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Are Americans in the Mood for More Trump?

It's anyone's guess whether Joe can make it to the start line and string together enough sentences to begin the race. So far his relief pitchers don't look very strong. Kamila's unable to string two sentences together, Newsome and Gov Fatzo's records in their states are dismal. Bleckkkk.

So do most people like Trump. No, of course not, however, his loyal base is large enough to lock up his GOP nomination.

Trump ran only on immigration in 2016. Now he has that in spades, crime, Joe's age, and haywire foreign military policy as additional bullets in his holster. Did I mention lingering anger over lockdowns?

It's Trump's election to lose and he's imminently capable of blowing his chances up if he behaves like his 4th year as President.

Our country has survived worse and will one of these two...but it won't be pretty.

Are Americans in the Mood for More Trump?

Voters think things are out of control. He will reassure some and terrify others.

By William A. Galston, WSJ

Dec. 5, 2023 2:17 pm ET

Every presidential campaign unfolds against the backdrop of a distinctive national mood, and candidates who capture this mood have an advantage over those who don’t.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy campaigned on a pledge “to get this country moving again.” He understood that while older Americans welcomed the Eisenhower years as a return to stability after the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and World War II, younger Americans felt stagnation and complacency. JFK’s famous and often-imitated appeal to a “new generation of Americans” proved strong enough to overcome Richard Nixon, whose two terms as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president had made him the candidate of continuity.

Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign 24 years later unveiled one of the most effective advertisements in American political history. Over soothing music, a rich baritone voice proclaimed “It’s morning again in America” and spoke of Americans going to work as the economy recovered, buying homes after interest rates had fallen by half from their 1980 highs, and getting married with confidence in the future because inflation had been cut. Under Reagan’s leadership, the narrator said, the country was “prouder and stronger and better.” The spot ended with a killer question: “Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?”

This ad worked because it understood that people were feeling better after the stormy years of Watergate, soaring inflation and the Iran hostage crisis. In a mirror image of the Kennedy campaign, the Reagan campaign underscored that Americans would welcome a return to tranquility. That Democratic nominee Walter Mondale had served as Jimmy Carter’s vice president only intensified the power of the ad’s concluding query.

By contrast, Vice President Hubert Humphrey kicked off his 1968 campaign by promising to practice “the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose and the politics of joy.” Commentators noted that it was an odd time for joy. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated three weeks earlier. Cities had erupted in riots, and with 500,000 Americans on the ground in Vietnam, college radicals were taking over campus buildings. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s refusal to choose between guns and butter had sparked a surge in inflation that ended years of rapid growth with price stability. Although Humphrey’s campaign failed for many reasons, a key was his inability to identify with the troubled feelings of many voters.

What is the national mood today? According to the latest Economist/YouGov survey, 20% of registered voters feel that “things in the country these days are under control,” compared with 66% who feel that things are “out of control.” The poll doesn’t probe the reasons behind this sentiment, but here’s my hunch.

Families see inflation as a loss of control over their financial future. Rising crime rates create a sense of insecurity and foster the belief that leaders have lost control over the most important responsibility of government. According to Gallup, 28% of households reported that they had been hit by crime, up from 20% in 2020, 63% of Americans describe the crime problem as “extremely” or “very” serious, the highest Gallup has ever recorded, and 56% say that there is more crime in their local area than there was a year ago, also a record high.

The situation at our southern border also contributes to the sense that things are out of control. Direct experience of this situation once was confined to border states, but as record numbers of migrants spread across the country, big cities are being overwhelmed physically and financially. Americans can see it for themselves on the local news.

Another factor is the proliferation of illegal and increasingly dangerous drugs, especially fentanyl. Deaths from drug overdoses rose from 52,404 in 2015 to 106,699 in 2021, and there is little evidence that this epidemic has abated. Efforts to halt the flow from China of precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl have shown only limited success.

Instability abroad also is adding to this sense of a loss of control. Historically, this feeling has fueled public demands for a strong hand prepared to do what it takes to get things back under control.

Unfortunately for President Biden, only 38% of the electorate views him as a strong leader, compared with 55% who believe former president Donald Trump is one. It’s easy to imagine a Trump general-election campaign that focuses on regaining control through strong leadership. The outcome of the 2024 election may well be determined by how many Americans would feel reassured by the prospect of Mr. Trump’s again exercising the powers of the presidency compared with how many find this prospect terrifying.

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