- President Donald Trump is running for reelection in 2020.
- Trump faces dozens of Democratic challengers as well as a Republican primary challenger.
- He is also the subject of several high profile investigations from Congress and elsewhere.
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President Donald Trump has many advantages going into the 2020 election. He has a massive war chest, a strong economy under his watch, the power of incumbency, and more.
But nothing is set in stone. As the Democratic primary race gets underway, Trump is already in full reelection mode, getting ready for rallies and events across the country. He has also already gone after many of the Democrats looking to unseat him.
Trump could face a number of hurdles to reelection, here are just some of them.
1. The economy could be headed for a recession
The economy is in good shape, which the Trump administration regularly touts as one of the crowning successes of his tenure.
But nothing lasts forever, and economic indicators suggest the United States could soon be headed for a recession. In addition, many American companies are constantly expressing frustration about the Trump administration’s volatile trade negotiations.
2. Mounting congressional investigations
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
While the special counsel’s probe into Russia interference in the 2016 election has wrapped, there are still several congressional investigations digging into Trump’s administration and personal affairs.
The president and top administration officials have repeatedly attempted to block House Democrats’ pushing for new info and witnesses. That suggests these investigations are unlikely to fade from the headlines between now and Election Day 2020.
3. An energized Democratic base
- Nacho Calonge/Getty Images
The Democratic base of voters showed their enthusiasm in the 2018 midterm elections, taking back the House majority in a sweeping fashion. If that can carry on into 2020 and translate to the presidential race, Trump could be in some trouble.
4. He has a primary challenger
Trump has something many past presidents have been severely damaged by: a primary challenger.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld launched a bid against Trump. While the Republican National Committee is sticking by Trump instead of remaining neutral, Weld could still harm the president’s reelection chances.
While primary challenges against sitting presidents have not resulted in the incumbent’s ability to secure the nomination, long and drawn out primary fights often inflict considerable damage that ends up hurting them in the general election.
5. Not enough legislative accomplishments
Trump has a few big wins from Congress, like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the rapid confirmation of federal judges, including two Supreme Court justices.
But he has also failed to accomplish a number of different things through Congress, like the GOP’s decade long promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and an infrastructure package.
An important aspect of running for reelection is ensuring the public is made aware of your accomplishments, and trying to have as many as possible.
6. A large Democratic field could produce a formidable opponent
- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Much like how Trump emerged from large field of Republican presidential candidates to go on to handily defeat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, the Democrats have a massive number of candidates all vying for a shot at unseating him.
While it is still early in the race, the Democrats’ nominee could end up being far more challenging for Trump than Clinton.
7. Bad polling in crucial states
Trump is underwater in one of the most important states he won in 2016: Texas. According to a recent poll from Quinnipiac University, the Lone Star State prefers former Vice President Joe Biden to Trump, with other Democratic candidates not far behind.
If those trends continue, it could be very difficult for Trump to secure reelection.
8. Trump’s tariff policies could inflict unwanted damage on Americans
- Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Trump’s policies using tariffs to hammer other countries and bring them to the negotiating table have adverse effects on the US economy.
The tariffs on China could end up costing American households $800 each year, according to recent estimates. This is due to many US companies potentially having to raise prices of their goods to keep up with the trade war.
9. Foreign negotiations could break down
Trump pulled off what no US president before him had been able to accomplish when he set up multiple in person meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to negotiate denuclearization of the isolated country.
But talks have since floundered while the North Koreans started testing short range ballistic missiles after months of calm.
If negotiations deteriorate, that could undermine Trump’s foreign policy clout he has tried to cultivate in the past two years.