Contrary to what happens in Portugal, which, in the Third Republic, never met a President who had only served one term, the recent history of the North American presidential elections is rich in examples of Presidents who were not reelected. In keeping with the polls, Trump is a serious candidate to follow in the footsteps of George HW Bush or Jimmy Carter and to step down in the White House after just four years.
In a year marked by a pandemic arrogantly underestimated by the President, by a disastrous management of police abuses on blacks, and now by the revelation of the scandal of his tax returns, things have not been easy for Trump. If it is true that some measures of your Administration, such as the reduction of taxes on companies, the incentives for job repatriation in the industry and the anti-Covid package of support to the economy, have earned you domestic popularity, it is no less true than the projections election results have fluctuated between being unfavorable and very unfavorable. There is, therefore, the conviction that, if he aspires to be re-elected, Trump will have to issue a letter that turns the game in his favor.
As of this writing, the first debate between Trump and Biden has not yet occurred. It is expected to be a moment of entertainment, to which the current President leaves as a favorite. Trump is aggressive, has no shame or scruples and speaks clearly. Who doesn't remember hearing him promise Hillary Clinton, eye to eye, that if he were elected he would put her in jail? Everything indicates that, with Biden, the level will not rise. Trump has mocked his opponent's mental agility, referring to him as "Slow Joe" and "Sleepy Joe". On the other hand, Biden, an experienced politician, will have to fight back with considerations about the character and honesty of his opponent, which the journalistic revelations of these days will give strength.
However, according to a study conducted by the “Economist”, US presidential debates rarely change electoral results. Having analyzed the polls of various elections in the fifteen days before and after the debates, this publication concludes that only once (in the George W. Bush vs. Al Gore race) has the trend of the polls reversed. It is therefore to be expected that entertaining whatever the debates, do not prove decisive.
Despite this, rumors about Trump's "early death" are clearly exaggerated. First, the disadvantage in the polls is not much different from what was seen in 2016 when he faced and beat Hillary. Then, the American electoral system increases forecasting errors about the winner. Just bear in mind that the candidate with the most votes is not necessarily the winner (in 2016, Hillary, who led the polls and had three million more votes, lost the elections). On the other hand, remember that the consensus around criticism of Trump and his style is much more abroad than internally, where there is a lot of criticism (many from the elites) but there is also a lot of support.
Perhaps George Soros, who anticipated in a recent interview that Trump will announce a vaccine for Covid-19 before the election, is right. We do not know whether or not the impact of such an announcement will. What we do know is that, in a time marked by global challenges, with climate change at its head, Trump's possible re-election will be bad news across the scale.