Steven Rattner served as counselor to the Treasury secretary in former President Barack Obama's administration — which doesn't exactly make him the most likely individual to herald the notion that President Donald Trump is poised to win the 2020 election.
But that's exactly what Rattner did Monday in an op-ed for the New York Times, taking note of multiple models showing that Trump will come out on top next November, based on the strength of the economy and his incumbent status.
Rattner first pointed out Yale professor Ray Fair's model, which he said has proven very reliable given it predicted Obama would get 53.1 percent of the popular vote in 2008 (he actually totaled 53.7 percent) and 51.8 percent in 2012 as the incumbent — the latter figure was short of what Obama got by just two-tenths of 1 percent.
While Fair's model showed Trump getting 54.1 percent of the vote while falling well short of that (48.8 percent), Rattner said he was "quite confident that the gap was a function of the generally unfavorable rankings on Mr. Trump's personal qualities. In other words, a more 'normal' Republican would likely have won the popular vote by a substantial margin (instead of losing it by three million votes)."
More from Rattner's op-ed:
A good part of Mr. Trump's edge in 2016 was the incumbency factor — after eight years of a Democratic president, voters would ordinarily have wanted a Republican. (Since 1952, only one man has become president following eight years of a president of the same party.) In 2020, incumbency will be a tailwind for Mr. Trump as the vast majority of presidents are chosen for a second term.
In its present state, the economy will also be helpful to the president. All told, Mr. Trump's vote share would ordinarily be as high as 56.1 percent. But that's before factoring in his personality. As recent polls show, if the election were today, he would lose to most of the Democratic hopefuls by a substantial margin; in the case of Joe Biden, by nearly eight percentage points.
Rattner also pointed out that others are predicting the same outcome, noting that Mark Zandi — chief economist at Moody's Analytics — said Trump won all 12 models he looked at. And Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College, the op-ed added.
"So the question for 2020 may well be whether Mr. Trump can overcome the majority of voters' poor perception of him and use a good economy and incumbency to win re-election," Rattner concluded.
The former Obama official pointed to a Trump 2020 victory last year on MSNBC as well, saying "in the fall of 2020, if the economy looks like this, it will be very good for Donald Trump."
(H/T: Louder With Crowder)