Saturday, August 24, 2019

Trump will not win in 2020

Donald Trump giving a thumbs up while walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in 2018.

I have decided to go ahead and make my 2020 presidential prediction. Not fully, but simply to say that Trump will lose in 2020. Many will assume this is just one more anti-trump ranting about how crazy he is, but I have been from day 1 of this president a Trump agnostic.

I have been supportive of his supreme court picks. He is not wrong about the fact that there are serious issues at the border (I don't think he always handles them the best). I think he has cut back some regulations that should be cut back. I regularly speak to my kids when they hear bad things about him at school that we support him as our president, wish him the best and regularly pray for him, just as we do and did with all our presidents.

On the other hand, his total lack of self control and morals is disturbing. But, I am not blind to the fact that many men who have held his position have not walked much of their life on the moral high ground. (Although it does surprise me to see so many who couldn't stand Bill Clinton because of his moral shortfalls and affairs, turn a total blind eye to Trump's extra circular activities.) I think his views on free trade are horrible for the economy. I think his delusion (that seems to be shared by every political party in power)  that you can cut taxes and increase spending and lead to a disaster is just that. And while every president since Bill Clinton has shared this delusion Trump has embraced it to new extremes.

But with all that, I am still a big believer that Trump has less impact on our individual lives than most give him credit for. And I am far from a cheer leader for any of the democratic candidates for the 2020 election.

So, why if I am largely a Trump agnostic, am I going ahead with my way too early prediction that he will loose? Because yesterday I think Trump did more to sink his election chances than any day before and sometimes I can't stop thinking about things until I get it out of my head and onto the page, so, that is exactly what I am doing.

Yesterday Trump tweeted: Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.

We have gotten so used to President Trump throwing out, less than thought out, ideas on twitter to the point that we are almost numb to whatever he says. I think this was a bigger mistake than Trump usually makes. Many have begun to make fun of his use of the term "hereby order." And while it is language that is often seen in executive orders, (Maybe Trump thought he could save some time for his staff, by allowing them to cut and paste from his twitter) the decision to use it on twitter was a mistake that will impact Trump.

I think even some of Trump's base may have shuddered by the use of the words, "hereby order." We as Americans are not fans of dictators, or kings and hereby ordering businesses to stop using a country that has the second largest economy in the world, and makes everything from cell phones to MAGA hats is not going to happen.

But the bigger reason I am predicting Trump will loose is he showed yesterday that he is willing to play Chicken with our economy when it comes to the trade war with China. If you think people win trade wars you have successfully avoided both history class and economics class. China is loosing more than we are, and has more to loose. That is why President Trump has made the calculus that if he puts the pressure high enough China will give in and it will lead ultimately to more open trade (at least that is my assumption.) The danger in this thought process is that China can afford to loose much much more than us. China is communist, their people are not free, also they have not had the type of prosperity that America has and are thereby more equipped to handle economic hardships than we are.

Trump's decision to raise tariffs even higher (30%) on some goods, will negatively impact our economy. Trump's path to 270 has always been narrow, possible, but narrow. His focus has been on his base, attack the media, and realize for most of America he doesn't have to be loved, just not hated as bad as one other person (something he may find harder to pull off when the other person isn't Hillary).  But nothing effects peoples votes like the economy. If we go through a recession between now and the election he will loose and the probability of that recession occurring increases everyday. We are all ready in the longest expansion in US history. Think about it, President Obama had expansion for almost his entire 8 years and Trump has continued to be part of it. But can the record hold?

Many may say, but Trump is right. China has been a terrible trade partner. They steal our secrets, create a huge trade deficit, don't reciprocate with free trade even when we give it to them. We would be better off going with someone else. To that I say, he might be right. If every company followed his royal decree to get away from China and partner more with India, Mexico and Canada, maybe even open up a MAGA hat factory in the US, we may look back ten years from now and say. It was totally worth it. We are so much better off than if we had stuck with China. I am not saying he is wrong, I am saying it will be significant pain and economic pullback in the meantime. No one can wave a magic wand and replace what the second largest economy in the world does for us. Like it or not, our lifestyle is dependent on China, and China's lifestyle is dependent on us.

Building connections, factory's, shipping routes and all the physical infrastructure, political infrastructure, and digital infrastructure to make it happen will take significant time and capital. Will a 30% tariff force this change sooner rather than later? absolutely. Yet the payout, if there is one, will not be until long after his reelection.

So, all that said I predict that we will see a recession before Nov. 2020 and as such Trump will loose reelection.

1 comment:

  1. You may be right, but I wish the media would report Trump's WHOLE tweets or interviews instead of carefully selected snippets designed to further their narrative. Better yet, wouldn't it be wonderful if individuals interested in how our government is, and will be, impacting their lives would seek first hand information, ponder, research, then form their own opinions yet remaining open to change, so discussions can be based on truth, not hearsay?

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