It’s a roll of the dice, but anyone up against Trump in the current field is and Trump himself was. I think she’d need other factors but of the current candidates I like her the best - in part because she drives Trump bonkers. whereas he just sneered at Hillary (she didn’t actually seem to annoy him much - unlike some women).
Trump isn’t interested in campaigning on the economy. This vexes quite a number of Republic bigwigs. He’s quite willing to say “the economy is great, the biggest ever!” but he’ll never expand on it, never give details, never make people certain, and the few concrete things he’s been involved with, like, y’know keeping jobs in Indiana, have all fallen through, and quite publicly (the jobs were not kept, despite promises from Trump). Trump needs his base to win, and he needs them to be vaguely unhappy but not miserable, nor happy. They’ve got to feel like they’re losing out, or he’ll lose too many of them to conscience - and he doesn’t need to lose many.
Re: incumbent, yeah, traditionally, but incumbents are very rarely, if ever, as unpopular as Trump, so I think that’s another unique factor going on with him. Whilst he loves to take credit for things, he can’t maintain a consistent focus on taking credit, he always slides back to abuse and wild, spurious claims unrelated to things he’s done, and ranting. Again that’s the problem re: the economy. He’s happy to take credit for it, but he can’t expand on that - he can’t cement in the minds of voters that he’s responsible, because he’s much more keen to rant about MS13 conspiracy theories, because that’s what makes the local crowd cheer (who are largely fanatics), even if the Republicans and Independents watching at home on TV flick the channel.
He wants personal adoration. This is his great weakness as a politician. He can’t handle anything but worship and bootlicking, and anything that doesn’t immediately get him one of those? He’s not very interested. He’ll do stuff to get people off his back, sometimes, but…
- I’ve never heard of the GOP leaving the primaries alone. And that’s assuming he makes it that far, which isn’t certain. He will be challenged. If things even look like they might be going bad for him, like even a chance, a bunch of the usual suspects and some newbies will turn out.
You’ve got to remember, he managed to lose the House, and not by a small margin - by a pretty big one - holding the Senate was a forgone conclusion. Losing one of those is much worse than failing to gain it, for a president. Republican politicians, in general, do not seem very impressed with Trump. He has people working for him who’ve basically called him a total sack of shit, and quite publicly (that libertarian dude for starters).
Based on his lack of popularity, and his losing the House, their calculus is not going to be like yours - they don’t believe he’s a magical leprechaun who will auto-win the next election, like you appear to (not insult but…). Also - he’s shat all over them. Pretty much the majority of them he’s shat on at this point. Publicly abusing and demeaning them.
Whether they’ll be successful in challenging him? That’s another story, but there will be a whole bunch of other Republicans openly calling him a crook in the primaries. Be interesting to see how that works out, and who does more damage to who. Because when they start calling him that, he’s going to lose his rag, and they’re going to get demeaned, belittled, and conspiracy theory’d out the wazoo. So even if he is reselected he’s going to do some significant damage to other senior Republicans on the way.
I feel like the biggest threat to the Democrats in a way isn’t Trump but their own primary system and the Democratic establishment. They way they have it set up, basically only a candidate favoured by the establishment, so a severe neoliberal centrist and no-one else, can possibly be selected - they’ve given themselves enough votes such that even if another candidate is far more popular with the base, they can simply overrule them. And the trouble is, severe neoliberal centrists tend to be uncharismatic, to have basically uninspiring small ideas that are impossible to communicate in a convincing, emotive way, and to be not very good at arguing. Hillary is a prime example - had she had some big ideas, or even been able to make the small ideas she had seem cool, she might have got the few percent she needed. But she was completely unable to, like so many neoliberals. The only way around this for the severe neoliberal is talk about something that isn’t really a political idea, but a value or ideal - Obama had hope and general positivity (though he was far less severe than Hillary so there’s also that). O’Rourke might be able to pull something out of his arse. Kamala Harris? No fucking chance.