A little over a year after he became president in the greatest electoral upset in American history, Donald Trump has officially launched his 2020 reelection campaign and has hired 2016 campaign alumnus Brad Parscale as his new campaign manager, his campaign announced yesterday.
Although Trump filed papers for his reelection effort on Inauguration Day in 2017 and reportedly began spending money on the 2020 campaign during the presidential transition period, hiring someone to lead the campaign is proof that Trump is serious about sticking around in Washington until January 2025. And, to boot, Trump made history yesterday by kicking off his reelection campaign just one year and 38 days into his presidency, the earliest of any American president ever.
The campaign’s website announced that:
In addition to focusing on building its infrastructure for the 2020 race, the Trump Campaign will be engaged in the 2018 midterm elections this year, providing candidates with general support, endorsements, and rallying the support of the political grassroots by engaging Trump supporters in districts and states.
Whether congressional candidates will want that support is an open question. President Trump definitely has to get his approval numbers up if he hopes to have any electoral coattails this year or to stay in the Oval Office for a second term.
But on the positive side, the 45th president has already achieved more after a year in office than President Reagan had at the same point, according to the Heritage Foundation.
As the Washington Examiner reported a month ago:
Trump adopted two-thirds, or about 64 percent, of the Heritage agenda, meaning that the administration copied and pasted 334 of the think tank’s unique policy proposals. By comparison, the New York Times reports, Reagan adopted just 49 percent of the Heritage agenda making 2017 a banner year for Heritage.
Trump got tax reform enacted, slashed stifling regulations, thinned the ranks and territory of Islamic State, took measures to keep potential terrorists out of the country (though he has been partly undermined by left-wing federal judges), dumped the Paris Climate Accord, reinstated the Mexico City policy, killed Net Neutrality, and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Not bad at all.
“In some respects, Trump the nonpolitician has an incredible advantage, even over Ronald Reagan,” Ed Feulner, former Heritage president, told the New York Times. “Because Ronald Reagan knew there were certain things government couldn’t do.”
Some on the Left immediately pushed the panic button at the prospect of seven more years of Trump.
Leftist law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted:
I don’t want to give anyone a stroke or a heart attack, but we need to face the gruesome possibility that @realDonaldTrump will be POTUS until noon on Jan 20, 2025. Only WE can avert that nightmarish outcome. REGISTER and VOTE in 2018 and 2020!
Others smeared Parscale, who was digital strategy chief in the 2016 campaign, as a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose agents allegedly interfered with the American election that put Trump in power.
Sean Illing of Vox wrote that “Parscale is intimately tied to a company called Cambridge Analytica, a shady data analytics firm that has become a major focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.”
A discussion can be had about the efficacy of London-based Cambridge Analytica (CA) but it isn’t actually shadyeven though that has been the media’s favorite adjective to super-glue onto the company.
CA worked for the presidential campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ben Carson (and briefly for Trump’s campaign), the campaign of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), as well as for former Ambassador John Bolton’s super PAC and other candidates for elected office.
It must be “shady,” according to Vox, because congressional investigators have been asking questions about it in the investigation of the Left’s wacky Russia-Trump electoral collusion conspiracy theory.
Because Cambridge Analytica worked with social media giants Facebook and Twitter, both of which allegedly spread Russian propaganda during the 2016 election cycle, left-wingers treat it as a foregone conclusion that the firm took orders from the Kremlin and that online outreach whiz Brad Parscale is secretly a Russian spy.
That’s how desperate, paranoid, and unbalanced left-wingers have become in the Trump era.
Another reason Vox may be blackening the firm’s name is because former Trump White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon had a stake in the company, and big Republican donor Robert Mercer still reportedly has a stake in the company. (Former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, whose job it was to speak to Russians and other foreign nationals, also had dealings with the company.)
But more likely the malicious voxsplanation is motivated by the fact that many Republicans consider Cambridge Analytica to be effective. If you’re powerful, get things done, and aren’t on their side, Democrats want your scalp, and they’ll lie, cheat, and steal to get it.
