Orlando: President Donald Trump launched his 2020 re-election campaign with a rally in front of about 20,000 supporters packed into a Florida arena on Tuesday amid chanting of "USA, USA!"
The crowd in Orlando erupted with cheers as Trump entered the arena.
Even if dismal early poll numbers show he faces a difficult re-election, Trump goes into the fight buoyed by a strong economy and confidence in the fierce loyalty of his right-wing base.
The Trump of 2020 will most certainly bear a strong resemblance to the Trump of 2016 - brash and eager to bash his Democratic opponents and promote tough policies on trade and immigration.
"We`re doing the best job that anybody`s done probably as a first-term president. I think I`ve done more than any other first-term president ever," Trump told ABC News.
Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Trump sees plenty of positive factors, led by a growing economy with low unemployment.
"If the economy stays strong, he is very likely to get re-elected," said Trump confidant Newt Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives.
But the aftermath of a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, coupled with a presidential style marked by name-calling and eye-popping tweets, has undermined some Americans` confidence in Trump ahead of the November 2020 election.
He has also stirred division with his hardline policies on immigration and unsettled business and farm groups with his use of tariffs in trade disputes with China and some allies.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on June 11 gave Trump a 40% job approval rating, compared with 57% who disapproved. Other opinion polls have shown him running consistently behind his main Democratic challengers, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, in key battleground states.
Republican strategists say the fundamentals favour Trump as he heads into his election but that he faces challenges given his bare-knuckled approach, which he refuses to temper.
"His support with his base is as strong as it’s ever been for any Republican incumbent president. The challenge is adding to that and building the coalition he needs for re-election," said Republican strategist Ryan Williams, a former adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Starting his 2020 push in Florida, which the former New York businessman considers his second home, shows how important the state is to Trump`s re-election hopes. The Republican president would like to recreate the state-by-state electoral map he assembled to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
That election win included victories in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and he thus far faces challenges in all those states, along with North Carolina.
Democrats vow to win back industrial states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that flipped to Trump in 2016 after decades of voting Democratic in presidential elections, and they believe his behaviour and policies will generate strong turnout among Americans eager to turn him out of office.