President Trump started his 2020 reelection campaign before he’d even finished his first year in office and he’s at least outwardly expressed confidence that he would win a second term from day one. It may come as a surprise to hear that an increasing number of people have been coming around to that idea as the months have worn on, despite the endless Russia, Russia, Russia investigation and supposed scandals surrounding his Cabinet members, aides and campaign staff. But there’s one person I really hadn’t expected to hear this cheerful outlook from. That would be an early and prominent member of the NeverTrump cadre who once took to the stage and described then-candidate Trump as “a con man.” That would be none other than Mitt Romney, but now he’s singing a different tune. (Associated Press)

He once called Donald Trump “a con man,” but Mitt Romney on Thursday night predicted that Trump would “easily” win his party’s presidential nomination in 2020 and “solidly” win a second term.

Romney, the GOP’s failed 2012 presidential nominee from Massachusetts, now a Republican Senate candidate in Utah, made the prediction as he welcomed dozens of high-profile business and political leaders to a mountainside retreat in Utah Thursday night. As he has every year since 2012, Romney played host to an invitation-only summit focused on the future of American leadership at home and abroad.

The future, he predicted, would feature Trump as America’s leader at least for another six years.

So what made Romney come around, assuming he actually has? It’s true that Trump’s approval numbers have been slowly but steadily creeping upward for a while now and the mood of the nation is certainly improving along with the economy. So was it just the results and all the #winning (if you’ll pardon the term) that’s brightened Mitt’s mood?

Maybe. But there’s also the fact that he’s running for a Senate seat in Utah right now. Despite the endless, negative drumbeat against Trump in the media, the President is still pretty popular in that state and being seen as a Trump supporter can save you a lot of grief from the base. Perhaps I’m selling Romney a bit short here, but let’s be honest… he’s still a politician with a race to run and, assuming he’s elected (a fairly safe bet) he’s going to have to work with not only his new Senate colleagues but the President as well. Never hurts to grease the wheels a bit before you arrive for your first day on the job.

As I said above, though, the mood about Trump’s 2020 prospects does seem to be shifting in some quarters. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a tweet from MSNBC evening host Chris Hayes (hardly a Trump fan to put it mildly) where he was teasing an upcoming show that sounded as if he was predicting some gloom and doom about the President. I responded to him, suggesting that he was basically predicting disaster for Trump and received a very unexpected reply.

I’ll confess, that one nearly knocked my socks off. If Hayes thinks Trump may pull off a second term, what hope for liberals anywhere? And he’s not the only one. I’m hardly saying that Trump is a shoe-in for 2020 success yet, but it’s certainly not out of the question. Why? There are a few factors, including the aforementioned improvements in the economy, wages, jobs and consumer confidence. But there’s something else as well. The media has been attacking Trump since day one. It’s been relentless. But four years is a long time, and it’s beginning to feel as if they’ve defeated their own purpose by desensitizing the nation. At this point, if there was actual bad news to report about Trump I’m not sure how many people would pay attention.

The other factor is the way that the #RESIST movement is driving the Democratic Party today. It’s still possible that the Dems are going to feel so much pressure from the anti-Trumpers in their base that they’ll wind up fielding a candidate so far to the left and so out of touch with middle-America that they will lose. Perhaps bigly. But as I said, there’s a lot of water yet to flow under the bridge before we get to that stage.