Trump’s biggest 2020 issue could be the economy

Donald Trump has a 2020 issue.

But it’s not the one you might be thinking of.

Trump’s biggest problem next year could be the economy, whose weakness was instrumental in getting him elected in 2016. The way things are now setting up, the economy could be soft in the months leading up to the next presidential election.

And despite all the distractions coming out of Washington these days, it is the economy (more specifically, the jobs situation) that will grab the most attention next year.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve thinks the US economy has been growing at just a 0.4 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2019. Usually, with growth like that, you start hearing people verbalizing their fears of a upcoming recession.

And last Friday’s announcement of subpar job growth during February will have people thinking that an economic downturn is near.

But this year’s first quarter is special because of the long government shutdown. And whenever there is weakness in a year’s first three months, apologists for the bad economy blame the weather and other things. (Too cold to go shopping. Too snowy to leave the house. Too warm for people to buy the usual winter things. Too many good shows on TV to go to the mall.)

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