Donald Trump is very excited about his 2020 campaign kickoff rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. In fact he’s so excited that he exaggerated the venue’s capacity by roughly twenty-five percent. Trump loves drawing a crowd of fawning supporters so he can ramble incoherently as they mindlessly cheer. But he just got some bad news ahead of his Orlando rally.
This morning the Editorial Board for the Orlando Sentinel, the largest newspaper in the area, posted this headline: “Our Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump.” The article goes on to explain why Trump is a disaster, and why the newspaper will end up endorsing a Trump opponent.
Orlando and Orange County lean heavily Democratic. Hillary Clinton won thee county by around 25 points in 2016, after the Orlando Sentinel endorsed her. Trump won some of the more rural surrounding counties, which also read the Orland Sentinel, by large margins. It’s not clear what impact newspaper endorsement have on national elections in the internet era. All that said, this endorsement is a reminder that while Trump has lost relatively few supporters from 2016, he isn’t gaining any new support, anywhere – which explains why his 2020 poll numbers are currently so atrocious. If Trump wants to have any chance in 2020, he needs to start winning over the hearts and minds he couldn’t win last time, to make up for the people he has lost. That’s simply not happening as of now.
Donald Trump will indeed draw a huge crowd for his Orlando rally – but rally crowd size has never historically been an indicator of popular vote turnout. If Trump thinks he’s in the lead just because his base is willing to drive in from the surrounding rural areas to fill a basketball arena, he’s more delusional than ever.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report