The 2020 election isn’t going to be close.
The first-quarter gross domestic product growth rate of 3.2 per cent sets up the first reality that will be noted in November 2020 because it telegraphs where the economy will be then: not in recession.
Recessions are charted when GDP growth is negative for two consecutive quarters or more. That can and has occurred in sudden fashion – financial panics don’t send “save the date” cards.
But the economy over which president Donald Trump is presiding is strong and getting stronger.
Innovation is accelerating, not declining. A recession before election day looks less and less likely by the day.
Small wonder then that Trump dominates the GOP with an approval rating above 80 per cent.
His administration’s deregulatory push is accelerating. More and more rule-of-law judges, disinclined to accept bureaucrats’ excuses for over-regulation, are being confirmed to the bench. Readiness levels in the US military have been renewed. America’s relationship with its strongest ally, Israel, is at its closest in decades. Meanwhile, the Democrats are facing a Hobbesian choice of Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris, or former vice president Joe Biden.
Sanders and Harris are too far to the left, Sanders by a lot. Biden is far past his best years. The nice folk lower down are looking for other rewards. The nomination going to someone such as Pete Buttigieg, mayor of Indiana’s South Bend, is possible, I suppose, but what happens when the dog chasing the car catches it?
What was an entertaining and amusing aside suddenly becomes a commitment and, with that, well, comes a barrage of attacks. Where Trump deflects incoming with ease, the Democrats scatter, some limping away, some blown out of the picture.
This will come as news to #Resistance liberals, who are certain Trump will lose, because they dislike him so much. They still haven’t figured out that 40 percent of the country love him and at least another 10 percent are very much committed to considering the alternative in comparison to Trump, not reflexively voting against him.
That decile is doing very well in this economy. Unemployment remains incredibly low. The markets are soaring. That’s not a given for the fall of 2020, but better to be soaring than falling 18 months out.
On immigration, border security has always been a legitimate concern (and Immigration and Customs Enforcement a legitimate agency).
People don’t talk much about it as they decline to state anything that will see them labelled racist, but the reality of open borders is understood to be an unqualified disaster by most of the country, and most of the country understands the Democrats to be arguing for a de facto open-border system, if not a de jure one.
The Green New Deal sounds like a bad science-fair project where the smart kids got the colours to combine via an elaborate device and make all the “lava” flow black down the volcanoes’ sides and the village is destroyed.
Medicare-for-all is a professor Harold Hill production, headed for Iowa as was the Music Man.
There’s not a lot of serious thinking or talking among the Democrats about the People’s Republic of China and the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea (which many may think is some sort of shorthand for their marks on the debate stage), or Huawei, which is just too complicated to try to debate in five-minute exchanges.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s turn as Madame Defarge may even wake up some of the wealthy-woke to their peril. It’s a circus coming to a cable-news network near you soon.
Last week’s message from a booming economy should have rocked the Democratic field. Alas, the party seems collectively intent on poring over the Mueller report yet again in the hope that, somehow, someway, there’s something there.
But the probe is over. No collusion. No obstruction.
Democrats have to campaign on something else besides a great economy, rising values of savings, low unemployment across every demographic, clarity about allies and enemies abroad, and a rebuilding military.
It’s a tough needle to thread, condemning everything about Trump except all that he has accomplished that President Barack Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Not just tough – it’s practically impossible.
This article was first published in The Washington Post