By Robert Reich
Donald Trump has proven himself to be the most corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent president in American history.
But despite all of the lies, abuses of power, and damage to the country – I must warn you – there’s a very real possibility he could be reelected. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Let me explain.
Although Trump has been impeached and is one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, he still has devoted support among his core base. Nearly 90 percent of Republicans still approve of the job he’s doing, a rate that’s held constant throughout his presidency. According to one survey, a third of Trump supporters said there was nothing he could do to lose their support.
Trump still maintains substantial support in key swing states as well. Recent polls show him neck and neck with leading Democratic candidates in the key states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. Remember, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 by 3 million votes but still lost the election because of the power of these states in the Electoral College.
Big money donors are also forking over record sums of money to keep Trump in office. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, he raked in a staggering $46 million, far outpacing any of his Democratic opponents. He now has more than $100 million in the bank, not to mention the millions raised by pro-Trump Super PACs. The GOP’s biggest donors – some of whom didn’t support him in 2016, but received massive windfalls from Trump’s tax cut – are now paying him back.
At the same time, voter suppression is on the rise. To suppress turnout by likely Democratic voters, Republican officials have doubled down on their efforts to keep low-income and minority voters from the polls. They are intimidating immigrant voters, purging voter rolls, closing polling places, and making it harder to register in the first place.
Florida went so far as to institute a modern-day poll tax, requiring people with past felony convictions to pay off any fines or fees before exercising their right to vote. In 2016, over 20 percent of black voting-age Floridians weren’t able to vote due to past felony convictions, and now, hundreds of thousands could still be prevented from going to the polls this November in this key state.
We are also at risk of foreign powers trying to interfere in the election, as they did in 2016. Experts warn that many states still lack the necessary safeguards to protect against interference. The FBI, Department of Justice and National Security Agency have also raised concerns that Russia, China, and Iran might attempt misinformation campaigns. I can’t believe I even have to say this, but foreign governments should not have a say in our elections.
So why am I telling you all of this? I don’t mean to scare you. And the last thing I want to do is cause you to be hopeless, and give up. To the contrary, I want you to be more determined than ever. Despite all these attacks on democracy, we have what it takes to make Trump a one-term president. But only if we remain focused and united.
It may seem daunting. We’re up against a full-fledged attack on our democratic institutions. But there is a way forward:
We can defeat Trump and his enablers by building a multiracial, multi-class coalition. And we do that by supporting a true progressive with a bold vision for an economy and democracy that works for all Americans. That way enough voters will be inspired to show up to the polls and stop Trump’s authoritarian machine for good.
This isn’t a pipe dream. We already beat the liar-in-chief by 2.8 million votes in 2016. And the 2018 elections had the highest turnout of any midterm election since 1914 – handing House Republicans their most resounding defeat in decades. People are outraged – and we must keep fighting.
If we come together, we will prevail.