- - Thursday, February 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In my role as talk radio host and television commentator, the one question I get asked by the public more than any other is whether Donald Trump can get re-elected to the presidency of the United States in 2020.

I am always very cautious in my answer. In today’s world of 60-minute news cycles its hard to predict what will happen next week let alone the end of next year, but answer I must.

There is no doubt Mr. Trump evokes a passionate response from supporters and detractors alike. Some would argue he is the most divisive U.S. president in history. Many of those who would otherwise agree with policy initiatives object to the simplest of ideas because it is coming from the Trump administration. One recent poll found 47 percent of America couldn’t imagine voting for Mr. Trump under any circumstance. By this measure re-election is challenging at best.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the tried and true use of the American economy as a gauge. Historically, a strong economy bodes well for any incumbent U.S. president. After years of a stagnant economy the Obama administration told us 1 percent to 2 percent growth was the new normal. Mr. Obama himself mocked then-candidate Trump for suggesting that his economic plan would return the American economy to between 3 percent and 4 percent annual growth. Mr. Obama literally laughed and asked if Mr. Trump had a magic wand.

Apparently, Mr. Trump has been visiting the wizarding world at night because the economy is humming along over 3 percent growth and despite the naysayers, shows no immediate signs of slowing down to anything close to Obama’s numbers.



By that measure Mr. Trump’s chances of re-election seem seriously enhanced.

Perhaps the most significant factor when considering the president’s chances is American mainstream media coverage. The Media Research Center (MRC) has analyzed every moment of news coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since Mr. Trump’s Inauguration Day. The combined total number of viewers of these newscasts is approximately 23 million people nightly.

What MRC found was that the tone of news coverage of President Trump remains overwhelmingly negative: 90 percent of network evening news coverage has been negative. Despite the strong economic growth, the lowest black unemployment rate ever, the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate ever and the lowest women’s unemployment rate in at least two generations, only 10 percent of all network evening news coverage is positive.

In 2018 alone, the three networks spent 858 minutes talking about the Russia “collusion” investigation, 98 percent of it negative toward Mr. Trump. To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of every minute of every CBS evening newscast for about six weeks being completely negative toward the president of the United States, and that was just on one topic. Toss in the negative coverage of immigration, for example, and you have the equivalent of another month’s worth of evening newscasts on any one major network spinning a 100 percent negative tale about Mr. Trump.

You may not like Donald Trump but surely you see the “All Trump, all the time … and all negative” coverage is biased. The impact on millions of American television-watching voters is real. With the mainstream media literally working overtime to sully the president one has to wonder how his re-election can possibly even be on the radar.

Yet it is.

A new Emerson College poll asked registered Iowa voters if the presidential election were held today, would you vote for Donald Trump or for, one at a time, a series of potential Democrat candidates. The results are likely to shock the mainstream media, and probably many Americans as well.

Against early frontrunner California Sen. Kamala Harris, Mr. Trump wins the match-up 53 percent to 47 percent. He beats Sen. Elizabeth Warren 52 percent to 48 percent. According to the Emerson poll, the president crushes Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown handily at 55 percent to 46 percent (don’t ask me how they got 101 percent, perhaps the dead are being polled).

Mr. Trump beats Texas wonder-boy Beto O’Rourke 53 percent to 47 percent. His margin over New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is 54 percent to 46 percent. In fact, in the one on one match-ups President Trump beats all except one Democrat. Mr. Trump beats Nancy Pelosi by 10 percent. He beats Sen. Bernie Sanders by 1 percent.

The only Democrat that tops Mr. Trump is former Vice President Joe Biden. Gaffe machine Joe Biden. The last time Joe Biden announced he was running for president he spent time sizing up his Democrat rivals, including Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. His remarks on Mr. Obama, then the only African-American serving in the U.S. Senate, were as follows: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Wow, a black guy that is articulate and clean? Thanks, Joe.

Considering Mr. Trump’s ability to spew out quotable quotes and Mr. Biden’s reputation for the verbal stumble, this the media’s dream match-up, but I digress.

Of the eight potential Democrat candidates, Mr. Trump leads all of them in the Emerson poll except Joe Biden. Despite the media bias, despite the constant outrage and despite Mr. Trump’s unique ability to say something someone finds offensive even at the most benign event, he still beats nearly all comers.

So can he win in 2020? You bet he can. In 2016, the nearly unanimous answer to the same question was a resounding no. Mr. Trump had no chance. There was no path to 270. Hillary by 9 percentage points. Donald J. Trump stunned the world. His victory was one of the biggest political upsets in American history. Based on that alone you can’t count him out. But based on fact-based empirical data provided by an unbiased polling firm, the president enters the second half of his four-year term with all indicators suggesting that not only can he win again, he will.

Stay tuned.

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