President Trump may be on the path to electoral defeat without a clear second-term agenda.
On Thursday night, the Wall Street Journal editorial board published a critical review of Trump’s chances of winning reelection amid the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, attributing the assessment to an unclear political platform.
“President Trump may soon need a new nickname for ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden. How does President-elect sound?” the editorial board said.
According to a survey released by Fox News on Thursday, Biden leads Trump by 45%-44% in Texas and 47%-45% in Georgia. Texas last backed a Democratic presidential nominee in 1976 and Georgia in 1992.
Both states are within the poll’s 3-percentage point margin of error. But the fact that they are even competitive shows the challenges Trump faces as he seeks reelection in November amid the pandemic and double-digit unemployment.
The poll also found Biden leading Trump in Florida by 9 points and North Carolina by 2 points. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, holds similar leads in other polls taken over the past week.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board emphasized how the Trump campaign is dismissing the current political environment as similar to the 2016 election but noted that failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s popularity was lower than Biden’s approval.
“Mr. Trump has little time to recover. The President’s advisers say that he trailed Hillary Clinton by this much at this point in 2016, that they haven’t had a chance to define Mr. Biden, and that as the election nears voters will understand the binary choice. Perhaps. But in 2016 Mrs. Clinton was as unpopular as Mr. Trump, while Mr. Biden is not,” the board wrote.
The editorial board said Trump has not offered a clear agenda or policy priority for his second term, offering nothing to those who are undecided in their votes.
“As of now Mr. Trump has no second-term agenda, or even a message beyond four more years of himself. His recent events in Tulsa and Arizona were dominated by personal grievances. He resorted to his familiar themes from 2016 like reducing immigration and denouncing the press, but he offered nothing for those who aren’t already persuaded,” it wrote.
During a Fox News town hall event with host Sean Hannity, the president failed to articulate a clear vision when asked for his agenda or name a public policy priority for his second term in office, instead reminiscing on his victory in the 2016 election and expressing regret over selecting former national security adviser John Bolton to work in his administration.
Some Republicans urged the president to heed the editorial’s warning, including Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. “Will somebody w access to the Oval Office read the WSJ editorial ‘The Trump Referendum’ to President Trump. We won’t hv more good scotus justices or the best economy in 50 years like we hv had if he doesn’t follow that advice,” Grassley wrote on Twitter.
Will somebody w access to the Oval Office read the WSJ editorial “The Trump Referendum” to President Trump. We won’t hv more good scotus justices or the best economy in 50 years like we hv had if he doesn’t follow that advice
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley)
June 26, 2020
“Perhaps Mr. Trump lacks the self-awareness and discipline to make this case. He may be so thrown off by his falling polls that he simply can’t do it. If that’s true he should understand that he is headed for a defeat that will reward all of those who schemed against him in 2016. Worse, he will have let down the 63 million Americans who sent him to the White House by losing, of all people, to ‘Sleepy Joe,'” the editorial board wrote in conclusion.