Trump sold out and there's no way to sugarcoat it. Winning in 2020 will be nearly impossible without a third party spoiler like Howard Schultz. But it doesn't have to be that way. Don't blame voter fraud and certainly don't scapegoat the media or Congress or Jared or Paul Ryan, who are by no means innocent.
As someone who joined Trump's campaign and worked around the clock to get him elected, I'm furious. Even though I knew Trump's history I still remained cautiously optimistic. My hope was that at 70 years old he had grown bored of the money, reality TV, and porn stars, and the only thing left for him to achieve would have been immortality; canonized in every history book for posterity. We rolled the dice but came up snake eyes.
There's no denying that the Establishment has fought Trump's campaign agenda at every turn. But remember, the president is coequal to the 535 voting members of Congress and yet Trump has not used everything in his power to thwart the opposition; not even close.
This is what's most frustrating. Trump has not made a good faith effort to follow through on his biggest campaign promises. Not once has he used the most powerful weapon in his arsenal: the presidential veto.
Donald J. Trump is president, not Jared or Paul Ryan, and his biggest failures are a direct result of either his incompetence or unwillingness to properly address the primary reasons he was elected.
The big, beautiful doors are wide open in 2020.
Trump's not delivering the goods.
In chapter 2 of Art of the Deal Trump says, "You can't con people, at least not for long" before they start to catch on. Well... people are starting to catch on.
And it's not just me or my inner circle. Just look at the comments on Breitbart or threads on conspiracy-type sites like Voat. Once an endless supply of micro-hagiographies in the comment sections, are now littered with rants about his ineffectiveness.
Sure, there have been numerous roadblocks and Trump did inherit a half century's worth of bad policy. That's not his fault, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Trump is the president and he's not doing everything he can to drain the swamp.
He promised to end DACA but he didn't. In fact, he "loves the DREAMers".
He promised to end the "endless wars" but we're still fighting them.
He promised to stop outsourcing tech jobs but he wants to continue importing workers.
He promised to narrow the trade gap but our deficit stands at an all time high.
He promised to stop cheap labor so he doubled H-2B visas to hook up golf courses and hotels, etc.
He promised to rein in spending but our national debt continues to soar.
He promised to end birthright citizenship by executive order before the midterms, but he hasn't mentioned it since.
He promised to stop illegal immigration, but it's worse than under Obama.
He promised to deport illegal aliens, so he signed a huge backdoor amnesty instead.
He promised to mandate E-Verify so illegals can't get jobs, but he hasn't mentioned it once during his presidency.
The list goes on but is it really any surprise? Just look at his staff. The vast majority are against his agenda, whereas he should have hired loyal volunteers from his campaign who endured endless public ridicule and abuse on his behalf. As they say: personnel is policy.
In some ways Trump has been worse than Hillary.
What I often hear from Republicans trying to put on a happy face is "well, he's better than the alternative..." I disagree. Trump has gotten away with a lot more from conservatives than Hillary ever would have: amnesty, spending, and prison reform to name a few. I bring this up to his supporters and get called a liberal all the time.
Of course Trump won't be able to accomplish 100% of what he promised, but he hasn't made an honest effort either. The results speak for themselves and not much has been done that Jeb! wouldn't have; notable exceptions being getting out of the TPP and Paris Climate Accord (nobody tell Jared).
Are we supposed to embrace globalists just because Trump sided with them? This cognitive dissonance and denial will only hurt the GOP and their cause in 2020.
Trump's base is badly splintered.
Not everyone will support Trump at all costs. I've contacted many volunteers from his campaign and my rough, unscientific estimates suggest that about 1/3 are very upset with him. Recent polls indicate 20% of the GOP would vote for another candidate. Even his support among ICE is dwindling.
Many of them will grudgingly vote for Trump in 2020, but there is really no excuse to alienate any of his base. Especially since he only won the electoral college by 80k votes across four states. The risk isn't that they will vote Democrat, it's that they won't bother voting at all.
Trump could grow his base easily by sticking to his 2016 campaign agenda and listening to early supporters like Ann Coulter and Dennis Michael Lynch (and me, of course). I'm not holding my breath, though.
His most vocal supporters are enabling him.
Trump is a successful businessman but he's also the world's greatest promoter and a solid entertainer. He feeds off the crowd and, for whatever reason, requires endless flattery and acceptance.
I've also found by talking to his base that about 1/3 will follow him no matter what. Trump is the quintessential cult of personality. I want Trump to succeed too but not at the expensive of good policy. It's "America First", not "Trump First".
Following a chant of “build that wall, build that wall,” @realDonaldTrump said that the economy is going so well, new immigrants will be needed to fill the jobs being created, but he wants it on merit. Chants of “USA! USA!” followed.#CPAC2019 #CPAC19 pic.twitter.com/fzfdwU3m2j— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) March 2, 2019
At CPAC his supporters missed a golden opportunity to express their disapproval on Trump's immigration about-face. In the video above you can hear the crowd go cold as Trump tries to convince them we need more workers for the corporations. But instead of booing him, they start chanting "USA! USA!". A shame because he would have noticed, believe me.
Trump needs us more than we need him and we love America more than we love Trump.
The strong economy may not last.
Trump has based his presidency on the economy and he's banking heavily on it for re-election. He'll do whatever it takes to prop up the GDP. An increase in GDP is good but a great economy on paper is meaningless if it doesn't find its way to Main Street.
The fact is, I don't know many that aren't struggling financially, and it's not because of $5 lattes or avocado toast. A 3.0 percent average wage increase (about $150/month) is great news but I don't feel it's enough to offset the high cost of living. Instead of building off his fantastic progress, Trump wants to send wages back down by bringing more immigrants "into our country in the largest numbers ever".
