After almost four years in office, President Donald Trump is facing a real battle to earn re-election for a second term in the White House. At the time of writing, the U.S. election odds from Betfair Exchange place his Democratic rival Joe Biden as the favourite to win it, which would be catastrophic for Trump and the Republican Party.
It’s clear that Trump is going to have his work cut out to win another four years, and it won’t be as easy as it was four years ago, when Trump’s tactics of discrediting and belittling his opponent Hillary Clinton led to his election in the first place. This time, Biden has not faltered under the pressure applied on him by Trump and his campaign team, and he has stood firm and run an effective campaign.
Of course, the national polls, which show Biden to be in a clear lead, do not reflect the fact that this election will undoubtedly still be a very closely fought battle. While Biden may indeed win the nationwide popular vote, as Clinton did four years ago, the battle for the Electoral College looks set to go right down to the wire.
In 2016, Trump defeated Clinton by a healthy margin of 304 to 227, after winning a number of the key battleground states, including several that Barack Obama had won four years prior. But this year, the polls in those states are looking extremely close, and if some of them were to swing Biden’s way, then Trump would be in real trouble.
There is still time, of course, before Election Day, and Trump has been hitting the campaign trail, visiting a number of those swing states to make one last bid at canvassing more support. If Trump is to be successful on November 3rd, then he’ll have to prove that he still has much to offer, despite the often tumultuous nature of his presidency so far.
There is also a sense that the President must show that he can operate in a more measured, level-headed way than he has done during his tenure thus far. It’s been four years defined by outlandish statements, controversial policies, and a vitriolic Twitter presence. All of this has contributed to the country’s reputation diminishing in the eyes of people around the world, to the point where many point and laugh at the US.
If Trump is serious about earning another four years, then he will have to temper his behaviour to be more universally appealing. That perhaps explains his performance at the recent televised presidential debate, which was a much more controlled affair than the first debate, which sparked fireworks and bitter jibes among the two candidates. Trump was more guarded second time around, and as a result gave a more convincing performance.
There have long been questions over how much of Trump’s presidential persona is an act, geared towards stirring up controversy and division, or whether that his simply his personality. Either way, there is a sense that his style of politics is beginning to wear on the electorate, and with the election just days away, he’ll have to demonstrate that he has more strings to his bow.