If history teaches us anything, it is precisely that the Democrats can defeat Trump.
Many in the world, and in the United States, hope that Donald Trump will not come back to win the presidential election in two years. And with good reason: It is thought that four more years of the current administration and its quarrelsome style not only would cause greater harm to the country, but would also put world peace and global economic stability at risk.
The Democratic victories in the recent congressional elections, which gave them control of the House of Representatives, have generated enthusiasm about defeating the president’s bid for re-election. There is some reason for Democrats and independents, who don’t like Trump, to think that this is possible.
Contrary to popular wisdom, re-election for a U.S. president is by no means easy or guaranteed. In the history of the United States, only a little more than a third of presidents have managed to get elected for a second term, and many of those had a very hard time doing so. In other words, if history teaches us anything, it is precisely that the Democrats can defeat Trump.
As always, winning the election will depend on many factors. In the current situation, the effectiveness and skill of the majority Democrats in the House will be critical. The Democrats are not in agreement about how to handle being in opposition. The left wing of the party, headed by Nancy Pelosi, believes that the best way to defeat Trump in his re-election bid is by mounting an opposition that is ferocious and obstructionist, utilizing its majority to pursue him judicially. The moderate wing believes that it could lose the chance to defeat him if it behaves the same way he has.
The country is tired of polarization. We mustn’t forget that the attempt to impeach Bill Clinton backfired on the Republicans; it guaranteed a response of solidarity that made Clinton’s second term inevitable. Trump is trying to paint himself as persecuted, as a victim; if he succeeds in this, he would win a lot of points for re-election. On the other hand, if the Democratic candidate manages to project the image of being a defender of national unity, that would work in his or her favor in a contest with a Republican who is strident and pugnacious.
The next ingredient for victory is to guarantee the solid backing of one's own party. In theory, Trump is guaranteed to be the only Republican presidential candidate. But hold on – not so fast. The increasing dissatisfaction with Trump’s rhetoric and the decisions he has made has opened up fissures and cracks in the Republican consensus that supports Trump. In fact, Mitt Romney, currently a Republican senator and former presidential hopeful who lost to Trump, wrote an editorial in which he tore the current president apart. And he is already sounding like a challenger for the Republican presidential nomination.
The Democrats have 15 recognized candidates; everybody from ambitious nut jobs to candidates on the level of Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s vice president. If the left prevails in selecting the candidate, for example Bernie Sanders, the chance of defeating Trump declines significantly.
Trump is gambling on a re-election platform built around revitalizing the economy and the industrial sector. According to alarming forecasts about the world economy, that optimistic position is going to crash up against the reality of a U.S. economy that is clearly slowing down and may soon be in recession. The Democrats’ liberal platform could get a more favorable reception under those circumstances.