Statesmanship? Not a quality required to become President of the United States of America. It’s the Presidential Reality Show®, starring, TV Reality Show Champion, Donald Trump, joined by a cast of contestants of all colors, creeds and genders who will put on their best act and perform their best stunts to dethrone “The Donald” to win the White House crown — 2020.
And as evidenced by the ongoing road show of the current class of contenders, by their grand promises, side show antics and willingness to perform any stunt necessary to shine in the national spotlight, they have proved the point of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the two term Republican President, former Five Star General and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II who noted, “Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.”
And now, in this age of gender equality, with a record number of women seeking the Presidential throne, it’s not just “any man who wants to be president” who is either an “egomaniac or crazy.”
SOCIALISTS VS. CAPITALISTS
With the election still 19 months away, the foundation has been set by President Donald Trump: “It’s the economy, stupid.” It will be a race simplified by two opposing themes, Capitalism vs. Socialism.
In fact, in their effort to demonize socialism and all who support it, President Trump and White House officials, while overtly attacking the Venezuelan socialist system as the cause for the nation’s hardship, are also simultaneously implying that Democratic presidential hopefuls wanting to employ it in America, would prove to be a recipe for disaster.
In February, as the U.S. was ramping up its strategies to replace Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with the self-anointed President Juan Guaido, President Trump clearly set the 2020 Presidential Reality Show® stage by ridiculing socialism as the cause of Venezuela’s dire economic depression: “The twilight hour of socialism has arrived,” Trump said. “To those who would impose socialism on the U.S., we again deliver a very simple message: America will never be a socialist country. Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on. This will never happen to us.”
Also attacking Venezuelan socialism was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he announced the closing of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela in mid-March, and denounced socialism, which had nothing to do with the reasons for America pulling diplomats out of Venezuela: “Nicolás Maduro promised Venezuelans a better life in a socialist paradise. And he delivered on the socialism part, which has proved time and time again is a recipe for economic ruin.”
Among the record number of Democrats who have announced their intentions to seek the presidency, many are proudly pushing a “socialism” agenda. However, most recently, understanding that socialism will be among the loudest Presidential Reality Show® talking points, media darling Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas Congressman who gained broad national recognition when he narrowly lost the 2018 Senate race to Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz, recently loudly stated, “I’m a capitalist.”
NO RECESSION PRIOR TO ELECTION?
As we have made clear, with the economy the prominent dynamic of the 2020 Presidential Reality Show®, Mr. Trump will employ all means within his presidential powers to keep U.S. growth as strong as possible leading up to Election Day.
With the strong desire to retain his office, and as a heavily invested real estate mogul, as clearly evidenced by his steady verbal assaults in 2018 against the Federal Reserve when they raised interest rates, we forecast that as the economy slows, he will pressure the Feds to lower rates to keep Gross Domestic Product growing. Indeed, since the Fed has raised rates 9 times since 2015, Trump will make the case for them to bring rates down much further should recessionary fears intensify, which they already are.
A newly-released study from UCLA reports that U.S. GDP will cool to 1.7 percent in 2019 and 1.1 percent in 2020 with “a very real risk the national economy will slide into a recession in late 2020 as the presidential election heads into high gear, ending the current expansion that began a decade ago.”
And, as noted, although it is assumed that the U.S. president does not have the power to dictate Federal Reserve policy, we attribute Trump’s sustained attack against the Fed as the dominant reason why its Chairman, Jerome Powell, on 4 January did a U-turn, reversing what was to be aggressive interest rate hikes in 2019 to one of “patience.” TJ
While socialism vs. capitalism and the state of the economy will be among the dominant talking points in the Presidential Reality Show®, the major themes the Democrats will be pushing beyond free health care, free college education, income inequality, breaking up monopolies and taxing the rich, will be the still unresolved “border wall” issue and illegal immigration.
This polarizing issue will not only sharply divide the nation, it will clearly put those in favor of looser immigration laws on the Democrat side and those supporting “the wall” for Trump. Also strengthening his re-election position is the possibility of peace with North Korea and an end to the nearly two-decade war in Afghanistan, which will also help him win the electoral vote in states that voted for him in the previous election.
Thus, again, it is possible for Trump to lose the popular vote but win a majority of the electoral vote.
And of course, in trend forecasting, we always acknowledge that no one can predict the future considering the wild cards that may be dealt whether man-made or by Mother Nature. And at this point in U.S. politics there is no wilder a card than the Trump card. Also, should there be terror strike or another war, those will be the dominant issues that will sway the election, not the economy.