Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Trump’s Chances for Reelection Are Looking Better and Better

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Donald Trump has at least five strong historical arguments for his reelection.

One, he is an incumbent. Incumbent presidents have won 14 of 19 reelection bids since 1900.

The few who lost did not enjoy positive approval ratings. In a Gallup poll from earlier this month, Trump enjoyed his highest approval rating since his inauguration, squeezing out a 49 percent favorable rating vs. 50 percent unfavorable.

Two, the public perception of the economy usually determines any presidential election — as incumbents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Herbert Hoover learned the hard way. Currently, the U.S. is enjoying low inflation, low interest rates, positive economic growth, near-record low unemployment, rising workers’ wages, and record gas and oil production.

Three, unpopular optional wars derail incumbent presidencies.

The quagmire in Vietnam convinced Lyndon Johnson not to run for reelection in 1968. Jimmy Carter was tarnished by the seemingly never-ending Iranian hostage crisis of 1979–1981. The Iraq War drove down George W. Bush’s second-term approval ratings and helped derail his would-be Republican successor, John McCain.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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