The last 12 weeks or so have been devastating and traumatic, and Donald Trump’s handling of things has been roundly derided – not ideal in an election year.
The horrendous death of George Floyd has sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, and in the midst of a global pandemic those have provided an angry backdrop to already unprecedented scenes.
Trump, once again, has been bullish in his response and has come out fighting, labelling himself the ‘President of law and order’ and threatening to have the army open fire on protestors and looters. His political advisers have no doubt been left ringing their hands….
Typically, the US election is a fairly straightforward affair: there are Republican states that will vote red no matter what, and similarly the Democrats enjoy historic support in particular pockets of the country too.
The difference-maker is often the middle ground – the floating voters with no ideological preference, and on that note the tide seems to be turning against Trump ahead of the November election.
Trump Thumped in the Polls
While by no means an absolute arbiter of what is to follow, the polls offer an indication of how the vote might pan out….albeit we’re still months away from the ballot opening.
Coronavirus, police brutality, recession – these are not ideal conditions for a leader, and the polls have reflected Trump’s handling of one of the worst three-month periods for a president imaginable.
The polls give Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate, a considerable 7.8% lead over Trump, with a lead in seven of the ten ‘battleground’ states that will go a long way towards determining the result.
And the really interesting twist comes in Texas, a state that is notoriously Republican and where Trump defeated Clinton by almost 10% of the vote in 2016. According to the latest polls, the current President leads Biden by just 1% in the Lone Star State – a potentially significant predictor that sums up the mood of the nation.
If the Texans are considering turning Democratic, you know that something is amiss.
The polls are just one indicator of course, and the approval rating is another measure of a President’s standing with the voters. Currently, Trump has a 54.2% disapproval rating – calamitously high when you consider that George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter, who both went on to lose their re-election bid, had disapproval ratings of 51.5% and 52% respectively.
George W Bush was in a similar position, but after vowing to fight a ‘war on terror’ following the 9/11 bombings, a patriotic groundswell eventually swept him to victory.
Which begs the question: what lengths will Donald Trump go to in order to be re-elected?
Biden Backed By Punters
The first week of June was a landmark in the campaign with Joe Biden going odds on to win the election for the first time.
He’s 19/20 with the sportsbooks and into 1.98 on the Betfair Exchange, with a whopping £34 million matched already – the 2020 US Presidential Election will easily become the most wagered upon market in the history of the exchange.
Trump’s price has extended from a low of 1.64 in February, when the US stock exchange recorded some of the best results in its history, to a high of 2.34 today. It will take a minor miracle for him to reverse that trend in the coming weeks and months.
Could Donald Trump Delay the Election?
With the coronavirus pandemic proving destructive in a number of key states, there is the possibility that Trump will try to delay the election from happening if his approval rating remains so low.
The President has said he has no intention of pushing the November 3 date back any further, claiming that a talk of a delay was ‘made-up propaganda’ from Biden and co. Trump said he was ‘looking forward’ to the election.
Biden himself said: “Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”
The reality is that Trump doesn’t have the power to delay or postpone the election without the support of Congress, which at the moment features a Democrat-led House. It seems highly unlikely that they will green light a delay to the Presidential election unless the safety of voters cannot be guaranteed.
As much as he might like to think otherwise, Donald Trump does not possess omnipotent powers that can overthrow democracy. He may just find out the hard way come November.