October 22, 2018


Nikki Haley Is the GOP's Best Chance to Win in 2020: She should ignore the conventional wisdom and throw her hat in the ring. (ISSAC J. BAILEY October 19, 2018, Politico)

Though you won't hear this from pundits and political analysts who are still smarting from getting it wrong in 2016, Trump is highly unlikely to win a national presidential race in 2020. His chances aren't zero, and whoever wins the Republican nomination two years from now has a chance to win. But his prospects for a second term are extremely dim. Four years ago, he ran against a candidate nearly as unpopular as he was. He had help from the Russian government. He was aided by an eleventh-hour intervention from then-FBI Director James Comey. Aggressive voter suppression efforts by Republicans also played a role in his victory. (Some version of each of those things might still be in place in 2020, but they are not nearly as rooted as they were in 2016.) And despite all of that support, he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million and won the Electoral College because of a roughly 80,000-vote difference in three states. He's unlikely to benefit again from a confluence of such events.

Things have gotten only tougher for Trump since he got into office. Democrats are energized in a way they weren't in 2016. His poll numbers remain in the high 30s or low 40s, even with a historically low jobless rate. Trump is incredibly unpopular despite a strong economy. Econ 101 tells us that we are overdue for a recession. What if that materializes in the next two years? We should not forget that Robert Mueller is still quietly going about his work, the results of which reportedly might be revealed by the end of this year and alone could have a devastating effect on Trump's 2020 plans.

Beating Trump--a sitting president--in a primary would much harder than defeating him in the general, of course. But a poll from analytics firm Applecart suggests he is more vulnerable even among Republicans than many think. The same poll also found that Haley is the most popular among GOP challengers and would have a real shot if she declared her intentions to run.

Republicans should be jumping at that chance. Let's be frank. Haley is a highly-qualified woman and a member of a minority group who shattered the glass ceiling and destroyed racial barriers in a Deep South state to become governor of South Carolina. She is also far more conservative than Trump. That combination of attributes should be extremely appealing to a party that knows, despite its current hold on power, its base is shrinking by the year. The party knows that in order to avoid becoming a regional party a couple of decades from now, it must make a choice: Either keep trying to subvert the democratic process by implementing voter-ID and other laws designed to curtail the Democratic vote--which will be harder to do once Democrats begin retaking power in Washington and numerous state capitals during the midterm elections, not to mention as the American electorate continues to change--or make itself seem more inviting to minority voters. Those paying close attention know Trump is more Jesse Ventura than Ronald Reagan--a shock to the system, not a transformative figure--and that his brand of racist, white nationalistic, angry politics has a short shelf life.

Posted by at October 22, 2018 2:28 PM