Tuesday, June 01, 2021


A Politico story tells us that some Democrats believe they shouldn't talk about Donald Trump in the 2022 midterm capmaign.
With their fragile House majority on the line, many Democrats are imploring their colleagues not to take the Trump bait after last November’s referendum on the ex-president ended up costing their party a dozen seats. Instead, those Democrats are eager to deploy a policy-heavy playbook to help stave off a potential midterm whipping — and are careful to avoid putting Trumpism on the ballot next November, too.

“The former president is now a private citizen, and it appears our justice system is handling whatever potential misdeeds he may or may not have committed,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), among roughly three dozen endangered Democrats who will need to win in order for their party to keep the House.

“Trump is a Republican problem and a Republican cancer that they need to cut out of their party,” she added. “But that’s their problem.”

... some in the party are privately contending that their midterm strategy should resemble that of 2018 — the last time Trump wasn’t on the ballot, when their party netted a total 40 seats to wrest back the majority. That year, they said, Democratic candidates pummeled their GOP opponents on health care, rather than Trump, and it worked.

“Even when President Trump was president, people got tired of hearing about him,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), who successfully led the House Democrats’ campaign arm for the 2018 cycle.

“Trump puts his foot in his mouth more than anybody else. Let him do the talking. People are going to see him for what he is,” Luján said.
But there are a couple of differences between 2018 and 2022. In 2018, Republicans had complete control of the federal government; running a policy-oriented campaign meant saying, "Here's what we'd do if we were in charge." Now, Democrats are in charge. They're going to have a hard time running the same campaign.

Also, by 2018 the Resistance movement had built up strong opposition to Trump among progressives, non-whites, and suburbanites. Beyond that, Trump was the dominant figure in the news every day. Democrats didn't need to talk about him. He talked about himself, endlessly, in ways designed to alienate his enemies.

If Democrats are certain that Trump will be a major presence in 2022, they might be fooling themselves. Here's an NBC News story that says Trump is on the verge of a major comeback -- but the details suggest that Trump's comeback might not be a very big deal, at least this year and next.
Trump returns to the electoral battlefield Saturday as the marquee speaker at the North Carolina Republican Party's state convention. He plans to follow up with several more rallies in June and July to keep his unique political base engaged in the 2022 midterms and give him the option of seeking the presidency again in 2024....

While his schedule isn't set yet, according to Trump's camp, his coming stops are likely to include efforts to help Ohio congressional candidate Max Miller, a former White House aide looking to win a primary against Rep. Anthony Gonzales, who voted to impeach Trump this year; Jody Hice, who is trying to unseat fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger as Georgia secretary of state after Raffensperger defied Trump and validated the state's electoral votes; and Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks, according to Trump's camp.
So Trump is making one campaign appearance on behalf of a leader of the effort to overturn the election results on January 6, as well as two appearances on behalf of challengers to Republicans he hates because they opposed his election-theft efforts. All are trying to win Republican primaries. Will Trump even bother to show up after primary season ends?

I'm not arguing that Democrats should make Trump their main focus in 2022. I'm saying that they should integrate Trump into an overall message about the dangers of returning to Republican rule.

Thanks mostly to the efforts of the right-wing media, the Republican message, in every election as well as between elections, is that every terrible thing in the world is linked back to the evil Democrat Party. Whether it's Hamas rockets entering Israel or Jeffrey Epstein grooming teenagers, whether it's "woke" Fortune 500 corporations or anarchists breaking store windows, it's all the Democrats' fault. It's all the work of Nancy Pelosi and Ilhan Omar and Hillary Clinton and AOC, as well as George Soros and Bill Gates. It's all one big, many-tentacled octopus.

Democrats, by contrast, don't seem to want to hang Donald Trump around the neck of every Republican, even though Trump is the leader of their party, and every Republican is expected to genuflect before him. (The few that don't probably won't survive 2022.) So why not talk about him?

Democrats can also contrast their agenda with the GOP's, on the minimum wage, health care infrastructure, taxation of the rich, guns, abortion, voting rights, civil rights, LGBT rights -- but why not link that GOP agenda to Trump, since it's his agenda too? Why not take everything liberal and moderate voters dislike about the GOP -- both the policies and individuals like Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz -- and link them to every Republican?

All politics is national now, and all politics is smashmouth. Democrats still don't get that.

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