An elderly African-American man asked me a couple of days ago, “son do you think they gonna get Trump outta there”?
I thought the question a little odd, you know, since there is really no “they”, just us.
I had no answer for him, except to say that I have no way of knowing what the outcome of the elections will be, considering that American elections can swing one way or the other at the last moment on a single issue.
In my lifetime only two (elected) American presidents have been voted out of office after only one term.
They are Presidents Jimmy Carter and Herbert Walker Bush.
That means that in 28 years or seven election cycles, the nation has not had a one-term president.
It is not the easiest task to unseat a sitting president, particularly when the other party is immersed in a long drawn out primary slugfest.
Herbert Walker Bush became president, after being Reagan’s vice president for eight years. He was swept into power on the nostalgia many Republicans, Independents & faux Democrats had of Ronald Reagan, after his two terms in office ended.
It is not often that a party gets three terms in the executive mansion either, as was evident after the increasingly popular Bill Clinton’s second term was up. Even though Clinton was impeached and acquitted, his personal popularity continued to climb long after he was out of office.
Unfortunately, Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore was unable to cash in on either his former Boss’s economy or his popularity. Gore chose to run away from Clinton, claiming he was his own man, even though Bill Clinton enjoyed tremendous popular support after he was impeached and acquitted, and left the economy in excellent shape and a lot of new millionaires to boot.
Even though President George W Bush had acquired the presidency under a cloud of hanging chads and voter suppression in Florida where his younger brother Jeb was Governor, and even though he was immensely unpopular, the events of September 11th, 2001 all but guaranteed him a second term.
But though Bush 43rd had gotten two terms as a result of the September 11th attack, by the time he was through his second term, a tanking economy and general malaise as a result of the Iraq war, the nation could not wait to elect a Democrat.
That Democrat was Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American to be elected president.
Two terms later and having saved the nation from financial collapse, the nation was on a solid economic footing.
Despite the strong economic indicators, stagnating wages and a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, was enough to keep many voters home. and even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over three million, the nation voted for a right-wing populist, or so they said.
It is almost an impossible task to unseat a president when the economy is doing well.
Whether this cycle will be different is anybody’s guess. Elections are nine months away, anything can happen in that time. If there is to be a downturn in the economy, it would have to happen in time for voters to start feeling the effects of that downturn in order to blame whoever is occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The problem with this cycle, is that the sitting president is not only a white nationalist, which gives him a huge leg up with a segment of the electorate, he understands the value to be derived from propaganda.
And so he has already begun the process of blatantly lying that the COVID-19 virus is a hoax by the Democrats, designed to take him down.
Democrats running to replace him have been so busy tearing each other down all of his prepositioning of those lies have gone unanswered.
By letting the lies stand, Democrats are not only ceding ground to Trump’s die-hard low information zealots, but they are also ceding ground to wishy-washy so-called independents who are looking for something to believe in.
Even if there is an economic downturn as a result of a pandemic, or because the Obama economy has finally run its course, and even though Trump has never reached the 50% mark in his approval ratings, Democrats are at extreme risk of losing to him because they are not nimble enough to know that they have to attack, attack, attack on all fronts.
Beating a bully is never easy… I simply do not see a bully-beater in the present crop of Democrats running to unseat him.
By the way, where is Barack Obama when he is needed