President Donald Trump has been lending his support to protesters who are rallying against their states' stay-at-home measures that are aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Sources have told the New York Times' Maggie Haberman that Trump believes supporting the protests will rally his base ahead of the 2020 election and work to his political benefit.
However, political scientist Daniel Drezner argues that rallying the base is not going to matter during an election that will occur when there will likely be a double-digit unemployment rate.
"Trump can machinate all he wants to rally his base," Drezner writes. "None of these tactics will help him beyond his base, and he needs more than 40 percent of the country to win re-election. The fundamental facts about Trump’s re-election is that he’s trying to do it in the midst of a cratering economy, a unified opposition, and no practical scenario in which things return to normal before November."
Drezner then calls out the media for pretending Trump has some grand strategy for pulling out another shock victory in 2020, when the reality suggests he's simply careening from one desperate strategy to another.
"The political press seems reluctant to say these things out loud," he writes. "And I get it. Trump surprised everyone in 2016. Incumbents seeking re-election have only lost three times in the past century. In normal times with a normal president, Trump would be the favorite this fall. It’s not normal times. And this president is about as far from normal as you can get."