Will the 2020 election prove President Trump’s 2016 victory was an anomaly — the nightmare convergence of a polarized electorate, gerrymandered congressional districts and possible Russian collusion to elect an unqualified, political neophyte whose self-proclaimed objective was to “Make America Great Again?”
The next presidential election may be a defining moment for the U.S. political system. The pushback against globalization, societal tension caused by increasing inequality, and the normalization of racist bigotry provides the socio-cultural context of the upcoming election.
Recent studies suggest growing dissatisfaction with Trump among three segments of the electorate: young voters, women and suburbanites. Taken together, they demonstrate significant weaknesses in Trump’s ability to form a coalition capable of winning re-election in 2020.
The Intergenerational Gap
By November of 2020, slightly more than 37 percent of the U.S. electorate will consist of millennials and Generation Z voters. Born after 1981 and 1996 respectively, these voters have experienced an increasingly multicultural U.S., come of age with the practical realities of the climate crisis, witnessed the planet become interconnected through globalization, and wrestled with rising inequality and the unpredictability of establishing a career in an age of hypercapitalism.
They have also expressed skepticism regarding Trump’s capabilities as president. In a December 2018 Quinnipiac Poll, 60 percent of respondents aged 18-34 felt dissatisfaction with the “way things are going in the nation today.” Young voters disagree with Trump’s views on global warming and border security: 72 percent of this cohort believe extreme weather events in the U.S. are “related to climate change,” and 78 percent do not think a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is “necessary to improve U.S. border security.”