Does Trump Want To Win?
“President Trump May Lose This Election.”
That chyron, coupled with violent images of looting, greeted Tucker Carlson’s Trump-friendly viewers the other night. A growing unease has overtaken the president’s allies, as dismal polling bubbles up daily.
A battering of polls paint a bleak picture for the incumbent. Biden is up in all the battleground states, up 14 points nationally, and even leading in the Republican bastions of Texas and Georgia.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board quipped, “President Trump may soon need a new nickname for ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden. How does President-elect sound? On present trend that’s exactly what Mr. Biden will be on Nov. 4, as Mr. Trump heads for what could be an historic repudiation that would take the Republican Senate down with him.”
On camera, Trump does not appear to have a plan for a potential second term. When Fox News’ Sean Hannity lobbed the softball of, “What are your top priority items for a second term,” Trump whiffed:
“Well, one of the things that will be really great… You know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meeting. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, ‘This is great.’”
In that same interview, Trump opined that, “Biden is going to be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”
The rambling answer to his second term plans coupled with the uncharacteristic acknowledgment that he is vulnerable has led some staffers to wonder if his “heart” is in this re-election fight.
The real question is not whether or not Trump wants to win re-election, as his self-destructive actions speak for themselves. The real question is why would he want another term?
Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth to be $4.5 billion when he announced his candidacy for president. Forbes now estimates Trump to be worth $2.1 billion. While some of that loss is due to the coronavirus’ economic impact on his businesses, at least $200 million of that loss is directly related to occupying the White House, which does not even include hefty legal fees. As Forbes notes, Trump’s luxury rentals in blue cities have seen declining revenue, and companies like Macy’s and Serta who used to pay for Trump’s brand name have severed ties with the divisive president.
Trump has seen his net worth more than halve during one term. Is it really so unthinkable that perhaps part of Trump does not want to “win” a second term?
Donald Trump never wanted to be president. When he launched his campaign in 2015, the marketing tactician saw a potential for free media coverage, which he believed would boost his brand. On the night of the election upset, Don Jr. said it looked like his father “had seen a ghost.”
It could be argued that Trump likes playing president, but not being president. Over half his schedule is filled with “executive time,” when the president watches his favorite cable news shows. When he’s not watching Fox or tweeting, the president golfs. He has enjoyed 256 rounds of golf, which costs the taxpayer over $136,000,000.
Sam Nunberg, who is a former Trump adviser and current supporter, warned that Trump “is on the precipice of one of the worst electoral defeats in modern presidential elections and the worst historically for an incumbent president.” Nunberg also admits that, if Trump’s base continues to erode, it is entirely possible Trump would reconsider running for a second term this fall.
“Certainly, if I don’t win, I don’t win,” Trump recently said, adding he would “go on (and) do other things.” The milquetoast, almost defeatist attitude is almost unrecognizable in Trump, who repeatedly claimed he would not accept the results of the 2016 election unless he won.
Trump’s re-election efforts are in trouble — and maybe that’s ok with him.