With each news cycle, Donald Trump draws closer to being a failed one-term president who was unable to rise to the greatest challenge of his presidency: The national crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Consider some of the headlines that have been burned into the public mentality:
- Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on the “Today” show that the final death toll from the virus could be as high as 200,000 even if we all “do things almost perfectly.”
- An official with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis warned that the unemployment rate could soon skyrocket to 32.1 percent.
Now let’s fast-forward to November 3, when voters cast their ballots for who they want to lead them for the next four years. You have an incumbent who has been in charge when 200,000 people died and the jobless rate is almost 10 points higher than it was at the height of the Great Depression. Does that sound like the incumbent will be reelected?
Inside the Trump 2020 war room, there is palpable fear, with aides being described as “terrified” with what they’re seeing as the president’s chances of a second term trickle away with each new development, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“One former White House official said Trump’s reelection campaign advisors are terrified that the coronavirus outbreak, which so far has hit largely Democratic coastal cities hardest, will soon scythe across the rural areas that remain deeply loyal to Trump.”
That’s already happening, with new hot spots springing up in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, three states that are crucial to Trump if he hopes to have a chance in November. Just losing Florida, along with one or two key battleground states such as Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, would spell doom for Trump. He could even be facing a loss of historic proportions that would humiliate both him and the Republican Party, which is already reeling as it attempts to hold the Senate despite overwhelming odds against that transpiring.
But perhaps the most telling canary in the coal mine for the Trump faithful is something his top campaign officials are telling the president as COVID-19 reduces the nation to a hollowed-out shell of its former self, consumed with fear and mourning. According to a former official, Trump was told point blank:
“Pay attention. You’re going to lose the election.”
That was a warning staffers gave Trump when he was thinking about ending the national shutdown before May, but it could just as well be a prophecy for what will be writ large when voters mark their ballots seven months from now.