The U.S. already admits almost a whopping 2,000,000 per year legally with much of the job growth going to foreign workers. This is not a good look for Trump with millions of Americans still without jobs.
A new loan crisis is also forming. More than seven million Americans are delinquent on their auto loans and many consider this to be an important recession indicator. It's even more bizarre to see this in a "booming" economy; something doesn't add up. If a recession hits before the election, it would be a disaster for Trump.
The student debt crisis has turned into indentured servitude. More than ten percent have defaulted with some even losing their licenses as a result. This is a vicious cycle Trump had promised to fix.
Millennials and Gen Z will constitute over 1/3 of the electorate next year, many of whom are in debt, financially dependent on their parents, and are fine with socialism.
I've long said that Bernie Sanders would have beaten Trump in 2016 and he should not be discounted easily in 2020.
The wall is too little, too late.
Trump has never needed Congress to build a wall, however, a wall by itself won't work without taking away incentives like cheap labor and welfare. But let's assume the wall would work and building it went exactly as planned with no delays.
What happens to those overstaying their visas? Half of all illegal aliens come in on a plane legally.
What happens to the 30M+ illegal aliens already here? There are far more than the 11M the government has been saying for the past 15 years.
What happens to the wages of people being displaced by legal cheap worker visas?
Bottom line: the wall is merely a means to an end. The true test is if our neighborhoods are safer, our cost of living is more manageable, our standard of living has improved, and our culture preserved.
So far, the border crisis has only gotten much worse under Trump.
Also keep in mind, the wall will take at least a year to build and if it works, it could create economic uncertainty. The economy may then dip before it can rebound and stabilize. This could put Trump in a precarious situation leading up to 2020 that he will try to avoid at all costs.
Either way, he needs to build the Wall because he promised it every day during his campaign.
The Left was caught sleeping in 2016 but they won't make that mistake again.
Just as liberals thought Trump was a total joke in 2016, conservatives are making the same mistake about candidates like Bernie Sanders and AOC. Take nothing for granted.
The Left is energized while Trump's support feels low energy compared to 2016. Even Obama received millions fewer votes his second term.
There were many irregularities in the 2018 midterms. Unless I missed it, 100% of close late ballot results that ended in a flipped seat went from red to blue; never the other way around.
In Alabama 2017, students were gloating on camera that they drove from out of state to vote several times for Roy Moore's opponent.
In Virginia 2017, the GOP kept only a single seat majority in the state's House of Delegates in a sweeping upset. I spoke to a VA state legislator who was barely able to keep his seat. He said he saw many cars with Ohio license plates driving around on election day.
In Florida and Georgia last November, Democratic candidates tried to steal the gubernatorial elections by contesting the results. These were not even close elections, they were won by tens of thousands of votes.
In the end, possession is 90% of ownership, and whoever wants to win badly enough might be able to whether they have the votes or not.
Florida and the Rust Belt aren't looking so good.
In 2016, Trump surprised pundits by winning the Rust Belt, but 2020 could be a different story.
In recent elections, Pennsylvania has shifted back toward the Democratic Party. I don't think Trump can win it and the voting machine irregularities from 2016 will probably be worse in 2020.
In Wisconsin, GOP governor Scott Walker was voted out last November and the Trump Administration's highly touted Foxconn plant may be in limbo.
Ohio seemed safe for the GOP but just the other day GM shutdown production of the Cruze sedan in Lordstown, OH, eliminating 1,700 jobs. Trump's latest "Corporations First" agenda is worrisome, so much so that even Lou Dobbs has called him out.
The Trump White House loses it’s way. pic.twitter.com/oFBjDkvsek— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) March 7, 2019
Florida did better than I expected last November with DeSantis winning the governorship by 30k votes but the state also passed a law that will allow a million ex-felons to vote next year. Some say this won't swing the election but it's something to watch. Not to mention, left-leaning Puerto Ricans may outnumber right-leaning Cubans by next year as well. This presents other problems for 2020. There's no doubt that Trump's prison reform bill and tough rhetoric on Venezuela is intended to counteract both of these issues.
Demographic change is accelerating and conservatives are dying off quickly.
Demographics are destiny and they are not on conservatives' side. Millennials will vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Latinos are turning 18 at a rate of 50k per month who also vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Remember again, Trump only won the election by 80k votes.
Older white people tend to vote reliably and conservatively but Trump voters that were around four years ago may not be around today. This is true in my family. White death rates vastly outpace Hispanics.
In Texas last November, Ted Cruz narrowly defeated Beto O'Rourke for re-election by only 1%; in 2012, Cruz won an open seat by 16%. This is surely due to their expanding Latino population. Texas will likely go blue in 2024. If the Democrats can break Texas, they can crack any state.
Trump needs a challenger from the populist Right.
America's last Hail Mary is to Make the Election About Trump Again. Trump is it, there is nobody else on the Right that can win the presidency.
We need a general election challenger from the populist Right to spook POTUS back into Campaign Trump mode. After all, there's nothing Trump hates more than a loser.
Only a small percentage of Trump voters would need to defect to swing the election and that won't be difficult. My list of viable candidates is best left to another article.
Trump is taking his base for granted and too busy snorting lines of his own Kool-Aid powder to notice.
At this rate, I don't think he can win but it will be America that ultimately loses. He'll go back to his gilded tower and we'll be left exactly where we were in 2015 as if his presidency had never happened.
If Trump does win next year without significant policy changes, it'll be incredibly close and he will surely be the last Republican president.
One thing is for sure: I want my vote back.