War in Ukraine fuels momentum for Trump comeback

War in Ukraine fuels momentum for Trump comeback. By Adam Creighton.

Last year I forecast Donald Trump would easily win the Republican nomination, but ultimately be trounced in the presidential election, whomever he was up against. I’m not so sure anymore – about the second part.

The prospect of a severe recession as the Federal Reserve imposes ever higher interest rates to crush chronic inflation, at the same time as the war in Ukraine draws the US ever closer to a dystopian confrontation with Russia and China, won’t buoy President Joe Biden’s re-election chances.

After a rocky start in November, making a slew of unforced errors including hosting racists at his home and making dumb comments about the constitution, the former president has shot back up in the polls, repeatedly besting his most likely opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by double-digit margins and growing.

President Joe Biden still wins most of the hypothetical rematch polls but … not all of them. In January, Trump won 44 per cent of respondents compared to Biden’s 41 per cent, according with an Emerson College poll. In February, the 76-year-old won 46 per cent of those surveyed by Harvard University, to 41 per cent for Biden.

These polls were conducted by the de facto Democrat establishment, and Trump practically never led Biden in national polls in the lead-up to 2020.

Trump’s CPAC speech:

Trump’s near two-hour speech in Maryland on Sunday AEDT included a lot of predictable, rambling nonsense, but also contained the kernels of a powerful political strategy: opposition to embroiling the US in the Ukraine war in the face of overwhelmingly elite support for it, and strident defence of popular social welfare programs typically championed by Democrats: Medicare and Social Security.

The canny populist declared himself the “anti-World War III” candidate to multiple standing ovations, seeking to tap into a powerful strand of isolationism in American history, especially in relation to European wars. …

Fentanyl continues to stream across the southern US border, killing more than 70,000 young Americans in 2021, a quarter more than in 2020, and more than all the US deaths in the Vietnam War – shocking optics for the White House incumbent. …

Trump was castigated as “racist” for early on claiming Sars-Cov2 most likely leaked from a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan, a theory that is now the leading contender among the best US intelligence agencies … In short, Trump’s media opponents are looking increasingly stupid, having passionately retailed nonsense for years.

Adam’s outlook:

A Trump return to the White House is still unlikely, and undesirable for a raft of reasons; no former president has been so hated by so large a minority of the American populace.

But Biden’s bumbling decline doesn’t instil confidence, even among Democrats, and any internal challenge is bound to fail, as it did against a similarly unpopular Jimmy Carter in 1980.

hat-tip Stephen Neil