Understanding Trump’s Continued Success

For President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, the last few weeks have been great. In fact, they have been so good that the chance of the president being reelected has increased to about 60 percent, according to The Washington Examiner. It is important to analyze why this trend is occuring. 

First, Trump seems to be benefitting from the old technique known as “divide and conquer” with respect to his Democratic opponents. That is, the president seems to be channeling internal Democratic divisions to his advantage. And these divisions are large. Consider the ideological split between moderate Democrats (represented by Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg) and the progressive or socialist Democrats (represented by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren). The divisions among these two groups have become so large that some Democrats have even discussed it in terms of life and death. Prominent MSNBC anchor and moderate Democrat Chris Matthews recently implied that “executions in Central Park” will occur if Sanders wins the nomination (according to The Federalist). Clearly, President Trump benefits when certain Democrats voice hostile opposition against other Democrats. 

But the Democratic divisions are more than just ideological; they are also empirical. For example, the Iowa Caucus produced no clear winner. Not only did a major delay occur in the vote tallying, which naturally delegitimized the results, but Buttigieg somehow ended up winning more delegates than Sanders, though he won the popular vote by a significant margin. This is all the more ironic and troublesome when one realizes that Buttigieg once called for the abolition of the Electoral College, according to The Hill: “It’s time for that to go because it’s undemocratic,” Buttigieg said back in June. Nevertheless, both Buttigieg and Sanders declared victory in Iowa, an unclarity that has produced further animosity within the Democratic Party as both Sanders and Buttigieg surrogates are accusing each other of misleading voters. And then there’s Biden, who despite coming in fourth place in Iowa (and likely the same in New Hampshire) continues to act like the frontrunner. In fact, when a voter questioned his capacity to best represent the Democratic Party in the general election, NBC News reports Biden defended himself by calling the voter “a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” Again, Trump benefits from such discord in the Democratic Party. 

But Trump has benefited from another event that is unrelated to the campaign trail. The president was recently acquitted from impeachment articles in a Senate trial. Not only did Democrats fail to rack up the required 67 Senate votes for Trump’s conviction, but they also could not even attain a majority. Moreover, the president and his legal team appear to have won over the public’s opinion with regard to impeachment. According to a recent Monmouth University poll, “49 percent of the public approves and 47 percent disapproves of the Senate’s decision to acquit Trump and not remove him from office.” When the trial started, however, 49 percent of Americans supported removal and 48 percentsupported acquittal. While this difference may seem minute, America is quite polarized, so any shift in public opinion is significant. Thus, President Trump benefited from the Senate trial and acquittal. 

And finally, Trump’s own legislative accomplishments are producing increasing returns to scale. Since taking office, the president has been consistent in fostering internal deregulation and reducing taxes. And in the January jobs report, 225,000 new jobs were created, even though, only 158,000 new jobs were expected, according to MSNBC.

So when all of this good news for Trump is put together, it is no surprise that his Gallup approval rating recently hit a record high (49 percent). And it is no surprise that Trump is leading both Sanders and Biden in New Hampshire. And it is no surprise that, according to The Washington Post, “anxiety is coursing through the Democratic Party as President Trump emerges from his impeachment proceedings as a potent threat for reelection.” The good news for the Democratic Party, though, is that it has 11 months to reverse the momentum.