Donald Trump: why it works

Always read Donald Trump's tweets to the end. This is one of the lessons to be learned from his two years as President. On 22 March, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's report cleared the US head of state of suspected conspiracy with Russia in the 2016 election. "No collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration" collusion, no obstruction, complete and complete exemption "), triumphs the billionaire, who is careful not to mention that the report proves, on the other hand, that he has increased the pressure to derail the investigation. But the most interesting is at the end of his message, which he concludes, in capital letters, a "KEEP AMERICA GREAT". "Keep the greatness of America" ​​is precisely its slogan for 2020.

Because, yes, the one who boasts of having "a bigger nuclear button" than the North Korean Kim Jong-un, that hated blonde head of state of Hollywood and the New York intelligentsia and looked like an alien by the rest of the world, is already a candidate for a second term. "Do you remember that fantastic election? 2016 … And now we have 2020! He told his fans on May 8 at a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Winner surprise on November 8, 2016 against Hillary Clinton, the real estate magnate star of the reality TV has always hinted that he would represent. And two years after a chaotic start, Donald Trump's mandate "is not the apocalyptic catastrophe that everyone had announced," says American novelist Bret Easton Ellis, in the punch-punch interview he told us. granted.

A good economy

The good news is accumulating even for the 45th President of the United States. In early November, he limited the breakage in the mid-term elections, yet announced as a referendum against him. If the House of Representatives, the equivalent of our National Assembly, has switched to the Democratic Left, the Republicans have kept the Senate, where they have even won three seats. At the end of March, the publication of the Mueller report removed the specter of impeachment (a "dismissal") related to the Russian investigation. And a few days later, the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense, has released a billion dollars to finance the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico, which is the President.

As a result, "if the election were held today, he would be reelected," said Jean-Bernard Cadier, author of "Nero at the White House" (1) and correspondent for BFMTV in Washington. For him, "Trump's success comes in three words: the economy, the economy, the economy." The numbers prove it. In April, the unemployment rate in the United States stood at 3.6%, the lowest level since … 1969. In one year, wages rose by 3.5%, including, and especially poorer. For white Americans, the annual median income is $ 66,000 ($ 59,000), compared to $ 40,000 for African Americans.

As for growth, the year started at a brisk pace, with growth of 3.2% over twelve months. Much more than expected! So, of course, this good health is financed by a debt that is growing – it reached $ 22 trillion in 2018! Jobs are for a lot of part-time and tax breaks benefit primarily businesses and the richest. Still, this "economic miracle" which Donald Trump does not fail to boast plays largely in his favor. Particularly in the most remote areas of the country, such as Orion, Michigan, former stronghold of the automobile in full renewal.

An imperialist worldview

Internationally, the occupier of the White House "is in tune with an egoistic America, an America against globalization, who does what she wants. For example, by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement or denouncing the Iran nuclear deal, "continues Jean-Bernard Cadier. Another victory credited to Donald Trump across the Atlantic: the rapprochement with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, although for the moment, the process of denuclearization has not started yet. Same thing for the trade war against China, seen as a way to defend the interests of America.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, February 28 in Hanoi (Vietnam). AFP / Saul Loeb

In any case, "foreign policy is of little interest to American voters," says Laurence Nardon, head of the North American program at the French Institute of International Relations. Except when it concerns Israel. By transferring the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and especially by recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, Donald Trump is pushing further the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian peace. But he speaks to the Christian right, which represents 25% of the electorate. "

To win in 2020, the billionaire can count on a broader base. According to the various polling institutes, its popularity has been around 40% since the beginning of its mandate, a rather low figure, but surprisingly stable. In April, 46% of Americans admit to even approve the action of their president (against 50% who disapprove of it). This is the highest level of satisfaction since the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017. "This hard core blindly admires it, analyzes Françoise Coste, historian at the University of Toulouse. He can tell everything, do anything, including having an extramarital affair with a porn actress. Even the most bigots do not hold it against him. "

An undisputed leader among Republicans

Why are these Americans so attached to this haughty and lying president? "The working class loves it because it represents the myth of the successful businessman. And typing on the left, on the minorities, on the intellectuals and on the media that would distil fake news, Trump signs the symbolic revenge of the small whites ", notes Françoise Coste. On immigration, abortion or firearms, the Republican also applies the measures promised during his campaign of 2016. Even if in early January, the announced construction of the wall at the US-Mexico border had not started yet.

It is by relying on this segment of the population, which goes from religious fundamentalists to workers hit by deindustrialisation through the rednecks, as the poor whites of rural states are called in the United States, that the ex- star of reality TV has consolidated its place in its political camp. After taking the hussar in 2016, Donald Trump has become the undisputed leader. His Republican popularity peaked at 91 percent in April, according to the Gallup Institute. A figure that only George W. Bush reached after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Supporters are waiting for Donald Trump at his meeting in Panama City, Florida on May 8. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

As a result, there is no more debate internally, nor even criticism. The 45th President of the United States turned his party into a war machine. That puts him in the ideal position to campaign for reelection. In case of primary in his camp, he would come out certainly winner. An undeniable advantage, especially financial, in the race for the White House. Especially as opposite, the troops are for the moment very disunited.

A weakened opposition

At the beginning of May, 21 Democratic candidates had already declared themselves. The record of 1972 (11 competitors) is exploded. Obama's orphans and traumatized by the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, opposition figures "struggled, for two years, focusing on the personality of Trump, analysis Jean-Eric Branaa, author of" And he was still winning? (2) and specialist in American politics at Paris II University. As a result, no candidates or programs emerge. And everyone feels lucky. " Joe Biden, vice president of Obama from 2009 to 2017, campaigned in late April, is currently favored with 39% of favorable opinions, according to a CNN poll published on April 30. He is well ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (15%). Other applicants do not exceed 10%.

And the way is still long. The first debate of the Democratic primary will take place on June 26 and 27, and the candidate will be officially invested in July 2020 after a marathon of polls. Before defying, in all likelihood, Donald Trump at the polls six months later.

In the meantime, will the rating of the current president have weakened? According to the historian Françoise Coste, "things can go very fast. For now, he has not had to deal with big events. Would it be level in the event of an international crisis, an attack on American soil or a new catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina? The threat of dismissal seems to be behind him, but the Russian investigation continues to poison him, as shown by the summoning of his eldest son before a Senate committee on May 8. While the Washington Post recently counted a total of 10,000 lies by Trump since the beginning of his term, his excesses and lack of moral stature will not tire the more moderate of his constituents?

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Moreover, the American electoral system "is likely to lose Donald Trump, four years after winning it when he had three million votes less than Hillary Clinton. For him, the equation has become very complicated, with a multiplication of the number of states where he absolutely must win, while he thought that his function would naturally join his camp, "said Jean-Eric Branaa. In Florida or Texas, the gap between Republicans and Democrats was reduced to the benefit of the latter in the mid-term elections. If there are many unknowns by November 3, 2020, one certainty remains: the re-election of Donald Trump would be anything but a surprise.

(1). "Nero at the White House", Éditions de l'Archipel, to be published on June 5th.

(2). "What if he won again? ", VA Editions, to be published July 4th at.

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