The White House's Biggest Worry For 2020

With the 2020 presidential campaign ramping up and the Democratic field of presidential hopefuls growing, President Trump’s ability to secure a second term in office could hinge on his ability to weather an economic slowdown in the coming months.

“The biggest concern [for the White House] was not the Russia probe nor the Democrats’ field, but what the state of the economy is in 2020,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said. “That’s the biggest determinative of whether they’re going to be reelected.”

Historically, most incumbent presidents have been successful in winning a second term in the White House, with just five exceptions. The common thread shared by those one-term presidents was “either recession or a major economic blip,” O’Connell said.

“That’s what the White House has to guard against,” he said. “In some ways, that’s totally out of their hands. But at the same time, that’s why you see them trying to make end roads on other issues, like immigration and healthcare.”

Trump frequently cites as a key achievement of his presidency the growth in the economy and the low unemployment rate, which he attributes to tax cuts and deregulation.

But the economy could be buoyed by a trade deal between the U.S. and China, which the two countries are in the process of negotiating.

“A deal with China factors into it because what U.S. markets are looking for is stability,” O’Connell said. “It’s something the White House desperately wants to get done, but realizes it has some wiggle room in terms of timing.”

Read more from Melissa Quinn at the Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy