13 August 2020
How an extraordinary election season affects Trump’s reelection chances
The Washington Post
Usually, in presidential election years of the past, August marks a new phase in election season. Conventions wrap up, rallies and events pick up on the campaign trail and candidates debate in front of large audiences, all leading up to the moment voters go to the polls.
But this year, pretty much none of those things will happen in the way that we’re used to. The novel coronavirus fundamentally changed this election year. Many of the traditional events still populate the calendar between now and Election Day, but they will look a lot different: less door knocking, no mega rallies, an increase in mail-in voting, among lots of other tweaks.
But the pandemic isn’t the only thing that makes this election unique. President Trump has disrupted political norms since his first run at the presidency. No president in modern times, perhaps ever, has been as dominant a figure on the national stage as Trump. He creates conversations and controversy.
He’s also the incumbent. Historically, being the incumbent has been a major asset for presidential campaigns. But this year, with an election playing out against the backdrop of a pandemic, a major recession and a racial reckoning, that might not be the case.
Can presidential election history really be a guide to understanding the 2020 election season? Trump beat the odds once before, might he do it again? And as we spend the next few months watching presidential campaign politics — assessing winning messages and losing strategies — how many lessons can we really draw from the past in these highly unusual times?
On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, chief political correspondent Dan Balz explains how the pandemic has reshaped the 2020 election and what those changes mean for Trump’s prospects for winning the presidency again.
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