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Assault on America, Day 141: 2020 will be more than an election -- it’s for the soul of America

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It’s a little hard to remember now but in 2016, candidate Donald Trump proudly boasted how he planned to win everywhere, including in inaccessible bluer than blue enclaves such as his native New York, untouchable midwestern land of Obama Illinois and the people’s republic of California on the left coast.

No one took him seriously; then again, at the beginning of his campaign hardly anyone thought he’d win the Republican nomination either. Trump bragged and bludgeoned his way through the primaries (“Lyin’ Ted”, “Little Marco” and “Low energy Jeb”) to the title of GOP presidential nominee, which naturally stirred questions on whether he could actually make good on his seemingly fantastic general election predictions and bust through the infamous big blue wall of states that appeared impervious to Republicans.

November’s vote provided the answers -- and it was mostly “no”. Trump did manage to wrestle away states heretofore considered “safe” for Democrats -- namely Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin -- but he didn’t come close to besting the otherwise hapless Hillary Clinton in the aforementioned big blue monster states.

Locales with huge urban populations chock full of Democrat constituencies don’t look any easier to take over next year either. But what about several of the others where Trump came close? His campaign is already looking hard at further wresting away Democrat territory. Emily Ward reported at The Washington Examiner, “The Trump campaign believes it can flip several states in 2020, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, according to senior Trump campaign officials ...

“The five states went to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but the campaign says it is confident it can turn them for Trump in 2020.

“’There are some states that we were very close in in 2016, Minnesota being one of them, New Hampshire being another … so I think that, you know, it’s pretty obvious to see what the states are that we fully plan to be competitive in, based on what was close,’ Trump campaign Deputy Communications Director Erin Perrine told the Washington Examiner.”

Confidence is a good thing, and if you’re working for the Trump campaign, you’d better be willing and able to paint a rosy picture of the future or you’re not going to last long. Imagine if Perrine went into a campaign meeting and said something to the effect of, “We’re planning on fighting like heck to hold onto the states we won three years ago but it looks pretty bleak everywhere else.”

It’d be like a staff member telling General Patton to pull back before launching an all-out assault. You don’t expend energy and lives retaking ground you’ve already won, remember?

With a strong record of achievements and a burgeoning economy, logic would suggest President Trump could compete just about everywhere, but reality says it just ain’t so. A Democrat operative quoted in Ward’s story said Trump would be lucky to hold onto the blue states he won against Hillary Clinton and cited a poll indicating Trump lags significantly behind Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, for example.

Public opinion surveys conducted a year and a half before the election and a year before Democrats settle on their presidential nominee aren’t worth a whole lot, but they do offer a snapshot on today’s attitudes. Trump’s approval rating has ticked up a couple points this year but it still hovers in the mid-40’s nationally (and the usually optimistic Rasmussen report even has Trump around 45 percent).

Those who are the least bit ambivalent about Trump see all the glowing media coverage for the back slappin’, hair sniffin’, nude swimmin’, handsy and creepy Joe Biden going around talking about the president being the “divider in chief” and how he, everybody’s favorite Uncle Joe, is the solution to all the nation’s cultural divergences. People forget Biden would become the oldest president ever the day he was inaugurated, and the fact he’s been around the block so many times every dog knows his scent better than the local fire hydrants.

Besides, this is about the time in every election cycle when the fence-sitters and otherwise politically apathetic listen too much to the pundits on cable news channels and big-paper editorial writers and start thinking it’s time for a change. Democrats are best at making the argument since the taxpayer funded sun shines all the time in their universe (maybe a little too much in the case of “climate change”) and they’ve got a federal program to correct every class imbalance.

Voters tend not to be “big picture” people either, and when the media starts tossing out stories about how citizen X is paying a dollar or two more for Chinese manufactured consumer goods at Walmart due to the “trade war” with America’s biggest economic rival/enemy, the ill-informed and especially gullible home in on what the 2020 Democrats and the dried-up old crones on “The View” are grousing about.

No wonder Democrats are bullish on beating Trump next year. Right now, no one’s forced to answer tough questions and the nearly two-dozen presidential candidates are still passing through the discovery phase. Everyone looks good from a distance and the Democrat field includes an aspiring Ancient Roman hero (Cory “I am Spartacus” Booker), a unabashed (fake) Native American flamethrower (Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren), a cool skateboarding idiot who relates well to younger voters (“Beto” O’Rourke), a mixed-race female with impeccable bloodline qualifications for Democrats (Kamala Harris) and of course, Biden and the always good for an anti-Trump insult, crazy Bernie Sanders.

Not to mention the ultimate mid-thirties wave of the future contender, Mayor Pete “Boot-edge-edge” who happens to be gay and quite proud of it. Buttigieg’s sexual orientation might equal a point or two in Democrat primaries but are general election voters really going to care?

Taken together, will any in this eclectic group appeal more to the good folks in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico than Hillary did? Here’s thinking they won’t, so it isn’t quite so outlandish to suppose Trump could compete in these places and maybe pull out a win or two. Democrats will already be devoting huge resources to the so-called “swing” states in addition to trying to bump Trump off in his newfound upper midwestern strongholds. Dollar for dollar Democrats won’t be able to compete everywhere, however. And Trump still possesses the world’s greatest political megaphone, the American presidential incumbency.

Demographically speaking Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado would appear to be the hardest slog for Trump to reclaim their electoral votes, but with Hispanic unemployment at historic lows and Trump’s focus on taking a few percentage points’ worth of support from Democrat constituencies, you never know.

Democrats shouldn’t be too excited -- or Republicans get too down -- about today’s polls. The American electorate is still deep in slumber and tuned-out because of the non-stop back-and-forth in the media to really get an accurate picture now. Will Congress get anything done? Can Trump keep the U.S. out of needless wars? What will the economy look like next year?

And will Democrats pursue impeachment? If they do, one wayward House Republican looks ready to help them. Zachary Halaschak reported at the Washington Examiner, “On Saturday [Michigan Republican Justin] Amash penned a long series of tweets arguing that Trump committed impeachable offenses during special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation. He also knocked Attorney General William Barr’s interpretation of Mueller’s findings, which concluded that the president did not obstruct justice.

“’Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,’ wrote Amash, who said he believes that Trump obstructed justice during the course of the investigation.”

Trump responded via Twitter, calling Amash a “loser” who’s only helping the Democrats. Amash now has a GOP primary challenger, too, so expect some intra-party fireworks in the critical Wolverine State. The quirky but sometimes reliable libertarian Amash isn’t reflective of the attitudes of most Republicans. Time will tell how this plays out.

No one can accurately predict which candidates will do well in certain states next year. There are just too many variables to pin down voter attitudes this far out. The only certain thing is the 2020 election will feature a historic battle between left and right for the soul of America. Everyone ready?

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