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Trump’s electoral map has shifted dramatically — and it doesn’t bode well for his 2020 chances

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- Commentary

President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory on thin margins in key swing states. And while the result of the 2020 election is still, of course, an open matter, the shifting trends in the electoral map since his inauguration should make no one confident in his re-election chances.

In a new examination of voter preference changes between 2016 and 2019, the Voter Study Group found a marked difference in the opinions of a much-discussed group in the electorate: voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then Trump in 2016. Unsurprisingly, this group largely had a positive opinion of Trump in 2016 — 85 percent of these voters approved of him, the survey found.

But these opinions have significantly shifted. In 2019, only 66 percent of these voters still approved of Trump — a 19-point drop.

“Even small movement among these voters — who represented 9 percent of voters in 2016 — may prove significant heading into the 2020 presidential election,” wrote Robert Griffin of the Voter Study Group. “Obama-Trump voters are also disproportionately white, non-college educated and, as a result, are likely to be well distributed geographically for the purpose of electoral impact.”

This, of course, makes perfect sense. Since both Obama and Trump won victories in the electoral college, it isn’t surprising that the voters who switched from the Democrat to the Republican could make the decisive difference in the election result.

State-by-state polling also supports this inference. Morning Consult presents data on Trump’s approval across the country and over time. In the key states where Trump won in 2016 — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — the president started out in early 2017 with a net positive approval rating:

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  • PA: +10
  • WI: +6
  • MI: +7

But by April 2019,  he was significantly underwater in each of these states:

  • PA: -7
  • WI: -13
  • MI: -10

There are other states where he’s also looking weak. In Ohio, he’s at -4; Arizona, -7; Florida, -2; North Carolina, -2; Iowa, -8. Meanwhile, there are no states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 in which Trump now has a positive approval rating.

Of course, these numbers will continue to vary, as they have throughout his presidency. And heading into 2020, Trump will have the advantage of incumbency, which confers a sense of legitimacy and stability to even someone as erratic as the current president.  But even with a strong economy, Trump has been unable to lift his numbers in these key states back to the level they were at in early 2017. And on a broad scale, Trump has never broken 50 percent approval nationally.

In addition to looking at Obama-Trump voters, the Voter Survey Group also examined changes in approval for all the other groups of voters between 2016 and 2019. While there were some increases in the Trump’s approval rate among voters who picked a third-party candidate in 2012, these moves were not as dramatic, the pollsters did not find them to be as dramatic as the downward shift in approval found among Obama-Trump voters. And the state-by-state data suggests that the key shifts have been in parts of the country that could hurt him the most.

Trump still has about another year and a half before November 2020, so his fate is certainly not sealed. Democrats should not be overconfident, and there is still a significant possibility they could lose. Trump’s approval going forward is dependent on a range of factors. And his ultimate re-election fate may hinge on who his opponent in the Democratic Party turns out to be (though, it may not — it could be that nearly any of the potential Democratic contenders would end up doing about equally as well as one another). But the Republican Party should not be assured of its chances for victory. And if Trump loses in 2020, many people looking backward will say it was inevitable.

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We have to prepare for this Trump nightmare scenario as Republican power-grabbers grow bolder

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Polls currently show that all the major Democratic presidential candidates are pulling way ahead of Donald Trump, and while Democrats should take nothing for granted — Trump will run a campaign so nasty it will likely put 2016 to shame — there is at least some reason hope that Americans will turn out in large numbers and that Trump will be soundly defeated in 2020. That victory would be both exciting and an enormous relief, a moment when we all collectively begin to believe that the national nightmare is ending.

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Jon Stewart’s journey from satirist to political advocate is no laughing matter

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When Jon Stewart quit the Daily Show, the satirical news and comedy show he hosted for 16 years until August 2015, he explained to his replacement, Trevor Noah, that he was tired – and angry at the state of politics and political discourse in the US. As Noah reported:

He said ‘I’m leaving because I’m tired.’ And he said, ‘I’m tired of being angry.’ And he said, ’I’m angry all the time. I don’t find any of this funny. I do not know how to make it funny right now, and I don’t think the host of the show, I don’t think the show deserves a host who does not feel that it is funny.‘

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Here are 4 ways unrestrained crony capitalism is making Americans’ lives miserable

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Although Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both running for president in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, have similar economic views, they part company when it comes to the use of the words “socialism” and “capitalism.” Sanders describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” while Warren has declared, “I’m a capitalist to my bones.” But truth be told, Sanders and Warren are both disciples of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society — and both of them are campaigning on the fact that unrestrained crony capitalism has been a source of misery for the American working class.

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