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April 10, 2024 3 min read

Source: MELISSA SUE GERRITS/GETTY IMAGES

1. Addressing Fear

Voters are experiencing a sense of unease that transcends economic concerns. Trump addresses the anxieties, whether legitimate or not, harbored by numerous white Americans in a nation undergoing rapid demographic shifts and embracing progressive cultural values.

Moreover, there's a widespread feeling of regression, with many perceiving traditional pillars of American existence—such as homeownership, a livable wage that matches inflation rates, and access to higher education—slipping beyond their grasp. Surveys indicate that voters are concerned about rising crime rates and apprehensive about the influx of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

2. Trump's actions not disqualifying for many voters

While voices from both within and outside his party, as well as the media, deem him unfit for the presidency, a significant portion of the electorate holds a contrary view. Instead, many of his supporters perceive Trump as a target of political persecution. A considerable portion of Republicans, as shown in a Reuters/Ipsos survey earlier this year, indicated they would still support Trump even if he faced criminal conviction.

Furthermore, Trump can highlight his four-year tenure in the White House, contending that despite occasional chaos, the governmental apparatus largely operated effectively. Despite concerns about his ability to govern and unproven allegations like collusion with Russia, Trump's administration managed to function.

3. It's unlikely that Trump will be imprisoned during the election due to the extensive duration of trials. 

Federal cases typically last between 12 to 18 months before reaching trial, and Trump's legal team will employ various strategies to prolong the process. They will also extend the trial itself using all available means. If Trump is somehow convicted before the election, efforts will be made to ensure he is granted bail during the appeals process. It is probable that he will be able to continue campaigning for much or all of the election cycle. Furthermore, Judge Eileen Cannon's apparent alignment with the defense in Trump's trial for mishandling classified documents diminishes the likelihood of conviction.

4. Polls underestimated Trump's support in both the 2016 and 2020 elections.

There are various theories as to why polls were inaccurate in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, including the presence of "shy" Trump voters. However, the key observation is that aggregated polling consistently underestimated Trump's level of support. The margin of error was 1.1 points in 2016 and 2.7 points in 2020. If polls exhibit the same level of bias in upcoming elections, Trump could potentially win the popular vote even if polls indicate a close race, significantly diminishing Biden's chances of victory.

5. There’s no Black Swan this time (yet).

The United States may have been temporarily saved from experiencing a second Trump presidency by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic, which likely contributed to his electoral defeat. Now that he is not burdened by this issue, and with resistance to vaccines and health mandates actually energizing the GOP while independents and Democrats are less concerned, Trump's political prospects may improve. Trump himself attributes his loss to COVID-19, a rare point of agreement.

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