Will Trump’s Coronavirus Response Determine His Re-election Prospects?
Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University, has managed to predict the outcome of every US presidential election since 1984. However, he believes that 2020 is too close to call and he recently told the Independent that an economy damaged by anxieties about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could add “the final ingredient” that shatters US President Donald Trump’s re-election prospects.
The Keys to the White House
Professor Lichtman bases his predictions on a system called “the Keys to the White House” model. It operates under the assumption that presidential election results are impacted primarily by the performance of the party holding office before a poll is conducted.
He is right to argue that many factors have hindered the Trump administration. These include the Republicans’ election losses during the 2018 midterm elections, Trump’s current failure to adequately tackle both Iran and North Korea, ongoing scandals and the President’s inability to appeal to the wider electorate — although this did not prevent him from winning the 2016 presidential election.
Coronavirus Will be an Important Concern in the Upcoming Election
The coronavirus has impacted the US economy. American markets were alarmed by the threat it has posed to global supply chains and this worried investors. There is reason to worry, too. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe that an outbreak in the US is inevitable. They have confirmed 14 cases in the US and 12 who might have contracted the virus while traveling abroad before returning to the country.
Because the pandemic has not spread throughout the US yet,however, Trump is relaxed about the measures his administration is taking to deal with coronavirus. In fact, he recently rebuked the CDC’s assessment and said: “It is what it is. We’re ready for it.” Here are the actions he has taken so far.
Trump’s Actions So Far to Fight Coronavirus
Earlier on Thursday, he placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the US Government’s response to the coronavirus amid growing criticism at the White House for their inability to deal with it.
Although he has not issued any travel restrictions on countries that have had a substantial number of coronavirus cases, like South Korea and Italy, Trump has implemented them on foreign nationals who had visited China and US citizens who have been near China’s Hubei province.
Furthermore, Trump has not refused help from Senate Democrats who are demanding that more than $8 billion in emergency funding be allocated for anti-coronavirus efforts, which shows he is willing to work with his opponents to tackle the crisis.
According to the President, of the 15 Americans who have been infected with the virus, eight of them have returned home and one is in hospital. Meanwhile, five have fully recovered and one is in “good shape.”
Trump’s Strategy: Stay Calm and Let Markets Recover
By being calm about the pandemic, Trump’s strategy is to ease the markets instead of causing panic. And so far, no polls have suggested the President’s response has damaged his approval ratings. It is fair to say the Trump Administration has done all it can to stem fears about the coronavirus.
What will be crucial to the White House’s fortunes will be how Pence coordinates efforts to tackle the virus in the near future. Trump entrusted him to deal with it because ‘he has a certain talent for this.’
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has been accused of failing to update the President on crucial decisions concerning the pandemic. If this is true, Pence will have to ensure he does that so that he can work with the professionals needed to curb the coronavirus in the US.
It is too early to tell what impact the coronavirus will have on Trump’s re-election prospects, but how the Vice President coordinates efforts to stem the pandemic’s tide will be important to watch before anyone can judge whether the Trump administration has managed to successfully contain the disease in the US.