Feehery: It's Trump's race to lose

Feehery: It's Trump's race to lose
© Greg Nash

Two things we know to be true this election cycle.

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE is not going to change who he is.

Democrats have to nominate somebody to run against him.


First, on Trump.

After slightly more than three years in office, this is as presidential as he is going to get.

To many Washingtonians, his deportment is a bug. But to those who will vote for him for reelection, his deportment is a feature.

His tweeting, his coarse language, his destruction of Washington norms, don’t upset his supporters one bit.

He may be a jerk, but it takes a jerk to change the jerks in Washington.

And let’s face it. It works for him.


The president campaigned in 2016 just as he governs today. He has been notoriously consistent in his issue set: lower taxes, fewer regulations, stronger borders, better trade deals.

It is hard enough to beat an incumbent president who campaigns on one thing and delivers something completely else. Incumbents are just hard to beat, historically speaking.

Beating an incumbent who has a strong economy and has stuck to his campaign promises? Seems like a tall order to me.

Which brings me to the Democrats.

I don’t feel cocky at this stage of the game. We have a lot of time left, and this president is not exactly known for playing it safe.

But not one of the candidates currently running in the Democratic field is better than Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCongress won't end the wars, so states must Democrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit MORE.

Yes, Clinton had baggage, but she also had a tremendous résumé, was a good debater, and had a presence and name recognition that any of these other candidates would die for.

We all love Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE, unless of course, you live in an early primary state. He might pull a 2008 version of John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE and come back after everybody counts him out, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Prominent Muslim group to boycott White House Eid celebration over stance on Israel-Gaza violence Biden speaks with Israel's Netanyahu again amid ramped-up strikes in Gaza MORE (I-Vt.) has the perfect message if he was running for president against Herbert Hoover. But his Depression-era language looks slightly ridiculous if you have a job and you pay taxes, which makes up a fairly high percentage of the voting public.

I thought Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy MORE (D-Mass.) would do better among Democrats, but her campaign is sputtering, mostly because she is so unlikable.

The surprise is Mayor Pete. Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegInfrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing Biden says he and GOP both 'sincere about' seeking infrastructure compromise The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Colonial pays hackers as service is restored MORE is a fresh face, and he has the countenance of an eager teaching assistant, just wanting to plunge into office hours and teach his undergrads about English literature. And I guess his very thin résumé will not be used against him to the extent it probably should. Hey, it worked for former President Obama.

But I just don’t really know what Pete really stands for or what his campaign is all about. With Trump, everybody knew what they were getting. With the mayor, it’s all a mystery.

If money is the lifeblood of any campaign, then Mike Bloomberg is in the best shape of any of the Democratic candidates.

Billionaires tend to poll very well among other billionaires, but among the less fortunate (which is everybody else), they tend to be less popular.

So, we will see how well Mike (didn’t he used to call himself Michael?) does when he actually appears on a ballot.

The Bloomberg strategy neatly contrasts with Trump’s campaigns of 2016 and today.

Trump dominates earned media. Bloomberg dominates paid media.

Trump has big, barn-burning rallies, must-see events where he says just about anything that crosses his internal transom. Mike couldn’t sell out an arena if he paid everybody in the audience a hundred bucks.


In 2016, Trump won the first two primaries and won one of the first two caucuses, which gave him tremendous momentum going into Super Tuesday. Bloomberg’s campaign won’t really get started until Super Tuesday, a unique strategy, to say the least.

At the end of the day, will it be Mike to take on the Donald?

One billionaire versus a guy who says he is a billionaire?

Time will tell, but I am putting my money on the incumbent, no matter who the Democrats nominate.

That seems like the safe money to me.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: The right choice to lead the Conference Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter Feehery: Corporate America hurts itself when it stops participating in the political system MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).