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Donald Trump Signs Coronavirus Executive Order: An Election Impact?

Trump Signing
President Trump Signs Executive Orders on Lowering Drug Prices

While I do my best not to write on U.S. domestic politics, Donald Trump’s action yesterday to leverage multiple Executive Orders to give the economy a lift after talks with Democrats on a bipartisan Coronvirus relief package collapsed was surely historic, most likely challengable in the courts and left many asking lots of questions about what happens next.

I spoke to a Senior 2020 Donald Trump campaign staffer on background this morning who explained the move this way: “We know that Democrats will challenge this action in court–hell, of course, they will, that seems pretty likely. We know the payroll tax suspension will face implementation problems, it won’t be easy to make happen, we get it. We know that it might not be easy to push out more unemployment benefits to Americans through executive action. We know all of that–we are very aware of the limitations of this move. That all said, we want the American people to know that President Trump will do all he can to help them in this time of need. This is no economic showstopper, however, Trump wanted to show that this administration is behind a strong economic recovery and will do all we can to make that happen. Clearly we are willing to do whatever it takes.”

And all of that makes sense. Certainly, the administration is trying to show voters that even though Trump might not, at least for the moment, be able to deliver true game-changing economic help to them that offers true relief, the goal it seems is to show Trump will do whatever he can–legally dubious or not–to help in some small way. And that could pay some dividends come November. Heck, its a lot better than blaming China for months on end, that’s for sure.

Some Democrats, seeing the strategy behind the move, are concerned. “Trump’s move looks pretty desperate to me and many Democrats, but what I think doesn’t matter,” explained a Biden campaign official, also speaking on background. “How do the American people see it? Even if it does nothing to help those who are struggling, do they look at the move and think at least Trump is trying to do something and reward him with higher poll numbers? Clearly this is just an election year move, but the optics for Trump could be helpful. Its good to be the incumbent.”

My guess is Donald Trump’s poll numbers will get a small bounce, and in this election, that could make all the difference in the world.

Written By

Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as a Senior Director at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C., a Washington D.C.-based think tank founded by President Richard Nixon in 1994. Kazianis in the past served as Editor-In-Chief of the Diplomat and as a national security-focused fellow at CSIS, the Potomac Foundation, and the University of Nottingham (UK). His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum.

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