'Demoralized' 2020 Republicans are keeping their distance from Trump
US President Donald Trump, pictured on July 8, has assailed Britain's US ambassador as a "pompous fool" and slammed outgoing premier Theresa May's "foolish" policies following a leak of unflattering diplomatic cables. (AFP/File / NICHOLAS KAMM)

In a deep dive into Donald Trump's prospects of being re-elected in 2020 -- providing he survives impeachment and ouster -- Politico reports that his campaign is putting up a brave face that they can pull off another 2016 surprise, but only if everything goes the way they hope.

Barring their way is a lack of support at the state level from establishment Republicans who don't want to be associated with the president and are tending to their own careers.

"How after everything — abysmal polls, the 2018 midterm debacle, this week’s impeachment — is a second-term even a possibility?" the report asks. "The belief that the usual rules of politics simply do not apply to this president — whether due to political dark arts or some kind of cosmic destiny — is one of the only things that unites Trump loathers and Trump loyalists."

The report points out that Trump campaign officials are fully anticipating that the president could well lose the popular vote -- as he did in 2016 -- and still retain his office through the electoral college.

"Recall that in 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by three million votes; his team fully expects this dynamic could happen again, with an agitated and energized electorate they expect could grow by as much as 20 million people from the 138 million who turned out last election. But they correctly point to public polls that show he is fully competitive with prospective Democrats in the small number of states that will be essential to either side if the Electoral College landscape remains mostly as it was in 2016," Politico reports. "Yes, Trump’s divisive personality means that a lot more Democrats will turn out to vote against him. But that divisive personality — combined with a superior digital strategy and a more robust volunteer network — means that the ranks of Trump voters in key states could grow by even more."

But lack of support from Republicans at the state level may turn into an obstacle for the campaign -- particularly because of some 2016 supporters of Trump have moved on or defected after three year's of Trumpism in action.

"Trump, meanwhile, is facing demoralized ranks among some establishment GOP figures in the states, who won’t be doing much to help his cause," the report states. "It is far from clear the Trump loyalists who took their places are first-rate, and even in the best of circumstances it is hard for either party to get previous non-voters or infrequent voters to the polls."

After speaking with Trump officials, the authors of the Politico piece offer this cautionary note about their boasting about re-election prospects.

"In sum, the Trump team can give cogent answers to the question — How will Trump win? — and they are faking it well (as skilled operatives usually do) if they don’t actually believe what they are saying. But there are too many imponderable assumptions embedded in those answers for anyone but Trump partisans to embrace them as fully credible," they warned.

You can read more here.