Since President Trump took office, former President Obama has been opposing his administration at every turn, touring the entire world, serving as the effective leader of “the resistance” to Trump administration policies. This is in direct violation of the unspoken rule among ex-Presidents to allow the current President to do is job. And as Free Market Shooter has covered in the past, Obama’s actions are without historical precedent:
Obama would be the first former president to remain in Washington post-presidency since the dying Woodrow Wilson more than nine decades ago.
Woodrow Wilson left office in 1921, and his post-presidency political actions were limited to campaigning for Democratic candidates in the 1922 elections. In fact, he spent more time practicing law and publishing books than he did campaigning, prior to his death at 67 years of age in 1924.
So following Obama’s national and global campaigns against Trump, it came as almost no surprise when Obama inserted himself into the 2018 midterm elections. He made several campaign stops, highlighted by an explosive rally for Florida Democratic candidates Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson:
And yet, in breaking from tradition and setting the new precedent that the outgoing US President can actively work to undermine whoever the next President is, Obama has all but ensured one thing regarding Trump’s future.
Barring a cataclysmic event under his watch, Trump will not be fading away once he leaves office. Instead, he will continue to campaign and promote his agenda, whether it is in support or opposition to the next President.
Trump will need to capture one of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, without losing Ohio or Florida, to retain the Presidency. If those states stay blue and the rest of the map holds, this will result in a loss:
If Trump loses in 2020, the Presidency will almost surely be controlled by a Democrat. Even if a potential independent defeats him, Trump will surely oppose the platform of the incoming President, and work in a similar manner to Obama’s post-Presidency “tour”, albeit with a tone that would more than likely be more adversarial than even Obama’s is now.
If Trump wins in 2020, anything could be on the table in 2024. No matter what the outcome, the 2024 winner would almost certainly have to deal with Trump in the background, no matter what party claims the oval office.
While the “Never Trump” crowd will wail and gnash their teeth at the prospect of dealing with Trump after he leaves office, and will all but surely implore him to just “go away” like “all the other” ex-Presidents, the example set by Obama has ensured that he will be going precisely nowhere.
How can anyone expect Trump, with his larger-than-life presence, to do anything but continue to organize rallies to bolster his post-Presidency reach (and business)?
A lot can happen between now and the 2020 elections (and especially the 2024 vote), and the economy will be on voters’ minds no matter what. Notably, Free Market Shooter has pointed out that Trump has taken credit for the equity market and the economy’s successes, even though he has previously pointed out that many of the country’s published economic figures are bogus:
So, in spite of Trump’s prior commentary on how the real unemployment rate is not 5%, and probably closer to the 20% figure, that hasn’t stopped him from talking about how the unemployment rate has just made a fresh low in its most recent print. Go figure.
So what’s going to happen once the market finally does hit the rails? The media is going to have its perfect target; a President they already loathe, who is taking all the credit for the success of the stock market he has already proclaimed is overvalued.
The Obama administration was long given a “boost” by Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke in the form of QE, ZIRP, Operation Twist, and other monetary policy that kept the equity markets inflated, masking the economy’s stagnant performance. With Powell’s Federal Reserve raising rates to a more normal level, it may only take a small nudge to send the whole economy back into a tail-spin after a ten year bull market.
Perhaps the most likely event that could get Trump to just “fade away” post-Presidency would be an economy and an equity market that fell hard enough, fast enough. But even that might not be enough to get Trump to just step aside, after all Obama has been doing to subvert his presidency.
Trump will certainly not forget what Obama’s actions while he has presided, and when he departs… he can be expected to cause a similar (or possibly larger) headache for whoever replaces him. Trump is not the type to shut up, no matter what… especially while Obama hasn’t given him the respect ex-Presidents usually give the White House’s current occupant.