Can the president steal money

US electionTrump does everything for his own defeat

Donald Trump's victory in the presidential elections in 2016 surprised most people - including himself. It has since been agreed that he would win again. But there is a moment when the attitude that the burned child shies away from fire turns into an intellectual abdication.

Most numbers, including the Trump campaign polls, show he is heading for defeat in November. Common sense points in the same direction. It was one thing to win against Hillary Clinton - America's most polarizing figure at the time. The other would be for him to beat the popular Joe Biden, the president has long divided the Naton more than Clinton did.

Trump's dwindling opportunities can also be seen in his growing panic. The simplest measure are his tweets, which he now posts an average of four times as often a day as in his first year in office and almost three times as often as in his second year. Twice that year, including Mother's Day, Trump posted over a hundred tweets while most of America was asleep.

False claims

Although it hardly seemed possible, it has also declined in terms of content. Recent lows include recurring claims that Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, murdered an employee in 2001. Even pro-Trump publications felt obliged to reject this caricaturing evil claim.

But most of all Trump rides - on social media as well as outside - that his opponents tried to steal the election in November. That deserves a closer look. I cannot find an example in any country, including the United States, of an elected head of government claiming that his own system is directed against him.

What is certain is that Trump made this accusation as an outsider in 2016 because he assumed a defeat. After taking office, he opened an investigation to substantiate his claim that millions of illegal immigrants had voted against him. The investigation fizzled out and was discontinued in 2018.

Trump wants a low turnout

It is almost as difficult to find examples of political leaders trying to reduce voter turnout. But that is Trump's goal for November and shows that he is pessimistic about the vote. There's no evidence that postal voting would benefit the Democrats - but there is some that show it helped the Republicans. Still, Trump is doing everything he can to make life harder for absent voters.

In a normal year that would be amazing enough. In a pandemic, it shows intent to suppress votes. Polling stations are considered crowded places, which will prevent many from voting. It is not without reason that Trump assumes that the Democratic electorate will be more concerned about the pathogen than the Republican supporters.

However, there are unmistakable signs that Trump's pandemic record is particularly deterring older voters. At the end of February, the US president had a two-digit lead over Joe Biden among voters over 65. Recent surveys, however, show that Biden is now ten points ahead.
You will find more infographics at Statista

By the standards of electoral research, this is a tectonic shift. It explains why in Florida, where many retirees live and where Trump has his primary residence, Joe Biden has a four-point lead on average across the polls. The same goes for Arizona. Biden has a clear lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania and a narrow lead in Wisconsin - the three states that tipped the scales in the 2016 election. Even in the deeply republican states of Georgia and Texas, Biden is hot on Trump's heels. If such numbers were to hold up until November, Trump could face a landslide defeat.

Joe Biden doesn't miss a fool

Two circumstances could prevent that. The first is Joe Biden. The November election will be a referendum on Donald Trump. All Biden has to do is not interrupt the U.S. president while he pushes his own defeat forward. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Because Biden goes from one faux pas to the next. So far, the corona virus has played into his cards because it prevented his election campaign appearances.

The choice of his runner-up could also prove difficult. If he chooses a middle-class politician like Amy Klobuchar, the party base's vigor could weaken. If he chooses a left-wing candidate like Elizabeth Warren, he could alienate voters from the suburbs.

The second circumstance would be a rapid economic recovery. This is what Donald Trump is trying to achieve by pushing for an end to contact restrictions. He also threatens to move his nominations convention from North Carolina to another state unless the governor approves a normal (crowded) event.

This is where Trump's unsolvable dilemma lies. A short-term setback would put retired Americans most at risk. The seniors helped Trump into office. Jeopardizing your safety now is a strange way of returning the favor.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020