Now that the heated U.S. midterm elections have come to a close, the country will swiftly shift its focus to the 2020 election, as candidates begin to emerge to take on President Donald Trump.
But the Democratic victory could, ironically, boost Trump’s chance of getting re-elected in 2020. Some oddsmakers say that after the midterms, the president’s chance of winning in two years has increased thanks to Republicans picking up more seats in the Senate. Only five presidents in the past 105 years have added Senate seats in off-year elections.
Trump’s odds to win a second term in 2020 shortened to 6/4 from 13/8 with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power. That equates an implied probability of 40 percent that Trump wins re-election. Las Vegas oddsmaker Bovada offered similar odds, with Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas (10/1) and Senators Kamala Harris of California (10/1) and Bernie Sanders of Vermont (12/1), as well as former Vice President Joe Biden (14/1), rated as the top challengers.
The president congratulated himself after the midterms in an early morning tweet on Wednesday. “Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!” Trump wrote.
The president has remained confident that he can beat any Democratic challenger in his re-election bid, calling potential opponents like Biden “dream” rivals. Back in September, Trump said that “nobody is going to come close” to defeating him in two years because his administration is “doing a great job.”
But some polls have indicated that the president may be more vulnerable than he lets on.
A recent survey by Axios suggested that Trump would lose to every woman who has been floated as a possible Democratic challenger—and that includes his 2016 opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The poll indicated Trump’s biggest threat to be former first lady Michelle Obama, who has a 13-point lead over the president. Other outstanding candidates include Oprah Winfrey and Harris, as well as fellow Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Even though Winfrey and Obama have denied any intention of running for political office, the poll indicates how great a threat women are to Trump’s agenda, especially when the president is losing favorability with female voters. Sixty percent of women disapprove of everything Trump has done so far in his presidency, according to YouGov.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on November 5. After the midterm elections come to a close, all eyes will be on 2020, as candidates begin to emerge to challenge Trump. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sanders, who gave Clinton a run for her money during the 2016 primaries, would edge out Trump by double-digit percentage points, according to multiple polls. A Politico/Morning Consult survey conducted earlier this fall showed the lawmaker leading Trump 44 percent to 32 percent. While Sanders has not declared his intention to run in 2020, the senator has not ruled it out and has said on multiple occasions that Trump “has got to be defeated.”
The same poll also showed that Trump would also suffer a loss to Biden, with the former vice president ahead by 12 percentage points. And while Biden is not up for election this midterm cycle, he has been hitting the campaign trail stumping for Democratic candidates facing tough races around the country. Though speaking with reporters on Tuesday morning, Biden said it would be “too early” to announce a presidential run.
Billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been one of the top Democratic donors this election cycle and has hinted several times about possibly running for the presidency come 2020. In a newly released advertisement, Bloomberg speaks directly to the camera about the need to elect Democrats.
“Political violence tears at the heart of our democracy,” Bloomberg said in the video, citing mass shootings and bombings, “and violence against a religious group in a house of God tears at the heart of our humanity.”
Bloomberg publicly re-registered as a Democrat in October after years of being an independent. The move incited the rumors of his possible candidacy in 2020.
Besides facing a flurry of Democrats eager to take his spot in the Oval Office, Trump might even face some opposition from his own party. Though it would be highly unlikely for the president to lose to a Republican challenger in a primary race.
John Kasich, a presidential candidate in 2016, has hinted at competing against Trump as a third-party candidate during an appearance on The View the week prior to the midterm elections.
“If you have the Republicans on the extreme, and the Democrats on the extreme, there is a big, wide-open space in the middle, so all of my options are on the table,” Kasich said. “It’ll be fun.”
While Trump was not on the ballot this year, the president has used the midterm elections as an opportunity to spread key campaign messages and re-engage with his voter base around the country. He has made dozens of speeches at over 30 rallies in the past 60 days, touting his administration’s economic success and his hard-line stance on immigration reform.
“Together, we have made extraordinary progress, and we are just getting started,” Trump said in his final rally ahead of the midterms on Monday night. “This is the greatest political movement in the history of our country. The greatest.”
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