April 17, 2024 | Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you think Trump is going to lose, how does that compare to your expectations of 2016?

I asked readers to compare their feelings. Here are the results.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Share this article

If you’re active on Twitter, you have probably heard liberals and Democrats say not only is Donald Trump going to lose the election to the incumbent, he’s going to lose by a lot. 

They have their reasons. (I have said as much as well.) But such claims must be set against 2016 and the expectations of that year. Lots of people, not just liberals and Democrats, expected him to lose.

I wanted to see what others thought, so recently, I asked those who believe he’s going to lose: “How does that compare to your feeling about 2016? Have you compared them? How are they different?” 

As you can imagine, lots of people joined the conversation, not just those who think Joe Biden will win. I don’t think the following responses are predictive. No one knows what’s going to happen. I offer them to inform you and, mostly, to inspire you. If you have any doubt about Joe Biden’s victory, well, vote hard when the time comes.

(All responses have been edited for clarity, brevity and context.)

In 2016, I thought Trump was a joke and I genuinely believed he wanted to lose. This time, he wants to win, but he doesn’t know how to run a functional campaign versus an insurgency. I think he’s going to lose, because he doesn’t know how to win. – Corey Richardson

I’m more optimistic in 2024, because Trump was rejected in 2020 despite incumbency, and he’s done nothing to expand his base while the GOP engages in self-destructive behavior, which is reflected in poll numbers now that campaigning has begun. – @ntoddpax

I would give Biden a slight edge, mostly because I think Trump’s ceiling is around 47 percent. But I think it is a close race. In 2016, I thought Hillary was going to win (though she was so unpopular with voters that I thought it might be close). Having said that, as bad as Trump seemed in 2016, I could imagine why some swing voters might choose to vote for him then. That swing voters might vote for him in 2024, after everything he’s done, is totally mystifying to me. – James Surowiecki

He’s underperforming in primaries and in fundraising, and since his daughter-in-law took over the Republican National Committee, this is going to be a disaster down ballot. If Democrats show up like we need them to, ESPECIALLY WHITE WOMAN AND YOUNG VOTERS, we will beat him badly. But they GOTTA SHOW UP! – Michelle B Young

I totally felt like Trump was going to win in 2016. All the Russian propaganda getting pumped into social media felt raw and real, and I had no idea how to effectively counter it. This feels completely different in large part, because of all the elections [that Republicans have lost] since Roe was overturned. – Mark Greene

I thought Trump was unlikely to win in 2016, but that there was still a decent chance. 20024 feels closer to 2020 when I was more confident Biden would win, but also that chaos would ensue, because Trump and the GOP wouldn’t accept the outcome, and would stymie the transition. Same, but more so for 2024. – Dr. Rachel Michelle Gunter

In 2016, I thought Trump was a joke and I genuinely believed he wanted to lose. This time, he wants to win, but he doesn’t know how to run a functional campaign versus an insurgency. I think he’s going to lose, because he doesn’t know how to win. – Corey Richardson

In 2016, Trump had functional GOP – as in professionals to run a campaign and campaign fundraising – that got on board, plus an unpopular Hillary so he won. In 2020 less functional party, Trump is less popular than Biden, Trump loses. In 2024, there is no GOP, only an even more unpopular Trump. He’ll lose again. – Andrew Donaldson

It was basically a two-man race last time. This time, there are more third-party candidates that appear to be qualifying in swing states, which makes this time much more difficult to call. – Kalee Kreider

In 2016, Clinton won the popular vote. Trump needed a massive assist from a foreign psyop to squeak out a victory in the Electoral College. We were all taken by surprise, and so was he. He’s not taking anybody by surprise now. Almost all the variables have changed. – @Geir7994

I followed the news but didn’t know anything about authoritarianism, information warfare, populist extremism, various biases in journalism, or democracy in general. Eight years later, I’m still no expert, but I have a good knowledge base in all of those areas. Same story for much of the country. The US population, as a whole, is not as naive or vulnerable as it was back then. – @HiRobottt

I don’t see why Trump would lose at this point. I don’t know why anyone would believe that or what evidence they would use to justify that. What I see is a disillusioned and disengaged public largely lacking the knowledge or wisdom to stop Trump. – @TheContrabandWagon

A lot of people are hoping abortion rights and the loss of democracy should ensure a Biden victory. But people believe lies. People are much more racist and inclined toward authoritarian tendencies than we realize. And the average voter is really dumb. – @gniluapnawak

For what it’s worth, I live in a very Republican town, and unlike 2016, I have not seen one Trump flag or lawn sign this time. That’s gotta mean something, right? Please tell me that’s significant. – @kittyboygirl

This is highly unscientific, but in 2016 there were signs in rural North Carolina everywhere! Bumper stickers, signs and flags all over. This time, I’ve only seen two so far. It’s early yet, but I don’t see or hear the buzz like 2016 or 2020. I take that as a hopeful sign. – @momztweet

Major differences between 2016 and 2024. We know the Trump presidency was a disaster. Agenda 47, Project 2025, Roe, his fraud-J6-RICO trials. Biden should win. Biggest worries: third parties and MAGA’s efforts to contest the election. – Melissa H Buckner

In 2020, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania went blue after going red in 2016. I don’t think they will swing back, though I do think it’s too close to take for granted. Turnout keeps 2024 blue. – Melissa Nemeth

It’s not about feelings this time. It’s about data. Special elections, midterms, etc., have all been trending away from the Republicans. There is also a favorable fundraising gap. No one should be complacent, but there are positive markers. – @roscoe_p_ny

When he threw his hat in the ring, I told everyone I worked with that he will win, because people worship reality-show people. More people are tired of his same old shtick. He will lose. – Allison Rynoberg

Leave a tip here ($10?). Thanks!

Same feeling, but in 2016 I think many people gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now that they know what kind of job he’ll do, many of those voters will not make the same mistake. Trump has his base but he lost persuadable voters and I don’t see where he gained. – Dave Birr

In 2016, I thought he was going to lose because religious conservatives would abstain (lol). I think he will lose this time, because he’s a proven loser and a lot of Trump voters won’t turn out. – @gluonspring

I was one of the people who knew Trump would win in 2016. This time, the culture around me has a very “something to prove” quality on top of the hating Democrats. I worry Trump will win simply because of the way I see people talk as if nothing has been learned. – @rzcldt

For details, see Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC), who has absolutely the best take. Biden is a good president. Things are going well. Trump is flaming out. We have abortion and democracy on the ballot. Everyone knows what Trump is. None of that in 2016! – Wade Hatler

There was a lot of complacency in 2016. Not now. – @patintn

I think it’s going to be a landslide in Biden’s favor, like Reagan/Mondale in 1984. Like his personal wealth, Trump’s support is highly inflated by the media who seem to have lost the ability to do math. – Sean O’Neil

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

Leave a Comment

Want to comment on this post?
Click here to upgrade to a premium membership.