Donald Trump claps as he leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally in Green Bay
At this point, we can relegate the admonitions and advisories to the small print reserved for the disclaimers about possible side effects on bottles of medicine and past-performance-is-no-guarantee-of-returns notices on mutual-fund prospectuses. Sure, it is possible that Donald Trump will lose the presidential election in 2020. It is also possible that he will choose not to run. Many things are possible. But as I have explained in these virtual pages — taking care to post those cautionary bulletins — it is likely that Donald Trump will run again for the presidency in 2020 and it is very likely that he will win and win by a much larger margin than his victory in 2016.
I set forth my thoughts on the subject at the end of March. Now we are at the end of April and I would say that the odds are even stronger in Trump’s favor. Why? Well, there is that delicious number 3.2, for example. That would be the ‘impossible’ rate of growth the US economy achieved in the first quarter of 2019. If you’re looking for eggs, you are going to have to wait until the hens get around to pushing out a new batch. The current crop is smeared over the faces of ‘experts’ like Michael Hiltzik, who joined the anti-Trump chorus in a rendition of ‘Trump’s-a-moron-and-will-never-get-3-percent-growth.’ He and Paul Krugman can take turns licking the egg off each others faces. The wretched Krugman warned that a Trump victory would bring a ‘global recession’ and then, on November 9, 2016, when his worst nightmare was realized and Trump was elected, said that ‘If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never,’ The markets closed Friday at yet another historic high.
The existence of Paul Krugman at The New York Times reminds us that that former newspaper now functions largely as a large-scale fantasy game in which certain people, like Krugman, pretend to be journalists while others — the paper’s dwindling audience — pretend to be informed.
In any event, now that we’re into the pre-game warm-ups for the 2020 election, there is all sorts of static to cut through. Anyone interested in Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, the DUI survivor and former politician, should act soon. That hissing sound you hear is the air going out of his campaign balloon.
Over the last couple of days, both Trump and Beto held rallies. Beto’s, in Las Vegas, drew 35 people. Trump’s, in Green Bay, drew more than 10,000: every seat was filled and there were throngs outside the auditorium. A collateral benefit of Trump’s rally, as Glenn Reynolds pointed out, is that it drained the life out of one of the most irritating Washington social events, the nauseating White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Many people don’t even realize it took place last night. That is good. Thank Trump.
But the bookies are out in force now. It will take a while to whittle down the Democratic field from the current 5,476 people running. The least embarrassing candidate on that side would be Joe Kinnock — I mean Biden. It is of course charitable not to remind the veteran presidential candidate that he plagiarized a speech by Neil Kinnock, but you know how the media is, especially if you’re a slightly doddery old white guy with an advanced palpation habit. But I suspect that Biden will welcome references to Neil Kinnock, since it will distract attention from his threat, while Vice President, to end $1 billion of aid to the Ukraine unless a public prosecutor who was looking into a business on whose board his son, Hunter, sat be fired. The whole Democrats-in-Ukraine story is just getting going and it is going to be nice — for us spectators, I mean, not for Joe Biden. Here are a few nice paragraphs that I think you’ll see referred to frequently in coming months:
‘As Ukraine underwent dramatic changes in 2014, Vice President Joe Biden played a critical role in the Obama administration’s involvement in the revolution that ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
‘Following the revolution, Biden would use his influence to help force the creation of the troubled National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU). Notably, during the 2016 elections information leaked from NABU on Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort that helped to create the false narrative that Trump colluded with Russia to win the elections.
‘Biden would also use the threat of withholding a billion dollars in American loan guarantees to pressure Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire the prosecutor general. At the time the prosecutor had been investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas giant that Biden’s son, Hunter, was a board member on.’
Kind of says it all, what?
On the other side of the aisle there is Trump and — who? Mike Pence? Other names are being floated, including that of Nikki Haley, which CNN thinks would be a good thing. Maybe it would. Haley has matured noticeably in the last couple of years. She’s gone from being anti-Trump to being an ornament in his administration. She was the most impressive US ambassador to the UN since Jeane Kirkpatrick. Also, for a not inconsiderable portion of the population, she has the right chromosomal configuration and, being born to an Indian Sikh family, is a genuine Indian unlike the beer-swigging (cringe alert!) Elizabeth ‘Fauxcohantas’ Warren.
Who knows what the president will do? Not CNN or their nameless ‘sources.’ If Mike Pence is his running mate, he will win. If Nikki Haley is his running mate, he will win. If you, Dear Reader, are his running mate, he will probably win.
Yes, yes, a lot can happen between now and November 2020. But if these past two years are anything to go by, Trump will crush whomever the Democrats put up. The only real question is by how much.