Presidents Running for Re-Election Enjoy Significant Advantage Over Opponents

The upcoming elections in the United States will see the incumbent president Donald Trump face off with...President Trump will enjoy a significant advantage over his opponent when he runs for re-election in 2020.

This advantage is known as the "Incumbent's advantage" and can be very hard to overcome, especially if the economy is in a good place heading into the election.

The "Incumbent's advantage" has been enjoyed by the likes of President George W. Bush, President Obama, President Clinton and President Reagan.

This advantage can manifest itself in a number of different ways.

To start - undecided voters tend to favor the incumbent. If a person walks up to the voting booth not knowing who they are going to vote for, they will tend to vote for the person that is already sitting in the White House. The known quantity is usually preferred to the unknown.

Also - the sitting President gets to focus his attention and advertising dollars early on his re-election campaign, while his potential opponent must go through a gruelling race for his party's nomination.

In the case of 2020, the likes of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will be savaging each other, trying to win the Democratic nomination, while President Trump gets to sit back and push his own re-election campaign. As soon as a clear favorite for the Democratic nomination appears, the Republicans will be able to start planning their strategies for the 2020 election.

The race for the party nomination tends to be quite nasty, so President Trump's biggest potential rivals in 2020 will be inflicting bodyblows on each other, much to the delight of the Republican party. This will all add up when 2020 comes around.


The incumbent's advantage is largely tied to the state of the economy.

If the economy is somewhat strong, the incumbent President sits in a very strong position and is very difficult to defeat. See President Clinton and President Reagan as examples.

If the economy is weak heading into an election, the sitting President suddenly becomes very vulnerable. See President Carter and President George H.W. Bush as examples.


When it comes to President Trump, his successful re-election will hinge largely on the state of the economy heading into November 2020.

If the economy is strong, President Trump will be tough to beat.

If the economy is trending lower, the Democrats will have a very good chance to win.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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