Effectiveness is the same reason left-wingers hound and demonize House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) as well as Gowdy’s predecessors, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). That’s why leftists drove former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) from office.
Meanwhile, President Trump continues to poll poorly, though his approval numbers have been rising in recent weeks. His approval numbers were still under water as of yesterday, according to FiveThirtyEight.
The website’s weighted average of polls produced a figure of 55.0 percent disapproving of Trump’s performance as president, compared to 39.6 percent approving. But almost all pollsters called the 2016 election wrong, predicting a Hillary Clinton win, so there’s that.
Polling by Rasmussen Reports, one of the more accurate pollsters in recent election cycles, shows Trump currently with 50 percent approval versus 48 percent disapproval.
“Historically, the president’s approval ratings have been one of the best indicators of how his party will fare in congressional elections,” according to Vox.
As of yesterday, Democrats led in the congressional general ballot 46.8 percent to Republicans’ 38.6 percent, according to the statistical model used by FiveThirtyEight.
This is not good news for Republicans, though Nov. 6 is still a long way off and a lot can happen in the coming eight months.
On Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016, the FiveThirtyEight model put Democrats at 45.4 percent, edging out Republicans’ 44.2 percent.
The congressional generic ballot is relevant but it isn’t the best predictor of election results.
Despite this showing, the Democrats failed to flip control of either chamber of Congress and President Trump’s coattails ensured minimal gains for Democrats. Democrats (including the two Independents who caucus with them) had a net gain of two seats in the Senate, leaving Republicans in control 52 to 48. (With Doug Jones flipping the Senate seat in Alabama to Democrats in December, current Senate standings are 51 Republicans to 49 Democrats.) Democrats had a net gain of six seats in the House, coming nowhere near the 218-seat mark needed for control. Republicans were left with a comfortable majority of 241 to 194.
This November, Senate Democrats are facing a tough electoral map. Of the 100 seats in the Senate, 34 will go to the voters. Of those 34, 26 are in the hands of Democrats, compared to just eight for Republicans.
Democrats are defending 10 seats in states Republican Trump won in 2016. Republicans are defending just one seat in a state Democrat Hillary Clinton took in 2016. Three of the GOP seats are open as a result of announced retirements in Arizona (Jeff Flake), Tennessee (Bob Corker), and Utah (Orrin Hatch).
In the money race, the Republican National Committee has raised $144.9 million in the 2018 election cycle and has $40.7 million cash on hand, with zero in debts. The Democratic National Committee has raised $72.5 million and has $7.5 million in cash, as well as $5.6 million in debts.
But the Republican fundraising advantage ends there, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises money for House contests, has raised $95.1 million and has $50.6 million in cash. Its counterpart on the other side of the aisle, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, has raised $114.8 million and has $43.8 million in cash. Both the NRCC and DCCC report having no debts.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has raised $46.4 million and has $15.2 million in cash, along with $7 million in debts. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has raised $59.8 million and has $22.9 million in cash, with $4.2 million in debts.
President Trump is gambling that the benefits of an improving economy boosted by a shrinking tax burden will help Republicans maintain control of Congress and help him get reelected in 2020.
Oddschecker, the gambling website in the United Kingdom – where they bet on, essentially, everything – suggested yesterday that Trump’s likelihood of winning in 2020 is rising.
Even with a multitude of candidates offered by bookies, the 71-year-old is topping the market, with a total of 58% of all bets on him to be re-elected in the last hour. Odds have been cut on Trump reaffirming his position from 5/2 into 15/8, implying a 28% chance of winning to a 34% chance of re-election. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of traffic in the last hour following Trump’s decision to run again in the next election.
“While many of the world’s population await news of a Trump impeachment,” said Oddschecker spokesman George Elek, “punters [i.e. bettors] reckon he is here to stay.”
It’s not a safe bet but it’s a good bet.
This article by Matthew Vadum first appeared Feb. 28, 2018, at FrontPageMag.