Days of Change

Escalator Redux | June 18, 2019

Now that Donald Trump can’t spend as much time at Trump Tower, he’s holding a rally in Orlando to kick off the campaign for Term #2. We know the game plan for Republicans and Democrats in 2020 already. While Democrats expect they can beat Trump next year, they made a similar mistake in 2016. This brings me to my favorite psychological aspects of elections: fear.

Using fear to win elections depends on your campaign instilling fear of losing in your own side. As with most things involving Trump, he let his enemies do most of the work. Prognosticators were united in the 70%+ chance of Clinton winning the 2016 election. That kind of narrative made Republicans scared and Democrats lazy.

The 2016 playbook won’t do much in 2020. Trump will hold rallies. Polls will show him behind (they already do). For the sake of democracy, the good news is that polls are not deterministic. Their margins of error can make them useless and the people like Nate Silver who “interpret” them ignored the margins enough to be completely wrong. However, if Democrats are filled with fear over the next 18 months and Republicans are not, will that tip the scales to a Trump loss?

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