President Trump's eventual electoral defeat in a highly-controversial election in November 2020 and his departure from the White House on 20 January 2021 can be traced back to the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic from China onto American shores in January 2020.
At that point of time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and chairmen of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees-Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler-had used the Democrats House majority to impeach President Trump when they had no possible chance of securing 67 votes to convict him in the Senate.
Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler sought to gain political advantage by misusing the process of impeachment - hoping that the smear and innuendo generated against the President under the cover of legal privilege - despite the certainty of the verdict-would favour the Democrats in the November 2020 elections.
Their strategy had clearly failed as the Gallup poll conducted between January 16-29, 2020 - in the midst of Trump's Senate impeachment trial-showed:
- The President's job approval rating had risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.
- The 87-point gap between Republican and Democratic approval was the largest measured in any Gallup poll
- Sixty-three percent of Americans approved of the way Trump was handling the economy, up six points from the prior reading in November.
- Trump's ratings for handling foreign affairs (47%) and foreign trade (50%) were also his best to date.
- 51% of Americans viewed the Republican Party favourably, up from 43% in September. It was the first time GOP favourability had exceeded 50% since 2005.
- 52% of Americans were in favour of acquitting Trump and 46% in favour of convicting and removing him from office.
- U.S. registered voters were evenly divided at 50% as to whether the President deserved re-election. When the question was last asked, just before the 2018 midterm elections, 41% of Americans thought Trump deserved a second term.
All this political goodwill was to be dissipated with the arrival of the pandemic playing havoc with America's economy and way of life.
Trump's attempt to keep America's economy open was defeated by Governors in many States refusing to play ball - closing down their economies in an effort to prevent the pandemic causing more deaths – which had soared to 232000 by Election Day.
On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package was the largest emergency relief bill in American history. The bill planned to help people, families, businesses, and the economy cope with the disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic led to changes in voting rules in many states that saw about 65 million votes cast via mail-in ballot (33.5 million in 2016) - whilst total voter turnout increased from 136.9 million in 2016 to about 159.6 million in 2020.
Unanswered questions on the constitutionality of voting changes made by State officials rather than State Legislatures remain - because the Supreme Court refused to hear three separate cases bought before the Court.
Despite the pandemic invasion – the final vote was very close. If Trump had picked up 42,921 votes in Arizona (10,457), Georgia (11,779), and Wisconsin (20,682), the Electoral College would have been tied at 269 all. The House would have then decided the election. Republicans -holding the majority of state delegations in the new Congress - would have chosen Trump. If Trump had also picked up the one electoral vote in Nebraska's Second Congressional District, which he lost to Biden by 22,091 votes, he would have won the Electoral College outright.
The pandemic had just barely managed to trump Trump.
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