The upcoming November election in the United States is shaping up to be bigger than Texas.

Nervous Democrats on social media are warning against complacency, that there is still four months to go, the polls will tighten, anything could happen, and President Donald Trump will do anything to win.

He certainly still can if the race becomes close. But objectively, it is easier at least at this stage to make a case for how the Republican incumbent loses than how he wins. Here are five challenges he faces.

1) Ongoing crises


This seems more likely to be a watershed election than a nail-biter.

Is it surprising considering that the under-siege leader is anchored by crises?

The latest is that Russia reportedly paid Taliban-linked fighters bounties to kill American and British troops in Afghanistan.

Trump denies having been briefed about it, but intelligence officials say he was informed earlier this year.

2) Background conditions

The problems and issues that are dragging down Trump's numbers – polls show most voters disapprove of how he has handled the pandemic and protests – will still be there up until the election. And they will probably worsen.

The US coronavirus curve has taken a surge upwards after premature business reopenings. Southern Republican-run states are currently worse hit.

It is a setback in both health and economic terms.


Millions of people are out of work and special jobless payments are due to end in a few weeks.

The Trump Administration has also asked the US Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare in the middle of the health emergency.

3) Running out of time

Four months is not a huge amount of time for a massive turnaround with problems this big, in an electorate this polarised, and where the election is essentially about the sitting President.

CNN reports that "more voters have a strong opinion of Trump than any other candidate at this point in 40 years".

Trump could rebound by a few points but still fall short.


CNN reports that Harry Truman is the only incumbent in the past 80 years losing at this point who went on to win and he had not previously been elected, having become President after Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945.

4) A more popular opponent this time

There is a mass of people united behind the idea of dumping Trump.

Enthusiasm for former Vice-President Joe Biden is tepid but he is an easy moderate for the Democratic faithful, independents and disgruntled Republicans to flock behind. The young and sceptical will still be hard for Biden to win over. has Biden ahead nationally by an average 9.2 per cent. Some national polls in the past week have had Trump's support below 40 per cent.

Biden's favourable ratings are between 10 to 20 per cent better than Trump's 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, according to Slate.


Polls show Biden is more in tune with majority opinion on key issues than Trump.

5) Swing-state options and headaches

Biden is ahead in the key battleground states which swung the Electoral College and the presidency Trump's way in 2016: Michigan (+8.6), Pennsylvania (+6), and Wisconsin (+6.2).

But importantly, the Democrat also has extra options in Trump-won states: Florida (+6.8), Arizona (+4), North Carolina (+2.4).

He is also close to Trump in others: Ohio (tie), Iowa (-1.5), Texas (-2), and Georgia (-4.3).

That means Trump will have to spend dollars and time in states that he should not have to worry about.


The fact that Texas, the jewel in the Republican crown, is in play is a scary sign for the party.

Hispanic voters have been moving Sunbelt states towards the Democrats.

It is a trend that will continue unless and until the Republicans seriously compete for their support.