“Stupid, the problem is the economy.” When the US media analyzed Trump’s re-election prospects recently, the “election quote” was frequently mentioned. This sentence was a campaign slogan created by Clinton’s campaign strategist James Cavill in 1992, and was later described as the “artifact” of Clinton’s defeat of Bush.
At the beginning of March 1991, just after the Gulf War, polls showed that US voters had 90% approval of then-President Bush. Bush’s re-election with such a high degree of recognition made the powerful presidential contenders such as Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson and other Democrats retreat. A rising star in politics, Clinton, said, “The fool, the problem is that the economy” changed everything. Before the 1992 election, Bush ’s disapproval soared to 64%.
Indeed, the problem is the economy. The US economy entered a recession from 1990. Although the economy has started to decline and recovered moderately in 1992, negative effects have been caused. Bush Elder finally became “a president”, which is undoubtedly related to Clinton’s smart campaign strategy. But behind this cleverness is a basic logic of American election politics-the economic recession is the “heel of Achilles” of the current president. After World War II, no incumbent president has won re-election in the context of a recession. Before Bush, there were Republicans Ford and Democrats Carter.
If this basic logic is still valid, Trump’s Achilles’ heel is already looming. A series of recent economic data and economic expectations indicate that Trump’s prospects for re-election are a red light. For example, the United States’ economic growth rate this year fell from 3.1% in the first quarter to 2.1% in the second quarter. The 10-year long-term U.S. Treasury bonds and the short-term Treasury bonds, such as two- and three-month bonds, have inverted yields. This upside down phenomenon successfully predicted the past six economic recessions in the United States with an accuracy rate of 100%.
From June 2009 to August this year, the US economic expansion has continued for 122 months. If this state ends in Trump’s remaining term, it will be a nightmare for his re-election campaign. Even if the US economy does not show negative growth before the 2020 election, the declining growth rate will cause political harm to Trump.
During the 2016 election, Trump promised to keep the annual US economic growth rate at 3% to 4%. The US economic growth rates in 2017 and 2018 were 2.2% and 2.9%, respectively. In early August this year, the Congressional Budget Office reduced the growth rate of the US economy from 2.5% to 2.3% this year and expects it to drop to 2.1% in 2020.
Trump’s other promise is to cut the trade deficit. But according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, since Trump took office, the U.S. trade deficit has widened by 25%. In other words, Trump has not and will not deliver on his promises. We must know that the performance of the US economy is Trump’s political trump card, and the recognition of Americans for his economy has always been higher than that of his overall recognition.
Even if Trump can break the “magic”, put an end to the historical logic of the recession’s inability to be re-elected, there are more realistic problems that have caused him headaches. From August 13th to 15th of this year, Fox News, the hardcore media supporting Trump, conducted polls nationwide, showing that Trump’s hardcore supporters are being lost.
According to that survey, Trump’s advantage against Democratic presidential candidates among white voters was the largest against Harris (7%) and the smallest against Biden (1%). In the 2016 election, Trump led Hillary ’s white voters by more than 20%. Among voters with a college education level, Trump was 37% ahead of Hillary (66% vs. 29%). In a Fox News survey, Trump’s biggest lead in this group was against Warren, only 18%.
Winning Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and other swing states with a slight advantage is the key to Trump’s 2016 election. But in the November 2018 midterm elections, the governorship of these states fell into the hands of Democrats. In the 2020 elections, whether these states will “swing” to Trump is undoubtedly a big question mark.
With the prospect of a recession, a loosening of the basic market, and a shaken state, can Trump be in a hurry?