NEW YORK – The news may come as huge surprise for detractors, more like a gut-wrenching blow below the belt. But, on the contrary, also as vindication of faith for supporters, an ‘I-told-you-so’ moment of jubilation.
President Donald Trump, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite plenty of backlash and controversies in their first term, seem to be sailing smoothly into upcoming elections with an almost unassailable lead of support, as far as pollsters and punters go.
Trump and Modi rode to power with hand firmly on the pulse of their respective nations. They mined the opportunity of restlessness for change, in the masses. Both have had their fair share of lame and lamentable moments, withstood scathing criticism, but importantly, never relinquished poll promises, held steadfast to their ideals and beliefs.
That tough, firm stance to inner convictions, and ideology, to place national interests above all, is seemingly paying off handsomely. Both Trump and Modi seem on course for a second term in office, at least going by early indicators.
Trump is the overwhelming 3-2 favorite for reelection, in 2020, writes the Examiner’s Washington Secrets columnist Paul Bedard, who spoke with the sportsbook manager at BetOnline.ag, Dave Mason.
Mediaite reported although there are now 12 already-declared Democratic candidates opposing Trump in 2020, the nation’s gambling gurus are still heavily favoring the President for the win in the next election. In fact, as the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday, the entry of Bernie Sanders as #12 in the race didn’t even budge the numbers.
The 12 lawmakers to enter the fray include Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is also running.
Sanders’ odds were as high as 28-1 in April 2017. “We did take some bets on Sanders this morning — he has the fourth highest bet count out of the Democrats behind Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke,” Mason was quoted as saying.
There have been reports too, that Harris is struggling with her fundraising efforts. Harris is showing 8 to 1 at the moment, while Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is at 80-to-1. Newsmax reported Sanders raised $4 million in less than 12 hours after saying he would run for the second straight time as a Democrat.
Trump was recently buoyed by his excellent State of the Union speech, where he hardly put a foot wrong, came across as a mature, consummate politician, who knows how to handle crises adeptly, from immigration to economy. Despite being blamed for a host of issues, including the shutdown, majority of the nation, or punters at least, seem to have rationalized the tough spot Trump’s been in, with Democrats in power in the House.
Trump’s obstinate stance on the wall, has helped his cause too, despite massive misgiving by liberals. It’s likely that some voters have been wary too of the rapid rise of the far left, incessant talk of normalization of socialism, as espoused by Sanders and newbies like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
While Trump has given one direction to the country – love it or hate it, as you may, the path for Democrats seem like myriad lanes leading off on either side of the road, to distant, dubious horizons. A consolidated message is struggling to surface with clarity, and distinction for the middle class and the wealthy, alike.
Across the Atlantic, Modi got a huge boost from a recent national poll in the Times Group online poll, including in The Times of India newspaper, which had him a clear winner heading into the May general elections.
Over two-thirds (83%) of the over 2 lakh respondents who took the survey were of the opinion that a Modi-led NDA government was the most-likely possibility after the polls.
The poll also indicates that the Prime Minister’s personal popularity remains high. Eighty four percent of respondents said that they would prefer Modi as PM candidate if Lok Sabha polls were held today.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a distant second as the most-preferred choice for PM among online voters, with 8.33% voting for him, followed by 1.44% for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, 0.43% for Mayawati, and 5.9% as some other political leader.
Significantly, only 3.47% respondents see a non-NDA, non-UPA mahagathbandan government as a likely scenario after the Lok Sabha polls, analyzed the Times of India. The grand coalition’s foibles in Uttar Pradesh, where they could not see to eye on seat sharing, has also helped Modi.
When asked to rate five years of the Modi government, over two-third of respondents rated its track record as good or very good. Out of this, ‘very good’ accounted for 59.51% and ‘good’ for 22.29%. About 8.25% termed it as an average, while 9.9% found it to be poor.
Respondents voted Modi’s directives to deliver more access to facilities for the poor, and implementation of GST (goods and services tax), as his biggest achievements, while lack of progress on Ram temple and paltry job-creation, as his biggest failures, reported the Times. On question of whether minorities feel insecure under the Modi government, a majority of respondents, 65.5%, say no, but 24.2% say they do.
The opposition have also been stymied by the terrorist attacks in Kashmir, which has changed the narrative of the upcoming polls. Modi has not rushed headlong into confrontation with Pakistan. Like an astute statesman, he’s biding his time.
Perhaps, the message from Modi for voters might well be: give me another term. I will see India through.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter@SujeetRajan1)