President Trump, elected Republicans and Trump supporters are on quite a losing streak. They lost the House majority. They lost the shutdown battle. They lost the House vote on a resolution to block the wall. (They haven’t built an inch of new wall under Trump.) They lost on trade by their own terms — winding up with an unending tariff war, pain inflicted on American farmers and the biggest trade deficit in goods ever. They lost public support on the tax cuts — which opened the floodgates of red ink and are perceived as a gift to the rich and corporations. (No, workers didn’t get $4,000 raises as promised.) They have lost the climate-change argument with the public. They lost the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. So much losing.
Trump hasn’t been able to deliver on other promises — reducing drug costs, bringing back coal, and most embarrassing for a developer, passing a major infrastructure bill. He talks and tweets and blames others. However, he is president, and he has shown time and again that the job is beyond him.
This is a serious problem for a president who thinks he needs to be reelected to avoid indictment. (Even — God forbid — after a second term, state indictments can proceed and not all statutes of limitations on federal crimes will have run out. He can run, but he cannot permanently hide from the law.)
On immigration, the administration has sought to block asylum seekers at legal ports of entry along the border, prompting them to try to find alternative pathways into the country. ...
On trade, Trump’s tariff war with China has harmed U.S. farmers as Beijing slashed agricultural imports. Although the president has signaled that a trade deal is close, analysts said an accord would not fundamentally alter the U.S. trade relationship with the world’s second-largest economy.
And on North Korea, officials have said, the president’s decision to rush forward with bilateral summits with Kim have led to difficulties for U.S. negotiators engaging with their counterparts over technical and complicated nuclear matters, as Kim has preferred to deal directly with Trump.
Democrats have a solid good argument that Trump’s willful ignorance, poor negotiating skills and vulnerability to flattery have hurt the position of the United States in the world and hurt many of his supporters at home.
When he says things like he would be “very disappointed” (but doesn’t think he will be!) in Kim Jong Un if North Korea’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station is under construction, he confirms the criticism that he has been duped, hired shoddy staff (including relatives who couldn’t otherwise have even gotten security clearances) or lacks smarts — or all of the above. (It doesn’t help that we know he forced schools he attended to hide his grades. Dim Donald, you might say.)
The sole reason that Trump is hanging in there — other than Fox News and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine — is the economy. If that slows this year or next, which many economists expect, there’s no telling how quickly big donors will abandon him.
Democrats and Republican primary challengers hardly need to make the case that Trump is racist, dishonest and unethical. A large percentage of the electorate already buys that. The presidential contenders can let the House investigators show that he is corrupt, abused power and obstructed justice; they can let prosecutors make the case that Trump’s also a law-breaker. Trump’s 2020 opponents have a more devastating critique: He’s a loser, temperamentally and intellectually unfit from the start and incapable of learning on the job. It’s a powerful political argument against someone who depends on the image of toughness, and it has the benefit of being true.