I try not to write too much about presidential politics because it’s overdone. As a local economic prosperity advocate and social impact conservative, it’s my long-held view that the real action is here — at the local level. You want to make the world a better place, Dorothy? Start in your own backyard.
Still, since the topic of almost every conversation today is Donald Trump, here are a few political observations.
As of October 2017, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrat, 24% as Republican, and 42% as independent. These numbers are almost certainly worse for Republicans in 2019.
Also according to Gallup, Mr. Trump enjoys 88% approval from Republicans. Is 88% support from only 24% of the electorate sufficient to get reelected? At this point, if I were a betting man, I’d have to say an 88% approval rating from 24% of the American electorate isn’t sufficient to get reelected.
What Mr. Trump has going for him, however, besides a field of presidential hopefuls in the other party that are way out of the political mainstream, is prosperity at home and relative peace abroad.
Historically, presidents who presided over a strong economy and a peaceful world were reelected. Prosperity at home being especially important. Unfortunately, this most unconventional of presidents probably cannot rely on historically conventional assumptions or results. He’s too much of a political wild card and loose cannon.
Moreover, instead of his most diehard supporters (enablers) demanding that he conduct himself in a more presidential manner — with a more presidential tone, and that he allow for some important guard rails to protect him, mostly from himself — they stand on the sidelines and cheer him on.
They cheer and giggle under their breath as he uses the bully pulpit to agitate, antagonize celebrities and political radicals, and ultimately distract from his unequivocal policy successes. And his policy successes are many.
Lowest unemployment and highest equity values in a generation, and an unparalleled military superiority the likes the world has never seen. This is a foundation upon which any president would be thrilled to run for reelection on.
Mr. Trump can ask the famous question Ronald Reagan asked in 1980, sealing his election against Jimmy Carter: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? The answer is unequivocally and unambiguously yes for an overwhelming majority of Americans, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women.
But the math is stubborn. Mr. Trump needs the support of a healthy majority of independents and a respectable chunk of Democrats for the math to work. It’s hard to imagine him getting that support with his current tactics, personality traits, and especially a relentless media-assisted political machine determined to take him down at any cost.
I’ve been candid since 2015 that I’m not a fan of this president’s disposition. But I’m repelled by the churlish, petty attacks from his political enemies in and out of the media industrial complex.
It seems to me the best thing that can happen for Mr. Trump is for Democrats who control the House investigation is to so overplay their hand, something they’re extremely skilled at doing, and to conduct themselves over the next 10-plus months in such a way that they turn off millions of independents, and a lot of moderate Democrats as well.
And since the Democrats are almost certain to do exactly that, meaning they’ll almost certainly make Mr. Trump look good by comparison, will Mr. Trump control himself, stand back, stop tweeting, and watch his political enemies destroy themselves? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is there’s nothing in this president’s past that could convince me to put any of my own money on it.
Joe Armendariz is the executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association.