WASHINGTON—The state of the economy is a paramount issue in driving electoral outcomes, and, as the nation shifts from relief to recovery, President Donald Trumps reelection odds depend very much on a successful relaunch of the U.S. economy, according to political strategists.
Trump forecasts a “tremendous comeback” as states gradually ease their lockdown measures and open their economies. He bets that his reopening guidelines to the states will help create a speedy recovery without causing a new wave of virus infections.
Early this month, his campaign launched a new ad, titled “American Comeback,” positioning the presidents 2020 re-election bid around an economic revival.
Up until March, it looked like Trump was on his way to an easy victory in November. Then the economy went from the best to the worst in just a few weeks and his reelection chances started to look shakier.
“It will depend on how the public sees things, not only with the progress against the disease, but also with reopening up the economy,” David Pietrusza, political historian and author told The Epoch Times.
Pietrusza, whos an expert on presidential electoral history said this year could wind up like the 1930s.
President Herbert Hoover, who many blamed for the Great Depression, lost the election of 1932 to Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide. While the economy remained sluggish and eight million Americans still were without jobs, Roosevelt won re-election by a historic margin in 1936.
According to Pietrusza, the voters may treat Trump like either Hoover in 1932 or FDR in 1936, depending on whether they see the glass half empty or half full.
Voters will feel pessimistic if they measure the economic situation in November against the good times of pre-pandemic, but they may feel positive if they compare it against the second quarter of this year and see the economic recovery is on solid ground, he said.
Public approval of President Trumps handling of the pandemic has declined since late March. According to a Pew survey in April, 65 percent of Americans, including 33 percent of Republicans, believe that Trump was too slow in addressing the COVID-19 threat.
Trump currently trails his opponent, former vice president Joe Biden by more than five points in the national polls.
William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said in a report on May 8, Biden led in five of the six key battlegrounds—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, and Arizona.
“As the 2016 election proves, all this can change,” he wrote. “Trump is betting his presidency on the consequences of reopening Americas economy and society. If it goes well—if people can return to work and socialize in public places without triggering an upsurge in COVID-19 infections—his wavering supporters may well return to the fold.”
Despite the pandemic, Trump still scores better on the economy. A recent CNN poll showed that Trump held a 12-point advantage over Biden when voters were asked about who they trusted most in leading the economy.
“The biggest problem Trump has had for the past two months, hes been running against the coronavirus and not his opponent,” Ford OConnell, a political analyst and Republican strategist told The Epoch Times.
Trump is winning the lockdown war as Americans become less fearful about going back to normal, he said.
“One of the things that the Democrats have been relying on is this idea of fear. And the less fearful Americans are about going outside of their house and going to work, the better off Donald Trumps reelection chances are.”
A Referendum on Trump
The virus has sickened more than 1.7 million people in the United States and killed over 100,000 as of May 27. And in just nine weeks, nearly 39 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits.
“This election will be a referendum on Donald Trumps handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bill Press, political commentator and former chairman of the California Democratic Party told The Epoch Times.
“I do think, up until March, that Donald Trump was favored because of the economy,” he said. “And that was his long suit.”
However, Trump now needs “a miraculous recovery overnight” to win the election, he said.
“I think that would be a great help to Donald Trump. But that is not going to happen. Were in too deep of a hole to come out of it overnight.”
Some Democrats, however, fear that the economic debate may look very different come November.
Jason Furman, a chief economist in the Obama administration and now professor at the Harvard Kennedy School believes that the current crisis will be followed by a quick and sharp rebound and this will coincide with the four months before November.
“We are about to see the best economic data weve seen in the history of this country,” he told a bipartisan group of top officials, according to Politico.
His predictions, which are in line with the explosive numbers predicted by Trumps economic advisers, are based on the premise that the current crisis is different than prior recessions and that the economy was in a good place before the pandemic.
According to Politico, his statements have caused panic among DemocratsRead More From Source