Strangely, it appears President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) does not want reelection.
To elaborate, I think Trump is sabotaging his own reelection campaign and not trying to win a second term. However, Trump is the Republican nominee.
I think Trump is trying to lose in several ways. First, Trump is refusing to take public actions against coronavirus.
Dramatically, Trump is refusing to be the tough and aggressive leader many Americans thought they elected. Instead, the Donald is a wimp who takes no action good or bad.
Why is Trump Wimping Out?
To explain, I think a few simple actions by Trump; such as wearing a mask and discouraging gatherings could make him look responsible.
For example, Trump could have used his bully pulpit to criticize Disney (NYSE: DIS) for reopening Disneyland and Disneyworld. In addition, Trump could demand authorities cancel questionable gatherings such as the great biker rally at Sturgis, South Dakota.
Finally, Trump could try to use his authority as President to close Disneyworld or shut Sturgis down. I don’t know if Trump has the authority to close Disney or prevent Sturgis, but is worth a try to save lives. If the president can order meatpacking plants to reopen, I think the chief executive could order theme parks shuttered.
An attack on Disney could make the Donald look responsible while attacking a greedy and irresponsible giant corporation from Hollywood. I think the Republican base and many ordinary Americans would cheer such an action. Even a few Tweets attacking Disney could help Trump look presidential where are they?
Trump could appear to be a hero; or a second coming of Theodore Roosevelt (R-New York), if he had federal marshals padlock Disney’s gates or military police break up Sturgis. Importantly, I think the public will support such actions. People want leadership and protection from the virus and Big Business.
Why Biden is Winning
Instead, Trump tells ordinary Americans “I do not care about you, your families, or your lives.” Disgustingly, the message the president sends “is all I care about is corporations’ ability to make money.”
That message gives people no reason to vote for Trump and every reason to vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Delaware). Additionally, all Biden needs to make Trump look bad is to appear in public in a mask.
That is exactly what Biden is doing. Additionally Biden is running campaign ads that resemble public service announcements in Texas. In those ads, Biden looks presidential and tells people to wear a mask.
Predictably, Biden, an astute politician, is leading in the polls. Once again, Biden proves he is not Hillary R. Clinton (D-New York).
A Stimulus could Save Trump
Beyond Biden and the coronavirus, there is Trump’s failure to take economic action. Okay, the President has little ability to influence the economy.
However, Trump could make a deal with Congress to pass a large economic stimulus. For example, a $1,000 or $2,000 a month stimulus payment to every American until the pandemic ends.
I think Trump could get reelected in a landslide if he signed such a stimulus. However, the Donald is not even trying to get a stimulus or a continuation of the $600 a week unemployment insurance extension passed. The $600 helps up to 32 million Americans, who vote. Yet Trump ignores them.
Note to his credit, Trump has ordered a second $400 unemployment insurance bonus. However, that bonus could only continue for a few weeks unless Congress appropriates more money. In addition, Fox Business admits most recipients will only receive $300 because states will have to contribute $100.
The President’s Economic Response is too Little Too Late
The President is supposed to be the master of the deal, yet he is not negotiating with Congress. To be fair, getting a deal will be hard because Democrats do not want to give Trump anything that could help his reelection efforts.
However, I think Trump could make a deal with Congress. For example, the Donald could offer to sign something Democrats supposedly want; such as Medicare for All, or a $15 minimum wage, in exchange for a big stimulus.
If Democrats cannot pass the legislation Trump can blame them and tell the Democratic base how their leaders betrayed them. However, Trump is not publicly talking to Congress.
Even though Congressional Democrats often make concessions to Trump on many issues including defense and the Patriot Act. For example, 37 U.S. Democratic Senators joined Republicans in passing a $740 military budget that increased spending by $2 billion in on 24 July 2020.
In fact, the Left constantly criticizes Democrats for making too many concessions to Trump on national security issues. Left-wing bloggers, in particular, constantly criticize Congressional Democrats for working too closely with Republicans.
Trump’s Horrible Messaging
Finally, Trump’s 2020 messaging is horrible. I think Trump succeeded in 2016 because his messaging was simple and straightforward and focused on the economy.
To elaborate, Trump’s 2016 message was “immigration and free trade are bad and hurt American workers, so I oppose both.” That message was easy to understand, and it evaded complex cultural issues that drive off working-class voters.
Conversely, in 2020 Trump’s messaging is a confusing culturalist mess of rants about law and order, the dangers of Marxism, socialism, TikTok, statues, Antifa, and many issues ordinary Americans do not care about. In essence, Trump is defending statues of long dead generals from a possibly imaginary terrorist group (antifa) while ordinary Americans are standing in bread lines.
