who reg­is­ters a vot­er in Ari­zona but fails to turn in the filled-out reg­is­tra­tion form with­in 10 days could face four months in jail. The good news is that groups across the coun­try, like Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action in Geor­gia, are mobi­liz­ing to ensure access to democ­ra­cy for all.”

Third, the GOP will try to win over afflu­ent sub­ur­ban­ites by smear­ing Democ­rats with the S‑word. We’re going into the war with some social­ists,” Trump told GOP con­gress­men in April. I love the idea of Keep Amer­i­ca Great,’ because you know what it says is we’ve made it great. Now we’re going to keep it great, because the social­ists will destroy it.” Fourth, Politi­co reports that pro-Trump PACs, like Amer­i­ca Ris­ing and Amer­i­ca First, are spend­ing mil­lions pur­su­ing a strat­e­gy intend­ed to pit Democ­rats against each oth­er in a bat­tle of pro­gres­sive bona fides.”

Not that the Democ­rats aren’t already at odds. Par­ty uni­ty hand­wringers fear the Left won’t ral­ly to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date should Sanders or War­ren fail to secure the nom­i­na­tion. (Yes, in 2016, 12% of Sanders vot­ers ulti­mate­ly vot­ed for Trump, accord­ing to the Coop­er­a­tive Con­gres­sion­al Elec­tion Study. It’s a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber, but less than the 25% of Clin­ton pri­ma­ry vot­ers who vot­ed against Oba­ma in 2008.)

Anoth­er threat to uni­ty comes from cen­trists who fume about Sanders at high-end donor soirées. The specter haunt­ing these dis­cus­sions is Howard Schultz, the plutocracy’s des­ig­nat­ed spoil­er. As nov­el­ist Jacob Bacharach observed, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic donor class is not so much wor­ried that Schultz will sab­o­tage 2020 as they are threat­en­ing to ral­ly to Schultz them­selves, and there­by hand the elec­tion to Trump.

A unit­ed and broad anti-Trump front will be essen­tial in Novem­ber 2020. To the extent that a hand­ful of super-rich lib­er­als jeop­ar­dize that uni­ty, they should be named and shamed.

Joel Blei­fuss, a for­mer direc­tor of the Peace Stud­ies Pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri-Colum­bia, is the edi­tor & pub­lish­er of In These Times, where he has worked since Octo­ber 1986.

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