Presidential Election 2020

We already know a lot more right now than we typically know more than a year before a Presidential election.

We know (health aside) that Trump is the Republican candidate. And we probably know who the top four Democrats are likely be: Biden, Harris, Sanders, and Warren.

It’s less certain, but we can wisely surmise that the Democrat ticket will include two of those top four possibilities.

We do not know when and how the Democratic field will shake out, and Trump’s head start on fundraising is a cause for concern. At some point, party leaders will try to stop whoever remains of the long-shot candidates from continuing to syphon off precious campaign funds to a lost cause. We also do not know how far those ‘out of it’ candidates might go to improve their standing. At some point, tossing grenades at the likelier nominees becomes counterproductive, and the imperative of beating Trump must win out.

Still, reasons for hope abound. Trump himself, while perhaps continuing to solidify his support from roughly 40 percent of the country, has yet to show how he might draw support from the other 60 percent next year.

Even the incumbent’s best friend, a strong economy, is failing to lift Trump’s prospects. Now, the economy is showing signs of slowing and trade wars are taking a toll. Financial markets will soon begin to reflect that as well.

It is possible, but highly unlikely, that Trump might pull off one or more foreign policy victories. But, a public weary of the belligerence and braggadocio of Trump’s transparent negotiating style isn’t likely to swallow his exaggerated claims of triumph. No, the North Korean nuclear threat is not “gone.” Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than ever, with no real reason to turn back. And, while Trump continues to tout the billions of dollars “pouring in” to the American treasury from tariffs wantonly slapped on friend and foe alike, most people – even Trump supporters – know that money is coming from American pockets.

Despite these seeming advantages – and an electorate that seems largely “baked in” for a Trump defeat in 2020 — wherever I go people keep repeating that they fear that Trump will be reelected.

It’s an understandable worry. Trump was such a fringe candidate in 2016 – one part celebrity scold mixed with hucksterism and a healthy dose of racism – no one took him seriously, except those tens of millions who voted for him.

There can be only one thing that would allow that to happen: lack of turn out resulting from lack of belief in prospect for change.

It is important to talk about health care, income inequality, taxes, and more. It’s valuable to have bushels of 10-point plans.

What is still missing is a gut-stirring message of change.

If it were not already taken ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’ would be fine. Many would settle for ‘Let’s Make America, America Again.’

I like ‘A World Safe for All Americans.’ It speaks to the fears of groups seeing their rights diminished by the Trump administration and allies in red states (reproductive freedom, voting, and immigration) and touches on the broader responsibilities America has in the whole world.

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