Trump will most likely be reelected in 2020.
How can both of these statements be true? Here’s how:
Even when people are unhappy with a state of affairs, they are usually disinclined to change it. In my area of research, the cognitive and behavioral sciences, this is known as the “default effect.”
Software and entertainment companies exploit this tendency to empower programs to collect as much data as possible from consumers, or to keep us glued to our seats for “one more episode” of a streaming show. Overall, only 5 percent of users ever change these settings, despite widespread concerns about how companies might be using collected information or manipulating people’s choices.
The default effect also powerfully shapes U.S. politics.
Four more years
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four consecutive terms as president of the United States, serving from the Great Depression to World War II. To prevent future leaders from possibly holding and consolidating power indefinitely, the 22nd Amendment was passed, limiting subsequent officeholders to a maximum of two terms.
Eleven presidents have been elected since then.
Eight of these administrations won a renewed mandate: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Even the three single-term aberrations largely underscore the incumbency norm.
Had Ford won in 1976, it would have marked three consecutive terms for the GOP. If George H.W. Bush had won in 1992, it would have meant four consecutive Republican terms.
Since 1932, only once has a party held the White House for less than eight years: the administration of Democrat Jimmy Carter from 1976 to 1980.
Therefore, it’s a big deal that Trump is now the default in American politics. Simply by virtue of this, he is likely to be reelected.