The 2020 presidential election cycle is underway, which means that there are polls out that purport to handicap President Donald Trump’s chances for reelection.
Obviously, it’s too early to pay attention to those polls, but it’s not too early to pay attention to these seven things that will decide the 2020 presidential election.
Before we start, it’s worth noting that foreign policy isn’t on the list. While it’s possible that an international incident can arise, current international conditions are calm by historical standards.
Five years ago, we were watching the ISIS terrorist group behead people on TV with no end in sight. Trump can rightly take credit for ending that.
As for North Korea, while a comprehensive deal related to that country will take some doing, the overall relative calm likely means that foreign policy won’t rise to the level of a decisive factor in the 2020 election.
As for the top seven factors, they are the following:
7. Republican Fundraising
One of the most significant factors in the 2018 election, was the incredible advantage the Democrats had in fundraising. Congressional Democrats raised hundreds of millions more than Republicans, doing so because they matched information, technology, and money with candidates in ways never seen before in a national election.
In 2008, the Democrats were able to elect a president with a technological advantage. The Republicans subsequently caught up. One of the biggest questions for the 2020 election will be whether the Republicans close the fundraising gap.
Two additional notes: With so many Democrats running for president, it may be that their presidential candidates soak up a lot of the money their congressional candidates need. That could help Republicans retake the House.
It’s also likely that the Democrat nominee will start with a fundraising disadvantage. They will likely have to spend every dime they have in order to get the nomination and have no money in the bank after winning the nomination. That would obviously benefit Trump.
6. The Economy
Absent a major unforeseeable circumstance, the economy will be doing well next year. The Trump/Republican tax reforms will pay dividends for many years. The change from territorial taxation (and the double taxation that used to be inflicted on U.S. companies) to worldwide taxation not only allows U.S. companies to bring money back to America, it also makes them more competitive internationally.
Beyond that, much like the lasting effects of the Reagan tax reforms that restored incentives to small business, the Trump/Republican reforms have and will continue to do the same.
It’s also more than likely that Trump will be able to garner a victory in the trade negotiations with China. No, not every issue can or will be resolved. But an improvement over yesterday will be made and that will lift the markets and the U.S. economy.
Low unemployment numbers and rising wages are always helpful to the party in power. In 2020, that means the Republicans.
5. The Republicans’ Health Care Proposal
As the 2018 election demonstrated, a good economy is not enough. For most Democratic voters, the economy is not the most important issue. They didn’t vote the economy in 2018 and they won’t do that in 2020. They want the presidency so they can choose the next Supreme Court justice and they want a large expansion of government in the form of Medicare for All and the so-called Green New Deal and their social-justice causes.
Of course, their Medicare for All proposal is a naked attempt to buy votes. It’s well beyond an unrealistic program but it speaks to a desire by most to have stable and reliable health care. If the Republicans want to win in 2020, once and for all, they have to have a plausible health care proposal that will make voters believe they will have that stable and reliable health care they so desperately want.
If they do, they will blunt the No. 1 issue for the Democrats. If they don’t, they could well hand the Democrats the 2020 election.
4. How Far Left the Democrats Go
The most telling moment of Trump’s 2019 State of the Union was the Democrats sitting stone-faced as Trump said America would never be socialist. Clearly, many Washington Democrats want just that. Their presidential candidates are in a race to see who can promise the most spending and demand the largest tax increases. Beyond that, those candidates and many others are embracing the Green New Deal.
The Pew polling shows rank and file Democrats want their party to move to the center. Their presidential candidates, on the other hand, are moving quite far left quickly. If Democrats nominate a candidate too far to the left, it will have a huge impact on No. 3 and No. 1 ahead.
3. Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg
Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg have enormous egos. So does John Kasich. The other two have something Kasich doesn’t—enough money to run for president without asking anyone for money.
The further left the Democrats nomination process goes, the more likely one or both of them will run. If they do, they likely would draw more votes from the Democrats than the Republicans. In other words, they could help Trump win reelection. Even if they don’t run, they seem intent on arguing against the Democrats’ big spending plans. That could help the Republicans too.
On the other hand, Bloomberg says he is going to spend $500 million to defeat Trump.
2. Trump’s Brand
Trump continues to do more than anyone predicted. Underestimating him in 2020 may be comforting for some, but is less rational than emotional. Nevertheless, Republicans have lost four out of the last five presidential popular votes. Beyond that, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all moved left in the last midterm.
Trump needs to increase his 2016 coalition. He can do that continuing to make his brand Mr. Fix It. Offering solutions versus the government takeovers offered by the Democrats will be key to his 2020 fortunes.
We live in The Divided Era. The Democratic base is solid and committed. The Republican base will be committed as well because the parties are leagues apart. Now, more than ever, Independents will decide the election. If the Democrats go too far left, they will drive Independents toward Trump. If Republicans offer practical solutions in contrast to the Democrats’ government takeovers, 2020 will be a Republican year.
Thomas Del Beccaro is the author of “The Divided Era” and is a former chairman of the California Republican Party.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.