Trump could still bounce back, but it looks less likely than ever
5 min read
After the events of the past two months, the nation may look back at this period as being the beginning of the end of the presidential race.
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. WASHINGTON — If you're a Republican, there are two possibilities for what happens between now and November, given the rough poll numbers and gloomy overall political environment. One, President Trump will inevitably claw his way back into contention, rallying Republicans who don't want to lose power and softening Joe Biden's support — a la what happened in the weeks after that disastrous "Access Hollywood" video in 2016. Or two, the numbers will either stay the same or even get worse for the GOP — since Trump is now the incumbent, not the challenger, amid a pandemic that has now killed almost 135,000 Americans and brought the U.S. unemployment rate into the double digits. It's that second scenario that should scare the heck out of GOP strategists: What if a majority of the electorate already has given up on Trump, like what happened to George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina and Iraq, or Jimmy Carter after the Iran-hostage crisis? "As one strategist who has been doing extensive focus group work with suburban voters tells us, 'they are mostly done with Trump,'" the Cook Political Report's Amy Walter wrote earlier this week. Even the GOP messaging isn't breaking through. A Monmouth poll out this week found that 77 percent of American adults believe the phrase "defund the police" means to change the way police departments operate — not eliminate them entirely, as Team Trump has been messaging. And here are the latest poll numbers out this morning: 67 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of the coronavirus and race relations, per an ABC/Ipsos survey. If the 2020 presidential contest doesn't end up changing, we may look back at the last two months — Trump suggesting ingesting bleach; the president holding the Bible at St. John's church; the Tulsa rally; and the spike in cases in Arizona, Florida and Texas — as being the beginning of the end…
Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann, Melissa Holzberg