The share of Hillary voters who think it’s somewhat likely he won’t run again is 49 percent so there is an element of partisan wishcasting here, but not as much as you might think. Independents are split 37/33. Even among Republicans, only a small majority of 52 percent think it’s somewhat unlikely he’ll quit after one term. Forty-nine percent think it’s somewhat likely or aren’t sure.
That’s in response to the question, “How likely do you think it is that Donald Trump will not run for reelection in 2020?” Self-described Trump voters are actually slightly more convinced than Republicans generally that he’ll throw in the towel: They split 32/48 compared to 30/52 for GOPers overall.
I’m tempted to say that age is a factor, as Trump is the oldest person to be elected to his first term, but he shows no sign of slowing down. The man does more rage-tweeting before 7 a.m. than most people do all day. I think the numbers here are mainly a reaction to how palpably frustrated he seems in the job. The first four months of his presidency have been a stew of headlines about leaks, Russia, infighting, court setbacks, and occasional Twitter brain farts. The guy seems to hate members of his own inner circle. His one major legislative accomplishment, the House health-care bill, failed on its first attempt and is so widely unpopular that it’s effectively DOA in the Senate. And with his job approval stuck at 40 percent and Democrats vowing to block everything he does, there’s no short-term prospect for relief. All things considered, why would he run again?
So Trump returns to the White House this week just as he left — lonely, angry and not happy with much of anyone. The presidency, Donald Trump is discovering, is not an easy or natural fit.
“He now lives within himself, which is a dangerous place for Donald Trump to be,” says someone who speaks with the President. “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.”
The question, he adds, is whether Trump will understand the enormity of what he faces or will instead “be back to being arrogant and stubborn.”
If you believe Morning Consult, public opinion on impeachment has moved from 38/46 to nearly even at 43/45 in the span of a week. Even the stuff Trump was supposed to be unusually good at, like breaking through the media filter and connecting with average Americans, has been disappointing. Warren Henry:
[O]ver the broader period of the past few weeks or months, Trump’s “strong support” has declined more than his “somewhat support” has risen, while his “strong disapproval” number has risen most of all…
Candidate Trump was touted as a master of manipulating the media. His unfiltered voice was supposed turn Twitter into the 21st century’s version of FDR’s use of radio, sailing over the media White House counselor Stephen Bannon deemed to be the opposition party. Indeed, this was ostensibly a big part of candidate Trump’s appeal…
Absent the boogeywoman [Hillary Clinton], Trump looks decidedly like the GOP generally tends to look when embattled by the media: embattled. And mostly losing, despite attacks on the media from his supporters he wasn’t supposed to need.
If Schumer succeeds in frustrating Trump’s agenda and the GOP doesn’t add enough seats in 2018 to effectively neuter a Democratic filibuster, what incentive would Trump have to sign up for another beleaguered four years? Apart from trade and immigration, there are no issues that seem to really energize him. He’s already proved that he can beat the political smart set at their own game by winning the presidency. He has no deep partisan loyalty to the GOP that would lead him to run purely for the sake of having an incumbent candidate at the top of the ticket, with all of the advantages that come from that. So why do it? Is there any reason apart from denying his critics the satisfaction of saying that he quit?
Exit question: What’s Mike Pence’s take on all of this? It’s unusual for a sitting vice president to start his own PAC a few months after being sworn in, no?