It has become virtually impossible for Donald Trump to score a comeback victory. Only the totally self-delusionary can believe otherwise.
The polls show unequivocally that the electorate overwhelmingly holds Trump responsible for the daily worsening massive spread of the Coronavirus. Trump’s criminally negligent mismanagement of the Pandemic is sufficient to ensure a massive landslide victory for Joe Biden, together with Democratic capture of control of the United States Senate.
Yet there are three other factors as well that constitute nails in the Trump political coffin.
The first is Trump’s attempt to hold unconstitutional Obamacare, a highly popular federal healthcare program. Every time Trump has raised this as an issue during a campaign, the result has been disastrous for the GOP, particularly in the 2018 Congressional midterm elections.
The second is the Russia-Taliban scandal. Despite the pathetic attempts of the White House staff to make excuses for the president, the scandal is further evidence that the continuance of Donald Trump as president constitutes an endangerment of national security. It is now abundantly clear to the American electorate, as it has been to me since Donald Trump entered the presidential race in 2015, that he is totally in the pocket of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. And someday, the world will find out why.
The third is that Donald Trump is now on the wrong side of the cultural war. The racist brutal police murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have united Black and White Americans to an unprecedented extent to eliminate the cancer of racism from our society. Clear and convincing evidence of this interracial unity includes the mass participation of Whites in the civil rights demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd, the poll results showing majority support from the WHITE community for the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers from public places, and the joyous celebration of Blacks and Whites that greeted the taking down of the Confederate flag in once lily-white Mississippi.
As I have noted in my columns since 2015, the only authentic aspect of Donald Trump is his continuing racism. Virtually every one of his Tweets these days is a vile racist statement.
When Donald Trump entered the presidential race in 2015, I authored a column, “George Corley Wallace and Donald John Trump,” showing how they were both candidates dependent on a blatantly racist appeal https://observer.com/2015/08/george-corley-wallace-and-donald-john-trump/amp/). Remember the famous Wallace statement, “There’s more of us (racists) than there are of them?” Today, we opponents of racism are the new “us,” and Donald Trump is one of the “thems.”
So Trump’s mismanagement of the Coronavirus crisis, his war against Obamacare, his apparently treasonous refusal to respond to the Russian-financed Taliban murder of American soldiers, and his leadership of the racist side of the cultural cold war have doomed him to a landslide defeat.
In making this unequivocal prediction, I am far from being complacent. I remember the nightmare of Trump’s 2016 upset victory over Hillary Clinton and the foolish errors of the Clinton campaign. Joe Biden will not make the same mistakes, and the grassroots anti-Trump forces of both parties will work overtime for the president’s defeat. And there will be no economic revival before November to enable a Trump comeback.
And in anticipation of my Trumpist critics deriding my prognostication credentials, let me note the following. First, the following is the link to my pre-2018 midterm Congressional election prediction column (https://www.insidernj.com/three-weeks-midterm-projections-national-new-jersey/),which was virtually totally accurate.
Also, note my column early this year in which I predicted the Joe Biden nomination and the role the African-American vote would play.
The issue of prognosticating a Trump landslide defeat this November is political. I have the political credentials to make such a forecast. The issue of whether Trump drops out of the campaign to avoid a humiliating defeat, however, is psychological. And I have no psychological credentials whatsoever.
Specifically, there are two psychological issues that will determine whether Trump, in the face of a certain landslide defeat, drops out early.
The first is the effect of Trump narcissism on his decision making. Will it blind him to the likelihood of a landslide defeat? If not, will it result in his seeking a pretext to drop out of the campaign? Such a pretext could include, but not be limited to, alleged health reasons and/or claims of irreparable unfair media coverage. The possibilities are limitless.
The second is the more critical question. Is there a person with both the ability and motive to persuade Trump to withdraw?
I can answer that question without reservation in the affirmative. That person is Jared Kushner.
Politically and governmentally, Jared Kushner has proven to be the incompetent laughingstock of the Trump administration. The classic satire regarding Jared appeared in the New Yorker this week in an Andy Borowitz column, “Trump to Retaliate Against Russia by Sending Jared Kushner to Advise Kremlin on Coronavirus Response.” https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-to-retaliate-against-russia-by-sending-jared-kushner-to-advise-kremlin-on-coronavirus-response
Yet in spite of his failures, Jared Kushner has retained an uncanny ability to influence Donald Trump. I authored a column on this, “How this child from New Jersey has morphed into the Trump Family’s Rasputin.” https://www.nj.com/opinion/2020/05/how-this-child-from-new-jersey-has-morphed-into-the-trump-familys-rasputin.html?outputType=amp
And Jared Kushner has a definite motive to persuade Donald Trump not to run for reelection.
Next January, Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, will be returning to Manhattan. They will fervently want to be accepted for membership in the “Manhattan Elite” – that small group of financial powers, business executives, attorneys and doctors, media moguls, entertainment and sports celebrities, and artistic personages who set the political zeitgeist, apparel style and fashion, and entertainment priorities for America.
But Jared and Ivanka will find that as far as the Manhattan Elite is concerned, they are pariahs, tantamount to a 21st Century Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Also, the Manhattan Elite is hardly well inclined towards their fathers, Donald Trump and Charlie Kushner.
Yet there is one way Jared can remove the pariah stigma from himself and Ivanka and gain the goodwill of the Manhattan Elite. He could do this by persuading Donald Trump not to run for reelection. And in typical Jared fashion, I would expect him to attempt to gain the goodwill of the media by leaking to them all his “Exit Donald” efforts.
So as soon as Jared realizes that Donald Trump’s reelection chances are hopeless, I expect him to make a full-scale effort to persuade The Donald not to run for reelection. It may just work. And if it does, Jared Kushner may make history in a way that he never anticipated.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.