Government shutdown may hurt Trump in 2020

Juan Casas, Courier Staff

Donald J. Trump announced his reelection for the 2020 presidential race weeks after his first term officially began back in January 2017. Since then, he boasts of an improved economy, the stock exchange record high back in 2018 and his tax reform measures that he championed for. His approval rating has seen spikes and drops, from when the tax cuts where passed he enjoyed a relatively small tick in his polling approval rates, while the Charlottesville riot and his following reaction caused him to drop in the approval polls. Overall, he has maintained the 35-45 percent approval rating since he first started his term.

So, when the question arises of whether he has a good chance of winning the 2020 presidential race, both his ups and downs must be taken into consideration. Most recently, the historical record-long partial government shutdown could be seen as both harmful and helpful to his 2020 reelection prospects. It’s harmful because hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay during the entire month of January and it is then safe to assume that they would not support him during the next election cycle. It’s helpful because it appealed to his base. His most devoted followers are now convinced that Trump is truly willing to fight for their cause.

That is why I believe that he holds a semi-plausible chance of winning his reelection, because he has held onto his base and maintained control over the Senate Republicans. If he can maintain his base’s support and keep rank and file Republicans in check, he should see at worst a small chance of winning his reelection or at best a good chance. That being said, what will also determine his chances of winning reelection will be who Democrats choose to throw into the race to challenge him, from Senator Kamala Harris to progressive Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, the Democrats have a long range of potential presidential hopefuls so it’s difficult as of right now to determine who will be his largest Democratic opponent.

If, for example, it does end up being Sanders, Sanders’ image of anti-corporatist and anti-billionaire class might be enough to appeal to progressive Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents to defeat Trump in the general election. If, for example, it is Harris, then Trump will have to face against the appeal of not just having the first woman but the first African- American woman as president. Also, Harris does not have the lag of socialism that Sanders does since she is viewed as a more traditional Democrat and not so much a progressive. So, when it comes to fundraising, Harris should be able to, at least in theory, outraise both Sanders and Trump.

Now, there is always the possibility of another Republican running in the primary and successfully knocking out Trump, although this is an unlikely scenario. As of right now, I don’t think there is any Republican who has even declared their intentions for running for president besides Trump. Yet, this scenario might be the best strategic choice for the GOP, seeing that Trump’s image has been hurt by the Muller investigation. Overall, whether Trump can hold onto his reelection or if the Democratic ticket prevails, it will be up to the average American voter to go out and vote and decide the fate of a nation, and indeed the world.