A coronavirus-fueled recession should hurt President Donald Trump’s chances for reelection, especially when combined with the health crisis itself. However, the betting odds still favor Trump over Democrat Joe Biden — at least for now.
Historically, the economy is one of the top issues (if not THE top issue) in a presidential election.
Just a few months ago, numerous election-prediction models confidently projected that Trump would coast to an easy victory driven by the then-sizzling economy.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 25, 2019
However, the COVID-19 outbreak changed all that, and the country is now stumbling around in uncharted territory. The crisis has decimated the economy thanks to mass business shutdowns.
Political strategist Karl Rove said how President Trump responds to the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus hysteria will determine if he wins a second term.
“Presidents who are in recessions tend to lose, and presidents who are not in recessions tend to win,” Rove told Fox & Friends. “But we have never been in a circumstance like this where the country has suffered economic contraction because of a virus this close to a presidential election.”
Rove said while rational Americans won’t blame Trump for the COVID-19 outbreak, they will judge how he navigates the fallout from the pandemic.
“Their question is going to be: ‘Does he seem to be doing the things that are reasonable and prudent to get us back to economic health as rapidly as possible?’” Rove remarked. “[Voters] are going to say, ‘How does he seem to be handling this? and, ‘Does he seem to be moving us in the right direction?’”
President Trump has repeatedly reassured Americans that the U.S. economy will roar back and be even hotter than it was before. Why? Because its collapse was not caused by a fundamentally weak economy, but an artificial, outside factor (coronavirus panic).
“The economy is going to do very well,” Trump said this week. “I think we’re going to have a big bounce. We’re going to open up very strong.”
For now, two different election-betting markets (which were more accurate than political polls in 2016) say Trump’s odds of winning the White House are better than Joe Biden‘s.
It’s remarkable that Biden has not overtaken Trump in the betting markets even though the President has been relentlessly attacked by a hostile media and the country is in disarray because it’s embroiled in an unprecedented crisis.
The anti-Trump mainstream media have been stoking terror among their audience by overhyping the coronavirus crisis and painting a dismal future for the United States.
Basically, they hope that if Americans are scared enough, they’ll blame Trump and vote him out.
However, this strategy could backfire bigly. Longstanding psychology research suggests that the scarier the coronavirus crisis is, the better President Trump’s chances for winning are.
Why? Because multiple studies on terror management show that people prefer leaders with Alpha Male personalities during times of uncertainty and upheaval.
“A widely studied psychological phenomenon suggests…that with the grimness of death hanging in the air, anxious Americans might actually be more likely to support Trump in November because of his dominant leadership style and his claims of offering protection,” Politico reported.
The research on terror management clearly suggests that the more anxious Americans become through the next election cycle, the more likely that Trump’s current disaster bump in the polls will hold, and the greater his chances for reelection.
When humans are reminded of their own mortality—such as during a pandemic—they are much more inclined to…support brash, charismatic leaders who claim to protect them.”
Author: Samantha Chang