US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House in Washington, DC on November 8, 2019.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House in Washington, DC on November 8, 2019.
Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP

The presidential polls in the United States slated in 2020 may still be some distance away but there are ominous signs for President Donald Trump’s re-election bid. Republican Governor Matt Bevin in Kentucky was ousted by his Democratic challenger Andy Beshear by half a percentage point on Tuesday last and Trump’s party also lost control of both chambers of the legislature in Virginia. Two electoral contests do not reflect the country’s thinking, but that the headwinds for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign are disconcerting for him is hardly deniable. With Trump facing an embarrassing bid by his rival to have him impeached, it is going to be a long, hard year ahead for the incumbent president. Should Bevin’s loss be certified it would indeed be a shock defeat for a conservative in a southern state that Trump won by 30 per cent in 2016.

In Virginia, Democrats will now hold all major statewide offices including the state assembly signalling a comprehensive consolidation of power not seen in the state since the 1990s. The Democrats are projecting it as a major boost for their bid to oust Trump but it is too early in the race to project it as such. A lot would depend too on how the impeachment proceedings would take shape against Trump. Barack Obama in his last year as sitting president had achieved a job approval of 70 to 90 among Democrats and 30 to 45 among Republicans, while President Donald Trump in 2018 has a job approval of 85 to 90 among Republicans and 5 to 10 among Democrats. Gallup polling has found that 46 per cent of Americans are either "Democrats or Democratic leaners" while 39 per cent are either "Republicans or Republican leaners".

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