Running Mate is a US election podcast – just for Brits. In our first episode, we look at whether Donald Trump can win a second term as US president.
The polls do not look good. No surprise, maybe, when more than 170,000 people have died under his leadership, with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic panned by all but his own party.
But Trump’s unexpected 2016 election win stops many commentators from writing off his 2020 chances completely.
He thinks that Trump’s strategy, to paint Joe Biden as “so much worse” than himself, is a “tough sell”.
“They just have to show that somehow Joe Biden would be utterly unacceptable,” he says. “Well, the guy was vice president for eight years when things were relatively good.”
Also on the show is Ariel Edwards-Levy, HuffPost’s polling editor in the States. While she says 2016 polling shows that “unlikely does not mean impossible”, Trump is faced with more than just a health and economic crisis.
“I do think the issue for Trump this time around, in addition to everything else, is trying to define Biden negatively in the way that he was able to do with Hillary Clinton,” she says.
Our third guest is Republican strategist David Kochel, who has worked on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. A Trump “agnostic”, he still thinks it would be foolish to write Trump off.
On Trump running as both the incumbent and a Washington outsider, he says: “He’s also a New York billionaire who in 2016 ran as a man of the people who told it like it is. He is kind of unique in his ability to run a message that is absolutely counter to what you might expect, given where he comes from, who he is, how much he’s worth, and the fact now that he’s been president for four years. He still has that ability to incite opposition to Washington among people in his base.”
Listen to the first episode of Running Mate above. There’ll be a new episode to download every Monday – find it by searching for Running Mate on any good podcast platform, and get involved in the conversation on social media by using our hashtag #HPRunningMate.