Why Trump may have a bumpy ride in seeking re-election

March 05, 2019 13:11
US President Donald Trump arrives at a news conference to announce that no agreement resulted from his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Feb. 28. Photo: Reuters

Hot on the heels of the over-promising yet under-delivering second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, US President Donald Trump addressed a crowd at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

In his speech, Trump said that he is going to win again in the 2020 presidential election, and that this time he will have an even bigger margin than in 2016.

So can Trump really replicate his 2016 election upset with ease in 2020? Our answer: absolutely not.

When Trump ran against Hillary Clinton back in the 2016 race, he was only a rookie candidate with no track record in politics whatsoever, which means he could simply boast about whatever he claimed he was capable of doing during his campaign.

And as long as voters bought into his impressive words, he would prevail.

However, now that Trump is already the master of the White House, he will have to convince his supporters by fully delivering on his election pledges and slogans.

And it would be up to the American public to decide whether their president has fulfilled his duty and is cut out for his job by judging the efficacy of his policy initiatives, and whether his statements, ranging from big to trivial, can stand any fact check.

Unfortunately, more than two years into his office as president, Trump appears to be a bit long on talk but short on real results.

For example, the Hanoi summit last week that failed to bear any fruit indicates that Trump is not as good at diplomacy and negotiation as he has always bragged.

In fact, some commentators suggest that Trump appeared distracted during the summit as he could have been preoccupied with domestic concerns, such as accusations leveled against him by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen during his testimony at a Congressional hearing.

And although, legally speaking, Cohen has failed to present any concrete evidence of Trump's alleged collusion with the Russians, the bombshell Cohen has dropped on national TV would inevitably affect the election prospects of his former boss.

Besides, the looming possibility of impeachment that may be mounted by the Democrats, who are now in control of the House of Representatives, is already enough headache for Trump.

The Democrats may find themselves in a pretty chaotic situation right now as the presidential primaries near, with more than 1of hopefuls aggressively eyeing the party nomination. But that by itself doesn’t necessarily mean the odds are in Trump’s favor.

No matter who the Dems are eventually going to send to run in the 2020 race, that candidate is definitely going to seize on Trump’s numerous scandals as ammunition against him.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 4

Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal