By not running in 2020, Trump would deny his enemies their ultimate victory
By Kent R. Kroeger (November 3, 2019)
President Donald Trump should familiarize himself with the Jewish Sicarii from the First Jewish-Roman War (66 AD — 73 AD). The Sicarii, a splinter group of the Jewish Zealots, are most revered for their last stand against the Romans on the mountain fortress at Masada (in Israel near the Dead Sea).
Faced with certain annihilation by the Romans in 74 AD, the 960 Jewish Sicarii on Masada took their own lives, thereby denying the Romans the full satisfaction of victory.
In politics, the metaphorical equivalent to suicide is ending your candidacy for public office.
Now is the time for someone Trump trusts to walk the President through the different scenarios most likely to unfold over the next 12 months. None of them end well for the President. But one scenario ends demonstrably better than the others.
First, consider Trump’s worst-case scenario — the path he is on now — in which he is impeached, put on trial by the U.S. Senate, and is either removed from office and/or suffers a landslide defeat at the polling booth on November 3, 2020.
There is no electoral path to victory for Trump in 2020. There will be no surge in Hispanic or African-American votes large enough to give Trump another surprise victory. There will be no backlash over the impeachment hearings and Senate trial large enough to give him the victory either. And the strong economy will not push independents and swing voters overwhelmingly into his corner.
What if the Democrats nominate a deeply-flawed candidate? In all likelihood, they will nominate such a candidate — and Trump still won’t have the votes to win.
Based on the most current polling data, Trump’s maximum potential in the popular vote percentage is in the mid-to-upper-40s. With these numbers, the best-case scenario for Trump is that he doesn’t lose on a Jimmy Carter-like scale.
A strong third-party candidacy from the left or center-left could alter the scenario probabilities. Yet, despite Jonathan Chait’s recent evidence-free rant on the subject, there is no indication that this will happen. It could, but — as of now — not likely.