Here’s why Trump still has a shot at a surprise victory in November

Here’s why Trump still has a shot at a surprise victory in November
President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the press along the South Lawn driveway of the White House Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to South Carolina. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
Election '20

As the coronavirus death toll continues to increase in the United States and American cities are being rocked by huge “Justice for George Floyd” protests, President Donald Trump is not looking good in the polls. One poll after another has found Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee — some of them by double digits. But journalist Daniel Strauss, in an article published by The Guardian on June 24, stresses that there is still a chance that Trump will somehow manage to pull off a surprise victory in November.

“If Donald Trump wins the 2020 election and returns to the White House, it won’t be by a landslide,” Strauss explains. “And if he’s going to win at all, he will need the U.S. economy to rebound, to see suburban voters swing back in his direction, and overwhelm voters with a sense of optimism about another term under Trump. That’s the verdict of about a dozen Republican veteran political strategists and operatives spoken to by the Guardian.”

Trump’s campaign has been favoring a rally-the-base approach. But Strauss notes that according to the GOP strategists the Guardian interviewed, the MAGA base alone will not get Trump reelected.

Republican pollster Rex Elsass told The Guardian, “He has to remind people that what he said he would do, he’s done. Clearly, the things out of his control are the only things that are hampering him. So, he needs to remind people that when things are normal — and they will be — they won’t be chaotic forever.”

But Another GOP strategist, Whit Ayres, believes that Trump is fighting an uphill battle and that Biden is a stronger candidate than former Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton was four years ago.

Ayres told The Guardian, “It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump winning a referendum on his presidency unless the world changes dramatically between now and November. So, that means his best hope of reelection is to make it a choice where Joe Biden becomes defined as an unacceptable alternative. That’s going to be substantially more challenging than it was in 2016 because Joe Biden doesn’t generate the same degree of animosity as Hillary Clinton did.”

Moreover, Ayres added, Biden has a variety of possible paths to victory.

“You’re looking at Arizona, Georgia seems close, Texas seems close, Iowa and Ohio seem like tossups right now that Trump won comfortably,” Ayres told The Guardian. “Biden seems to have a pretty significant lead in Michigan, and Pennsylvania is his home state. Wisconsin seems to be the closest of the big three up in the Rust Belt. There are a lot different scenarios where Biden could get to 270 as well as Trump getting to 270 because there are so many more states in play than the half dozen that we usually focus on.”

GOP strategist Stuart Stevens, who has joined the anti-Trump conservative group The Lincoln Project, believes that a heavy African-American turnout in November could doom Trump’s campaign.

“If non-white turnout goes back to what it was in ‘12, ‘08, even ‘04, Trump should lose,” Stevens told The Guardian. “If it doesn’t, he has a shot.”

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