Trump Re-Election Bid Imperiled By Stagnating Electoral Base

Alex WongGetty Images

As reported in the Inquisitr, a crushing loss in the midterm election has had no bearing on a sitting president’s bid for re-election to a second term. President Trump has insisted that the Democratic surge in the 2018 midterms had nothing to do with him.

“I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. My name wasn’t on the ballot,” Trump told Fox News Sunday, “There are many people that think, ‘I don’t like Congress,’ that like me a lot. I get it all the time: ‘Sir, I will never vote unless you were on the ballot.’ I get it all the time. People are saying, ‘Sir, I will never vote unless you’re on the ballot. I say, ‘No, no, go and vote,'” he added. “As much as I try and convince people to go vote, I’m not on the ballot.”

President Trump’s name will be on the ballot in 2020, and while it is true that most sitting presidents win re-election despite difficult midterm losses for his party, President Trump is unlike any other president in recent history. With that knowledge comes some alarming warning signals that suggest his re-election bid may also be unlike the other presidents in recent history, according to Politico.

One of President Trump’s challenges in the next two years will be to increase his approval rating. President Trump has been persistently unpopular, and despite a spike in his approval ratings prior to the 2018 midterms, they have remained in the 40 percent range. According to Gallup, he is the only president in the modern era who has never reached a 50 percent approval rating. That will have to change for President Trump to win re-election in 2020.

In past midterm elections, the president’s base has stayed home, leading to significant losses. Turnout for President Obama’s election in 2008 was nearly 121 million, but that fell to just under 87 million in 2010. Despite President Trump’s claims, that didn’t hold true in 2018. Estimates that the final count for 2018 midterm voters will settle in around 113 million, which is far closer to the 130 million votes cast in President Trump’s election year than the 79 million cast in the 2014 midterms.

“All the data indicated that voters were really pumped [this year] — that there was an excitement and energy that we didn’t really see in 2010 and 2012,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster who worked for Romney’s 2012 presidential bid. “What you see in this election is not only can Democrats turn their votes out, but Trump demonstrated an extraordinary ability to turn his votes out, too.”

Indeed, the record turnout in the 2018 midterm election indicates that both parties were energized to get out and vote, which does not bode well for President Trump in 2020. The heavy Republican losses suggest that the president has failed to expand his electoral base during the first two years of his presidency.

Nonetheless, historical precedent still stands.

“Be careful of extrapolating 2018 success into what it means for 2020 because it just doesn’t fit,” Newhouse said. “2018 was more of a referendum on President Trump. 2020 is going to be more of a choice. And Trump does much better in a choice battle when he has someone to run against.”