His presidency has seen many disasters. But when campaigning, Trump saw an opportunity that Biden didn't—and it proved crucialby Daniel Rey / November 10, 2020 / Leave a comment
Despite presiding over the worst public health disaster in modern US history and the sharpest recession since the Great Depression, not to mention inciting questions about his character, outgoing president Donald Trump won more votes and a larger share of the electorate than he did in 2016. With 70 million ballots cast in his favour, no sitting president has ever won as many votes as Trump.
When Trump was elected four years ago, he was a businessman and television personality with no record in government to defend. After a term in office, Americans have seen what a Trump presidency looks like—and 48 per cent of voters like it. He’s even convinced sceptics. Nearly two million people who backed Hillary Clinton in 2016 switched their allegiance to Trump.
Trump’s appeal was not enough to claim the rust belt states he flipped in 2016, but by focusing his campaign on the economy, Trump was able to persuade nearly half of voters nationwide to vote Republican. If one moment stands as the sitting president’s pitch to the nation, it could be his comments at a rally in the battleground state of Michigan. From the podium, Trump announced to women voters in the audience, “We’re getting your husbands back to work.”
Amidst a surging pandemic, which has already killed 240,000 people, Trump understood implicitly that although the public cared about controlling the spread of the virus, when faced with job cuts and an unprecedented recession, many voters’ immediate concerns were economic. His instinct was corroborated by a Pew study in August, which found that the economy was more important to his voters than any other subject, including the pandemic. It was confirmed by detailed election exit polls from CNN and the New York Times.
Not only was Trump’s economic focus popular, but it also shifted the conversation away from coronavirus—where CNN and the New York Times suggested Biden was outscoring Trump by eight points.
Loyalty to Trump on the economy stems from his record before the pandemic, which saw median household income at an all-time high, unemployment at its lowest rate for fifty years, and a thriving stock market.
A 30-year-old management consultant living in…