The fake news industrial complex is at it again: The media predict, by and large just like they did in 2016, that President Donald Trump faces impending doom and has no chance to win re-election in the upcoming presidential election in 2020.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza is predicting President Trump would “lose” the election if it were now.
“If the 2020 election were today, Trump would lose,” the headline of a piece Cillizza wrote over the weekend blares across CNN’s website, with the senior CNN analyst writing that it is a “good thing” for Trump that election day is more than 600 days away.
To make his point that Trump would lose the election if it were today, Cillizza cites approval rating data from Gallup. He quotes this particular passage from a Gallup piece on Trump’s approval ratings:
Although much can change between now and Election Day 2020, a job approval rating of 50% or higher would presumably put Trump in good position to win a state in the presidential election. The 17 states with 50%+ approval ratings account for a combined total of 102 electoral votes. In contrast, the states in which Trump has an approval rating below 40% account for 201 electoral votes.
In order to get to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Trump would have to win all but one or two of the states in which his 2018 approval rating was between 41% and 49%.
After giving some more of his own analysis on what Trump needs to do between now and November 2020 to win in these key states, Cillizza then admits all of this analysis he has cobbled together actually means nothing.
“Now. Approval rating is obviously not purely predictive of vote,” Cillizza wrote. “After all, Trump won the 2016 election even though only 38% of voters viewed him favorably, according to exit polling. But if you are Trump, these numbers have to worry you. It suggests he has LOTS of work to do in the next 620 days.”
Interestingly, back when Cillizza worked at the Washington Post in 2016 before he joined CNN’s crack politics team, he wrote a similar piece predicting Trump has no chance at beating then-Democrat nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. The piece was headlined: “Donald Trump’s chances of winning are approaching zero.”
The piece, published 15 days before Trump smoked Clinton in the electoral college winning 30 and a half states when she could not even muster wins in 20 states–Clinton only won 19 and a half states–predicted that Trump had no chance at beating her.
“The election is in 15 days. And the electoral map just keeps looking grimmer and grimmer for Donald Trump,” Cillizza wrote on Oct. 24, 2016.
In the piece, Cillizza predicted that Clinton would win Nevada–which she did, one of the only purple states that the Democrat won–and that both Utah and Texas would be competitive in the general election. Those two later predictions were completely unfounded, as Trump handily won both Texas and Utah.
But Cillizza claimed that Clinton was virtually unstoppable heading into the 2016 election:
Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore!
Cillizza is not the only one reviving 2016-style doomsday predictions for Trump ahead of the 2020 election. Politico has published a piece on Monday morning headlined: “GOP donors: Trump campaign lacks a strategy to win in 2020.”
In the piece, which relies mostly on anonymous sources, Politico’s Anita Kumar and Maggie Severns claimed that Trump has no strategy to win re-election.
“Late last month, more than 100 major Republican donors gathered at the Trump International Hotel for a presentation from the president’s campaign manager Brad Parscale and other top political hands on their plans to keep the White House in 2020 after a brutal midterm election,” Kumar and Severns wrote. “But several of the GOP contributors left the two-day retreat in Washington dissatisfied, dogged by essentially the same concern: The president doesn’t really have a strategy to win reelection.”
A couple paragraphs later, Kumar and Severns admit that they do not really have many sources willing to put their names on such a claim that Trump has no strategy to win in 2020: And that they relied almost exclusively on anonymous sources.
“This account is based on interviews with nearly a dozen people connected to Trump’s reelection, including two donors who attended the retreat and other Republican contributors who’ve given to Trump in the past,” Kumar and Severns wrote. “Several campaign aides, who say they have spoken with anxious donors, also spoke to POLITICO. Most of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting Trump.”
The New York Times, too, recently published a piece from Christopher Newport University political science professor Rachel Bitecofer headlined: “Why Trump Will Lose in 2020.”
The piece, which assumes that Trump is going to lose re-election, sets out to explain why he is going to lose–before he has even lost.
“The president is running hard on a strategy of riling up his base,” the sub-headline of Bitecofer’s Times piece reads. “But by doing that, he riles up the Democratic base, too, and that one is bigger.”
In the piece, Bitecofer is very specific about where Democrats will win in her view:
Democrats will win big in more urban, more diverse, better-educated and more liberal-friendly states and will continue to lose ground in other states like Missouri. Although Mr. Trump may well win Ohio and perhaps even Florida again, it is not likely he will carry Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2020. Look at the midterm performance of statewide Democrats in those states. And his troubles with swing voters, whom he won in 2016, will put Arizona, North Carolina and perhaps even Georgia in play for Democrats and effectively remove Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire from the list of swing states.
The more the media predict Trump will lose, and that the Democrats will win–before anything happens–the more it seems to help Trump. Even Clinton’s campaign manager in 2016, Robby Mook, has said that the over-the-top media predictions of Clinton winning and Trump losing–all of which proved to be false–helped Trump win and hurt Clinton:
The same, presumably, holds true for 2020. So the more the media does this, the better it gets for Trump.