In the days following the United States Women’s National Soccer Team’s World Cup win over the Netherlands on Sunday, much has been made over team co-captain Megan Rapinoe’s reply to being asked if she would accept an invitation to the White House. "I haven't spoken to everyone about it, obviously not myself, not Ali Krieger, and I suspect not many, if any, of the other players," Rapinoe said the day before the final match.
Almost immediately, commentators on the right tripped over one another to condemn Rapinoe’s remarks equating patriotism and love of country with support for a partisan president. Ann Coulter even got in the game on twitter attacking Team USA for a scrimmage match they played and lost against a younger male team.
With the 4th World Cup title now secured by the USWNT, what should Megan Rapinoe do next?
One recommendation would be to enter the Democratic Primary for president. Rapinoe could even take Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGOP ekes out win in return of Congressional Baseball Game Greene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE’s (D-Calif.) spot on the debate stage in July since he dropped out of the race on Monday. And with a record number of women running for president, she would fit in nicely alongside Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Proposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing Republican spin on Biden is off the mark MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii).
Since ratings played such an instrumental role in the campaign of the current president, Rapinoe could also capitalize on recent TV ratings from the World Cup tournament, which saw a record 14.3 million American viewers tuning into the final match with the Netherlands, crushing the previous record set by the men’s national team. The final season of Celebrity Apprentice in 2015 averaged approximately 7.6 million people and helped launch Trump’s presidential bid — demonstrating his leadership and ruthlessness in the boardroom. Nearly twice as many Americans witnessed Rapinoe’s leadership on the field, with fewer firings, of course.
Additionally, both Trump and the USWNT have been master marketers. Over one million ‘Make America Great Again’ hats have been sold since Trump launched his campaign back in 2015. Similarly, after Sunday’s win, Rapinoe and her teammates’ uniform has become Nike’s highest-selling soccer jersey ever.
It is clear then that Trump and Rapinoe are TV stars, with large social media followings, and eager and vocal supporters. The big question is how would they match up against one another in an election?
Luckily for us, Public Policy Polling asked that very question to a universe of likely voters this past week. In a hypothetical 2020 match up, Democrat Megan Rapinoe would defeat Republican Donald Trump 42 percent to 41 percent.
PPP’s analysis goes on to say that “in addition to having a slight edge over Trump already, Rapinoe has a lot more room for growth. The voters who are undecided in the Rapinoe/Trump head to head voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE by 58 points and just 8 percent of them approve of the job Trump is doing to 82 percent who disapprove. They’re likely undecided either because they’re not familiar with Rapinoe or aren’t sure about her as a presidential candidate, but given their past voting history and feelings about Trump, it seems unlikely they’ll end up in his camp.”
By this estimate, Trump, who has near-universal name recognition, polls in the low 40s nationwide, despite any hypothetical Democratic match up. This poll follows a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey which found Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by 10 points, 53 percent to 43 percent, among registered voters.
This polling dynamic is most certainly behind Trump’s speech this week on the environment. As reported in the New York Times, internal polling by the president’s team illustrates that his administration’s record on the environment is a “key obstacle” for winning millennials and suburban women.
Writing in the Washington Post, Greg Sargent notes, “According to a senior administration official who reviewed the polling, Trump might not win voters who feel strongly about climate change, but it showed that a certain type of moderate who likes the economy might feel okay about Trump if she is persuaded he’s being ‘responsible’ on environmental issues.”
Similar to other campaign speeches the president has given, it was filled with distortions, mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods. From the same piece: “Trump absurdly took credit for environmental improvements secured under his predecessors. He also misleadingly claimed the United States is leading other countries in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, when in fact our reduction as a percentage of overall emissions — a much more meaningful metric — trails many others.”
Following Monday’s address on the environment, what is actually stopping President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE from claiming credit for the USWNT taking home the Women’s World Cup?
Luckily for us, we have Megan Rapinoe to set the record straight. Luckily for the president, Rapinoe is only 34.
Kevin Walling (@kpwalling) is a Democratic strategist, Vice President at HGCreative, co-founder of Celtic Strategies, and a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business.