Trump's wartime narrative initially seemed to justify that new approach. But now the situation is looking even more dire for the president. The opinion poll figures are suggesting a November defeat.
Ironically Trump is competing against another lacklustre Democratic candidate. Joe Biden has spent much of the last few months isolated at home making amateurish videos from his home studio, biding his time and hoping for Trump to destroy himself.
Under US electoral law, there will need to be three televised debates between the candidates (Trump has suggested four). Biden will be a poor performer against Trump. Trump is a genius at communications.
But will Biden be so bad that voters will support Trump? Is the left so divided and fragmented that the Democratic campaign will be undermined by its own rivalries? (Some of that happened in 2016).
Voting is not compulsory in the US and so some disillusioned voters – jaded by both candidates - may just stay home. (In 2016 some Democratic voters would not vote for Trump and could not vote for Clinton, and so stayed home.) A better Democratic candidate would have helped clarify the situation.
The corona virus will also disrupt the voting procedure. Some people may be deterred from going to a voting station.
In short: Trump will have an even greater task of pulling off a surprise victory this year than he had in 2016. He may go the way of Hoover (and so be reviled by historians as Hoover was).
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