Feehery: How Trump wins

Feehery: How Trump wins
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Most political analysts believe that Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE will beat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE in the coming election. They are wrong. Here are five reasons why Trump wins reelection:

1) Beating an incumbent is hard: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBattle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Bill Clinton on GOP push to fill Ginsburg vacancy: Trump, McConnell 'first value is power' MORE and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocratic Senate campaign arm outraises GOP by M in August A federal court may have declared immigration arrests unconstitutional Blunt says vote on Trump court nominee different than 2016 because White House, Senate in 'political agreement' MORE won their reelections not because they were great presidents but because they were incumbents. Reagan lost the Senate in 1982 and endured a crippling recession but still was able to bounce back to win a landslide in 1984. Clinton’s first two years were so bad that Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years. Bush blundered America into a very unpopular war in Iraq after the devastating attacks on 9/11, and yet was able to beat a hapless John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Warning signs flash for Trump on debates Divided country, divided church TV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month MORE in 2004. Obama’s response to the fiscal crisis of 2008 was to pass an unpopular health care law while presiding over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression and yet he was able to beat Trump’s biggest critic, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP set to release controversial Biden report McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Will Republicans' rank hypocrisy hinder their rush to replace Ginsburg? MORE. The power of incumbency is a huge advantage, which the current occupant of the White House is using very effectively, from handing out aid personally in places like Kenosha, to pardoning convicted prisoners who had turned their lives around, to using the bully pulpit to set the media narrative day after day.

2) Strength vs. Weakness: The American people typically like their presidents to exhibit strength. Neither Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWarning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina Jimmy Carter remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg as 'a beacon of justice' With 5 weeks to go, the economy and Trump are surging MORE nor George H.W. Bush, despite his victory in Iraq in 1991, were seen as exceptionally strong leaders. Carter’s American “malaise” speech backfired on his spectacularly. When Bush looked at his watch during the first town-hall debate with Bill Clinton, he seemed largely uninterested in running for reelection. Reagan showed strength by standing up to the Soviet Union, Clinton showed strength by besting Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE, W. showed strength by using his megaphone standing on the debris on 9/11, and Obama showed strength by confronting the Tea Party movement. Trump’s is showing his strength by standing up to the radicals who are destroying many of America’s finest cities. They are the perfect opponent.


3) The Economy Stupid: It’s not about the unemployment rate. It’s not about GDP. It’s about where the bulk of the American people perceive things are going for them personally. Under Jimmy Carter and H.W., most Americans felt things were going down the tubes. Under Reagan, Clinton, W. and Obama, there was a general sense that the economy was moving in the right direction. No rational American blames Trump for what COVID-19 did to the economy and indeed, they give the president high marks for how he handled it before the crash. Now, all indications are that unemployment is dropping and people are getting back to work. That usually means good things for the incumbent president.

4) The Elites Don’t Have it: Reagan, Clinton, W. and Obama were all perceived to be more in touch with the desires of middle America than their opponents. Reagan, of course, torched Walter Mondale on his desire raise taxes on the working class. Clinton spent his whole presidency cultivating the Bubba vote. W’s campaign mocked John Kerry as an effete flip-flopping windsurfer. And Romney’s career as a vulture capitalist proved easy pickings for the Obama campaign. Donald Trump is most anti-elite president since Andrew Jackson and it will serve him well as a contrast to career politician Joe Biden.

5) Insiders lose, Outsiders Win: The last true insider to win a presidential election was George H.W. Bush, and he lost reelection. There is a long litany of political insiders who have lost in their efforts to gain the White House. Mondale, Bob Dole, Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreCruz says Senate Republicans likely have votes to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee 4 inconclusive Electoral College results that challenged our democracy Fox's Napolitano: 2000 election will look like 'child's play' compared to 2020 legal battles MORE, Kerry, John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day McConnell urges GOP senators to 'keep your powder dry' on Supreme Court vacancy McSally says current Senate should vote on Trump nominee MORE, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Democratic super PAC to hit Trump in battleground states over coronavirus deaths Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE were all perceived by the media establishment to have superior resumes and the experience necessary to be successful presidents. None of them won, with Gore coming closest because he was running against another political insider, W. Bush. Joe Biden is actually campaigning on his 50 years of political experience as the man who can make America calm again. But the American people haven’t suddenly fallen in love with the Washington establishment and his efforts will likely meet a similar fate to all the other insiders who have come before.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (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.).