Don’t Listen to the Polls—Trump Will Win the Presidential Election

Ken Kalin, Contributing Writer

In the 2016 presidential election, many people didn’t consider Donald Trump to be a serious contender. Both pundits and pollsters seemed to agree: Hillary couldn’t lose. A CNN article from October of 2016 reads, “New poll shows Clinton over Trump by double-digits.” Today, polls from the Biden-Trump race show a similar story; a 2020 NPR article has an almost identical headline, “Poll: Biden Takes Double-Digit Lead Over Trump.” However, just like in 2016, pollsters and voters shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the chances of the now incumbent president. In 2016, Trump was an untested, unproven candidate, new to the world of politics. However in 2020, Trump is now an established leader who has proven at least that he can be a credible president. Like the 2016 election, Trump finds himself running against a candidate who’s greatest differentiating factor is simply that he is “not Trump.”

Before 2016, Donald Trump’s only association to the presidential race was a short campaign in 2000. Trump was known primarily as a real estate mogul and the owner of many hotels and casinos across the country. He was also known for his popular reality show The Apprentice. Since then, Trump has been President of the United States for almost four years and seen the country through many divisive political issues. Until the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has enjoyed a period of great economic growth and stock market highs, and dealt with numerous tense conformations with international powers such as Iran, Russia, and North Korea. He has also appointed two (and now possibly a third) Supreme Court justices in his term, along with hundreds of federal judges. Although Trump’s decisions have usually been extremely divisive and controversial, he has at least shown that he can be a decisive leader who can make swift decisions, something Trump’s opponents in 2016 said he was incapable of. One area in which Trump has been challenged during the 2020 presidential race has been his response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, although many people claim that his response was inadequate to stop the pandemic, experts and Trump supporters acknowledge that the pandemic was unforeseeable and Trump reacted as fast as reasonable, with some calling his then controversial move to enact a travel ban on China being a radical move at the time (See an earlier RF article about Trump’s pandemic response for more information). 

The Trump administration has enjoyed a period of great economic growth and stock market highs, and dealt with numerous tense conformations with international powers such as Iran, Russia, and North Korea.

The Trump administration has existed in a period of extraordinary partisanism at levels that many would say has never been seen before in American politics. America is certainly just as divided now as it was in 2016, if not more, as a result of nationwide unrest over police brutality and dissatisfaction about the country’s coronavirus response. Unfortunately for Democrats, Trump finds himself in a very similar position to 2016. He can once again take advantage of angry supporters who feel they are the victims of democratic policies, just like Trump claims he is. There is a lack of more than one actual debate (which was so wrought with interruptions and cheap jabs from both sides that it is hard to imagine it swayed anyone who hadn’t already decided on who they were voting for). Trump has thrived in today’s heavily partisan world. Coming from his background as a reality star, Trump used his confidence on television to dramatically challenge Hillary Clinton—and now Joe Biden—along with reporters from mainstream news outlets. Many Trump supporters buy into Trump’s claims that he is a victim of “fake news” and that the “mainstream media is biased” as an excuse to absolve many of Trump’s controversial moves by claiming he was only reacting to opposing political leaders, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi, who are trying to thwart him at every turn. The ultimately unsuccessful impeachment campaign only served to galvanize many Trump supporters who can empathize with his “victimhood” in American politics (See article about Trump impeachment for more info). Many Trump supporters claim that a lack of coverage of Hunter Biden’s under the table affairs is but the latest example of this partisan bias in the media. 

One reason that many people think that Trump was able to take the 2016 election is that many Americans found Hillary Clinton to be an unlikable candidate and decided not to vote for her. In fact, the 2016 Election had a 20 year low voter turnout according to one CNN poll. In contrast to Trump, Biden is a largely unremarkable candidate. Many democrats were hoping, after having Obama as the first black president, America would continue on a more progessive and diverse trajectory, and despite not being a well received candidate, Hillary Clinton would at least have been the first female president (not to mention that she was affiliated with popular former president Bill Clinton). Unfortunately, Joe Biden does not represent any meaningful step forward for the Democratic party or for America. He is another white man (just like Trump) who is seen by many as old and out of touch with contemporary racial and social issues who has often been quoted making unintentionally offensive remarks (the nomination of Kamala Harris to be Biden’s running mate was an obvious attempt to make the Biden ticket seem more progressive since she is a woman of color). Arguably, the only reason that Biden has gotten this far is because Trump has been such a divisive figure in American politics, whereas Biden seems to be a rational man in the middle who can work with both parties, but the “settle for Biden” notion isn’t a compelling reason to vote for a candidate who in comparison to Obama and Hillary Clinton is a step backwards in every way. 

Just like in 2016, Trump finds himself running a race in a divided nation against a generally mediocre opponent.

Even though Biden leads Trump in many polls, past experience tells us that this is no clear indication that Biden is going to win the election. Trump won as an unproven candidate against all predictions in 2016; he can do it again in 2020. Just like in 2016, Trump finds himself running a race in a divided nation against a generally mediocre opponent. Biden has arguably less going for him than Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump has spent the last four years perfecting his dramatic performances in interviews and press conferences to portray himself as a victim of the Democratic party. With four years of experience under his belt and a proven track record in comparison to Biden with his unproven climate and coronavirus policies, Trump looks like a very safe option to many conservative voters. It is clear that Trump has more of a fighting chance to win this election than the media gives him credit for, regardless of what the polls may say on election day.