They’re at it again. The same publications and pundits who said Hillary Clinton had a greater than 90% chance of winning in 2016 and were preparing magazine covers about the cultural and historic significance of our first female president are now busy proclaiming that a Democratic president in 2020 is inevitable and Trump has no chance of reelection.
That’s good news for Trump. The greatest strength a presidential candidate can have is to be consistently underestimated by his or her opponent. When you are underestimated by opponents, those same opponents don’t follow your campaign strategy, don’t answer your attacks and don’t promote a policy of their own. They believe it’s enough just to vilify you and flood the zone with happy talk about how wonderful they are.
Meanwhile, at the grassroots, voters are listening and deciding on their own. The voters don’t always give straight answers to pollsters and may not even decide how they’re voting up until Election Day. The opposition has wasted valuable time either not hearing your message or not campaigning in states that are more in play than they realize until it’s too late.
This dynamic worked for Ronald Reagan in 1980. He was tagged as a “dumb actor” and associated with his B-film Bedtime for Bonzo. Yet Reagan worked tirelessly with specific policies that Americans agreed with and pulled out a solid victory in the 1980 elections. (In his 1984 reelection, Reagan carried 49 states, one of the greatest landslides in U.S. history. By then it was too late for his opposition to brand him.)
This dynamic also worked for Trump in 2016. Hillary never even bothered to campaign in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in the final days of the campaign because she was so sure of victory. Trump won them all.
This article is a clear illustration of history repeating. The author relies on an “I hate Trump” wave to be bigger than the “I like Trump” wave. But that’s not how elections are won. They’re won with positive policy suggestions.
Until the Democrats come up with something positive (which they may never do), Trump’s chances of reelection remain strong.
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