I have long said that Donald Trump never seemed to stop campaigning, even after he won the election on 08 November 2016, and not even after his inauguration on 20 January 2017. He continues to hold campaign-style rallies as if he were still running for the office that he now (temporarily) holds. Well, guess what? I was right! On the day of his inauguration, Donald Trump filed his 2020 campaign with the Federal Elections Commission! Is this not the epitome of arrogance?
Yesterday, Trump made public his 2020 campaign when he announced his intention to run, and also named Brad Parscale as his campaign manager. Parscale is closely aligned with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who recently lost his security clearance and is at the center of an investigation into his ties with foreign agents. It is said that Trump is ‘itching’ to get back out on the campaign trail, and his favourite activity of performing for an adoring crowd. Wait … isn’t he supposed to be in the Oval Office working at the job for which he was elected? I mean, we are paying him $400,000 plus fringe benefits to do a job, and … he’d rather spend his time campaigning to get the same job in 980 days? Does anybody see a problem with this?
Thus far, Trump has held no less than 19 campaign rallies since his election in November 2016. The campaign has raised funds and run two nationwide advertising campaigns. Given the campaign he ran in 2015-2016, where his campaign slogans seemed to be “Crooked Hillary” and “Lock her up”, I am unclear how he can campaign this early, as he has no opponent to brutalize.
But even though there are still 980 days until the next presidential election on 06 November 2020, and even though there is not yet a clear candidate on the democratic side, there are already polls! And the good news is that Trump is trailing, on average 10-18 against almost any potential candidate, including Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kirsten Gillibrand.
He already has a small campaign staff, including Brad Parscale (campaign manager), Michael Glassner (campaign committee manager), John Pence (campaign committee deputy executive director) – yes, he is related to Mike Pence – his nephew, in fact, Bradley Crate (campaign treasurer). And by the end of 2017, his campaign had already received more than $36 million in contributions. In addition to his tired old slogan of “Make America Great Again”, he has added a new one: “Promises Made, Promises Kept”. Shoot me now, please.
In 2016, I complained that nearly two years was far too long for a political campaign to go on, that it was draining and demoralizing for the public. I suggested that 3-6 months is plenty of time for a few debates, some ads, and a handful of rallies, and would allow we, the voters, to maintain at least an illusion of sanity. So, what do they do? They extend it to four bloomin’ years! Shoot me now, please.
With the scandals and chaos that define the Trump administration, and with collusion between the Trump campaign (the old one from 2016) almost certain to land squarely in Trump’s lap before this year is out, I think it highly unlikely that Donald Trump’s name will be anywhere on the ballot in 2020. If I am wrong, if he can not only run, but win in 2020, then our system will have somehow failed miserably.