Such messages will play well to campus Republicans, or at conservative cocktail parties in Georgetown and the Hampdens. However, they will fall on deaf ears in the Heartland. Worse, Americans suffering from coronavirus and poverty will see such messages as a “fuck you” rather than a call to arms.
Likewise, Trump’s recent actions; such as deploying federal agents to protect empty federal courthouses and threatening to ban TikTok, will not win any votes. I think such actions will drive voters to Biden.
The elderly retiree who is frightened to leave the house because of coronavirus; and the unemployed worker in line at the food bank do not care about statues, TikTok, or antifa. Those people want action on the pandemic and the economy.
Trump Does not Look Presidential
Oddly, the action does not have to be successful, to help Trump, just action. Or even the illusion of action.
Notably, other politicians who take questionable actions; such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York City), have high approval ratings. A July 10 NBC/Marist Poll estimates 60% of New Yorkers approve of Cuomo’s performance.
Cuomo is the man who ordered nursing homes to take patients with coronavirus and probably infected tens of thousands of elderly people, some of whom died. Yet Coumo gets high approval ratings because takes action. In contrast, Gallup gave Trump a 41% approval rating in a July 1-23 poll.
I think a few actions; such as closing Disneyworld or a public service announcement in which the president tells Americans to wear masks, could make Trump look presidential and responsible. Yet there is no such action.
The sorry truth is that Trump does not look presidential. Moreover, Trump himself is doing nothing to make himself look presidential.
What is Wrong with Trump?
I think Trump is too astute a politician not to grasp this reality. Hence, I believe there can only be two explanations.
First, Trump does not want reelection, so he is trying to sabotage his own reelection efforts by appearing unpresidential. Or second, Trump is suffering from dementia or mental health problems and does not know what he is doing.
Remember, Trump; a reality TV star and pitchman, is an expert at keeping up appearances. Yet, the Donald is doing a poor job of keeping up appearances. I have to wonder if Trump is slipping mentally, but his staff is covering it up.
Why Trump wants to be Banned from Twitter
However, there is some evidence that Trump, or somebody close to him, understands what is happening. Moreover, there are indications Trump is preparing for a loss.
In particular, I think Trump is trying to get himself banned from Twitter. For instance, Trump is making false claims, including the myth that coronavirus does not affect children. I think Trump knows the claim is false, but he makes it to get banned.
This is bothersome because Twitter is Trump’s most potent communications tool. Some observers think Twitter elected Trump in 2016.Yet Trump wants Twitter to kick him off.
My guess is that Trump hopes he could use a Twitter ban as an excuse for a loss in November. To explain, the Donald could blame Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), its hipster CEO Jack Dorsey, China, Wall Street, or Silicon Valley for his defeat rather than his own incompetence.
Are you Ready for the Trump Show?
In addition, I think Trump could such use claims as the basis of a narrative to create a new brand or image to market after leaving office. Trump, for example, could present himself as the victim of a conspiracy on his new Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN show.
The Trump Show could attract lots of ratings and win the Donald a big new TV contract. In addition, the show could give Trump a soapbox from which to attack the “traitors” who sabotaged his presidency every weeknight.
Note: most of the “traitors” Trump will attack will be Republicans such as U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana). I predict Trump will repay those men for their loyalty by trying to destroy them.
Moreover, Trump could get such a show because CNN and MSNBC’s ratings are collapsing. I think those networks could be so desperate they will air anything that attracts ratings – even the Trump Show.
How Former President Trump can Laugh all the way to the bank
In fact, I think Trump could get a huge contract ($50 million to $100 million) a year as long as his show attracts two or three million viewers a night.
In today’s diminished TV market, one million viewers a night is a vast audience for a cable show. For example, the highest-rated cable TV program on 14 August 2020 was Tucker Carlson’s gabfest. Adweek estimates Carlson received 4.3 million viewers on 14 August 2020.
Beyond TV, there’s podcasting, book deals, public speaking engagements (they made former President Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) rich), and merchandising. Another racket Trump could tap is a travelling Trump rally where he will charge his legions of rabid supporters $100 or $200 to hear his latest wisdom and buy the latest Trump merchandise.
I think former President Donald J. Trump could rake in $100 million a year with his “brand.” Thus Trump could laugh all the way to the bank while having fun mocking his enemies.
In the final analysis, Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) wants to lose. Republicans need to deal with that reality if they do not want to join the Donald in defeat.
Originally published at https://marketmadhouse.com on August 15, 2020.