In a Friday op-ed for Politico, American journalist Ben White expressed his belief that the core pillars of Donald Trump‘s re-election campaign — strong economy, stock market, and job growth — are being “smashed to splinters” by the coronavirus pandemic.
White noted that the halted U.S. economy put an end to 113 months of job gains that were reportedly fueled by policies stemming back to the end of the Great Recession in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The former New York Times writer then pointed to the unemployment rate, which has hit 4.4 percent following a record 10 million new jobless claims over the last two weeks. He claimed the latter number suggests the unemployment rate has already exceeded 10 percent, which would make it higher than the peak of the Great Recession.
“It will almost certainly go significantly higher, with some economists warning it could top the 24.9 percent hit during the Great Depression.”
Writing for The Atlantic, Annie Lowry echoed White and paralleled the crashing economy with a decline in the president’s chances of being re-elected in November. But while she predicted economic factors could be a sign of a “Democratic landslide” this fall, she also noted that the current crisis is unparalleled and thus hard to predict.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a black-swan crisis happening to a singular president in an extreme political environment. A number that might signal unavoidable doom for another candidate in another election might not for Trump come November.”
Just a quick reminder: Donald Trump blocked coronavirus testing preparedness in January. He wanted to keep infection figures low to improve his re-election odds. pic.twitter.com/UD2MUri3o4— social distance fan account (@JoelNihlean) March 28, 2020
As reported by Politico, some Democrats are worried that the pandemic could actually help Trump secure another term in November. With the president’s recent shift in tone on the pandemic and the massive stimulus, some Democrats allegedly believe he may be able to harness the crisis for his benefit.
Michael Ceraso, who worked for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016, said that Trump’s initial “mishandling” of the pandemic isn’t a guarantee that voters will blame him at the ballot box.
“But history tells us that an incumbent who steers us through a challenging time, a la Bush and 9/11 and Obama and the Great Recession, are rewarded with a second term.”
Regardless, some, like White, note that the growth Trump has touted on his watch has disappeared. White also pointed to the recent coronavirus stimulus and suggested the favor it played to corporations could harm the president’s chances of re-election.
Joseph Brusuelas, the chief economist at financial firm RSM U.S., was more specific about what numbers will affect Trump’s chances. According to Brusuelas, more than 100,000 deaths and an unemployment rate at 15 percent will prevent the president’s re-election in November.