President Donald Trump has presided over some of the largest economic gains in recent American history, with record low levels of unemployment and a relatively bullish market that has put more money back into investors’ pockets.
Trump’s biggest asset going into 2020 is the strength of the economy we have today, but with thirteen months to go, there is plenty that could go wrong and end up ensuring a Democrat wins the White House next November.
Last week, Moody’s Analytics predicted a large Electoral College margin for President Trump in the 2020 election, based on three economic models covering personal finances, stock market gains, and unemployment numbers. Every outlet from CNN to Fox News ran stories claiming Trump will win a landslide reelection victory largely on economic performance, but it’s necessary to look beyond the headline to see where this optimistic prediction could end up being completely wrong. History is not a perfect crystal ball, but recessionary economic conditions have been less than helpful in the past when Presidents have sought a second term in office.
The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China poses one of the biggest threats to Trump’s reelection chances, with key American companies now forecasting a substantially lower economic growth rate of 1.8% by the end of next year. Moody’s told CNBC that “if the economy a year from now is the same as it is today, or roughly so, then the power of incumbency is strong and Trump’s election odds are very good, particularly if Democrats aren’t enthusiastic and don’t get out to vote.” There is a key caveat to the Moody’s model, and that is the assumption that the economy is performing nearly as well or better on Election Day than it is today.
Moody’s analysts remarked that even a relatively common 12% market correction could cost President Trump the election, further reinforcing the need for strong economic growth through the end of 2020. While negotiating with China is politically advantageous for Trump, the economic effects of these policies may not end up being so helpful come November.
A lot can happen with both the economy and the political arena in thirteen months, where scandals, investigations, and political warfare can radically alter the electoral map at the last moment and ensure victory for even the most unlikely candidate.
Republican voters should keep their fingers crossed for the next thirteen months because it will take more than just enthusiasm to prevent someone like Elizabeth Warren from becoming our next president.
Peter Van Voorhis is a columnist, political strategist, and media commentator, who appears on Fox News Channel, CNN, and other outlets to offer critical analysis on the pressing political issues of our time. He is the Chief Strategist of Magnum Strategies, which provides powerful reputation solutions to leading brands and executives in politics and business. Peter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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