News Analysis: Trump struggles against Democrats, but deep pockets, booming economy bode well for him

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 10:41:08|Editor: Li Xia
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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Though U.S. President Donald Trump is lagging behind in current match-up polls against leading Democratic presidential candidates, U.S. experts said several factors, including Trump's incumbency and a booming U.S. economy, bode well for his re-election.

In this year's second quarter alone, Trump has raised 100 million U.S. dollars -- a massive cash infusion that will go a long way to help his campaign.

No single Democratic candidate has come close to the amount Trump has raised. In the second quarter, Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg raked in nearly 25 million dollars; former Vice President and current candidate Joe Biden raised 21.5 million dollars; and candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris raised a combined nearly 50 million dollars.

"It shows you that Republican support for Trump is (high), but also that being an incumbent has its privileges," Republican strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

"You are the only game in town and you get to raise money," O'Connell added.

Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, also predicted that unlike the 2016 presidential election, "Trump will have plenty of money in 2020."

"This is an underappreciated difference between the last election and the upcoming one," said Galdieri.

That money could make a major difference in Trump's ability to get people on the ground to galvanize support, experts said.

Despite the cash that's being injected into his campaign, however, Trump is lagging behind the top Democratic candidates in polls.

According to Real Clear Politics' average of the latest polls, Trump trails Democratic front runner Biden by 6 points. He also lags behind Harris and the self-avowed socialist candidate and former contender for the Democratic ticket, Bernie Sanders, by 2 points respectively.

But according to O'Connell, U.S. media and anti-Trump forces are getting ahead of themselves.

Heading into the 2020 elections, one of Trump's primary strengths remains his incumbency, experts argued, pointing out that since the year 1900, nearly 80 percent of incumbent presidents have been re-elected.

O'Connell said history also shows that early polling does not always predict elections. He noted that in June 1983, eventual Democratic nominee Walter Mondale was leading President Ronald Reagan, but that Reagan ultimately won the election. Also in June 2011, a Republican presidential candidate was leading then President Barack Obama by 5 points, but Obama won in 2012.

Meanwhile, experts noted that for U.S. voters, the economy matters in most presidential elections and since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during WWII, every incumbent president who has avoided a recession in the run-up to the election ended up winning.

At least for now, there is no serious talk of a recession in the United States.

The stock market continues to rise, boosting the 401k and retirement accounts of millions of middle class Americans. Last Friday saw the United States create 224,000 new jobs in June, which was above economists' expectations. Wages rose by 3.1 percent in the last year, and unemployment is at record lows.

The booming economy is reflected in Trump's latest popularity numbers, which are at an all-time high in his presidency.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday found that 47 percent of registered voters approve of how Trump has led the White House, an increase of five points since April, although 50 percent still disapprove.

In comparison, Obama's approval rating during the same period stood at 46 percent. Former president George W. Bush's approval rating during that period in his first term was 61 percent, Gallup polling company found.