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Strategizing for 2020.

February 28, 2018

Every opinion talking head and writer seems to think President Trump has let his out-sized ego overrule the common sense of politics by declaring so early for a 2020 campaign.

Oh dear. They’re still doing it. Trying to fit him into the traditional mold, that is.

Yes, this is about Trump making sure he stays on everyone’s radar and it gives him some license to do what he loves, which is to be out on the campaign trail surrounded by people who clearly adore him, but more importantly, understand him.

Considering the nonstop negativity he is surrounded with in D.C., who could blame him for looking for an enthusiasm transfusion?

But this is also about 2018.

It’s about letting GOP voters know that when they elect senators and representatives this year, they are actually voting for the means for him to continue with the goals he set for himself and the nation in 2015-16.

Despite his campaign bravado, he is unlikely to have believed even then that his ambitious plans could be implemented in just four years.

Perhaps if he had been given a solid majority in the Senate, he might have waited a bit before declaring (although technically he declared on inauguration day) he was running again.

But considering that his administration is still dogged by the “impeach 45” crowd and a whole host of Hillary sycophants who still don’t think he won the election, he absolutely has to do whatever he can to keep voter enthusiasm high for the midterms.

If Republicans lose either house of Congress in 2018, he may run and even win in 2020, but it would certainly lock the brakes on his effectiveness for the next two years.

He is running against history, since the party out of power nearly always wins the first midterm elections. That means he is betting on a longshot.

Gee, since when did he ever do that?

There are problems with his strategy. Some of his adoring fans don’t adore him so much now, since he hasn’t gone nearly as far to the right as they would have liked.

Some are pretty miffed that he is even considering letting DACA stand, much less offering a pathway to citizenship.

Others still seem to think he should have fired everyone in Washington on January 21, 2017.

His supporters know what their critics clearly don’t recognize. They knew they weren’t electing a saint, but rather, a shovel.  Shovels are more about blunt force than they are surgical precision.

And let’s face it, sometimes the guy is his own worst enemy.

If you watched the televised meeting with the school shooting survivors and parents, you got a fleeting glimpse of the personality behind the campaigner when he flatly said he didn’t want to hear the words “active shooter drill” because it might traumatize kids.

Obviously it doesn’t matter what you call it, the kids are smart enough to know the difference between an ordinary fire drill and what the protocol is when somebody is shooting up a school.

To some extent that was Trump, the father of a pre-teen son talking, and to some extent it was just Trump the plain-spoken and very stubborn person who is used to getting his own way.

Whatever it was, it was a window into how hard it must be to disagree with him on the inside of the White House.

Be that as it may, that’s the guy who sits behind the Resolute desk, warts, tweets, bald spot and all.

The difference between now and the first campaign is that we all now know a lot more about him.

In the end it will come down to the same things it always comes down to, namely, is he perceived to have kept his promises and have his actions made most of our lives better?

Right now there are a lot of good things for congressional candidates to trade upon, and he is freely offering that to them.

We’ll see in November whether the dice fall his way.

From → op-ed

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