US President Donald J Trump has by all accounts had a turbulent presidency so far. Impeachment, a successful economic policy, Covid19, and riots are just a few of the words that come to mind when one is asked to describe his presidency. One factor that will determine his possibility to be re-elected is the outlook of the US economy. Those indicators have often, but not always proven to be an important factor when it comes to the possibility of an incumbent president to be given a second term.
As of now, the American public is highly divided regarding Trump and this polarisation is nothing new but something that was brewing even before the emergence of Trump in the political arena. The two main political parties in the US, the Republicans, and the Democrats have each turned more to their respective flank. The Democrats have moved from being a moderate liberal party, or by European standards, even right-wing towards becoming more and more socially liberal and some fractions are even openly socialistic. The Republicans on the other hand have moved significantly to the right and in some respect also more to the extreme when it comes to the lib- con scale. This is not something new but something that was initiated over ten years ago with the Tea Party movement, a movement that sought to transform the republican party. The advent of Trump led to yet another shift, in some ways mirrored by the rise of Bernie Sanders in the 2015 elections where the differences between the two parties became more extreme than ever.
With a clear drop in approval rating and events out of his control, the frustration in the White House is rising. Before February the US economy was booming but COVID 19, as well as trade wars and turmoil, led to a situation where the US economy is what can be described as free fall. However, some indicators show a slight recovery but the question is: Will it be enough for Trump to claim victory in an area where he has invested a lot of prestige and has the divisions in the US society risen to a level where the motivation to vote is stronger on the democratic side than on the republican? The question is also how the average voter will react to recent events. Trump’s approval rating even among registered republicans is dropping and still remains relatively low amongst independents. Perhaps Trumps’ dilemma is that he has taken credit for a booming economy, something that is not entirely his doing, and now when the tide has shifted he finds himself left without control over the same things he claimed control over.
How can he explain this to the average voter? His electoral base remains steadfast by his side but for those not yet convinced of his greatness, in order to win them over Mr. Trump is in need of a large portion of luck and a discourse that shifts as far as possible from the current that focuses on softer values. At the moment all Trump can do is try to unite a people that is more divided than ever and that is something he has failed to do so far and hope Covid19 and riots are long forgotten before November, and yes I almost forgot. He needs to show that the economic indicators are pointing in a positive direction and that the sentiment changes from depression to a more positive mood. As it seems now Trump is between that rock and that other hard place.
The author Henrik G.S. Arvidsson is an award-winning researcher and lecturer in international business. He has over 25 years of experience as a business consultant and currently owns businesses in the fields of Consultancy, fiduciary, and transport. and
Co-author Ruslana Arvidsson is a political scientist specialised in governance and innovation