“It puts what’s at stake in perspective, shows that the Republican Party is still extreme, and helps draw the contrast,” said Cedric Richmond, a former senior White House adviser now on the Democratic National Committee. “Democrats need to focus on what they stand for – from their agenda to their values and contrast it with the extreme extreme on the other side and what they want to do.”
Having Trump off the sidelines as a GOP frontrunner and formal standard-bearer will raise the stakes “and that will help the Democrats,” Richmond added.
Few singular political factors could yet shake up the medium-term landscape quite like Trump. Inside the White House and among his close allies, there is a sense the former president would shift voters’ views of Biden and the Democrats and help quell disappointment and intraparty unrest they see as inappropriate. and unproductive.
Recent polls show considerable doubt among Democrats about Biden’s political future, but administration officials are confident the president won’t face a serious challenge within his own party in 2024. This week Still, a number of next-generation Democratic governors who have been outspoken on the issues, and even critical of their own party, have come to the White House. The visits may have been incidental. But they have provided the president’s team with helpful footage – supporting him as party leader – and led a prominent governor, Gavin Newsom of California, to say he thinks Biden should seek re-election, with his full support. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker made similar statements, before touting Biden’s “passion” for fighting gun violence.
The president himself has made it clear that he views Trump as an existential threat. In a TV interview in Israel, Biden said he wasn’t planning a rematch, but “I wouldn’t be disappointed.”
“I think he’s running and I think he’s winning,” Richmond said of Biden. “And I’m not sure anyone else can win.”
Trump’s calculations for a pre-midterm announcement are multifaceted, ranging from legal pressure from the Justice Department to his waning position in the GOP and the trail of younger potential rivals with far less baggage.
In interviews, more than two dozen Democratic officials, including Biden advisers, party committees, members of Congress and the consulting class, have described a Trump announcement before the midterms as, at a minimum, a positive development for the party, if not a game changer. Republicans who have tried to manage their ties to Trump will have new reasons to be asked about him. Some may have to decide to attend events or gatherings alongside him.
It would also strain the party’s desire to remain focused on economic issues, as questions would naturally arise about the very controversies that continue to surround the former president: from his electoral denial to his efforts to prevent the certification of the victory of Joe Biden, passing through the intersection of his business dealings and politics. When asked if they know of a single 2022 campaign or GOP consultant who wanted Trump to declare before November, a senior Republican official replied, “Lol. Nope.”
Democratic campaigns are pre-drafting fundraising pitches centered on the danger of Trump’s comeback and using it to target suburban voters who are considering taking on Biden over the economy, but weary of it. embolden the lies and election plots of the GOP.
“It’s bad for them because it takes so much oxygen out of the room,” said John Anzalone, a longtime Biden pollster. Already, the dynamics of the fall campaigns have been reshaped by the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade and the January 6 committee hearings on the insurrection. “More people think he should be charged with a crime. Individual things about his actions and comments have come out. It all hurt him. In general, he’ll want to be front and center and that’s not good for Republicans because the public is against him.
“So come in,” Anzalone pushed. “Jump in the pool.
Democrats have pointed out that their desire to see Trump declare his race is based on the belief that it is only a matter of time before he does and that it would benefit them more if the announcement comes before a mid- mandate probably difficult. Trump told New York Magazine that he has decided to run and that the only question is whether he will do so before the fall elections. He is said to be considering a September announcement, according to the Washington Post reported Thursday, the latest in a series of recent stories focusing on its timing and preparations.
“Everyone I talk to hopes so desperately – desperately. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t hope so,” said a Democratic agent in frequent contact with the White House. “Although it has been good for my mental health Trump being off Twitter also kind of sidelined him.”
Not all Democrats openly support an early Trump announcement — or plan to do much if it were to come. Some candidates in districts close to the House or in statewide races say they don’t want to talk about the former president or even the MAGA movement, choosing instead to focus on the economy, affordability and other local concerns. Their sentiments are echoed by some Republicans who view an early statement as a wash.
“I think if people were trying to use him positively or negatively in November, it would already be happening based on his mentions in the primary,” said Josh Novotney, Republican lobbyist and former adviser to Sen. Pat Toomey. of Pennsylvania. And Trump himself, Novotney added, “is not on the ballot.”
Yet Democrats need not invoke Trump alone to benefit politically. And the idea that GOP candidates will be able to escape Trump’s long shadow strikes others as wishful thinking. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, called the impact on Republican candidates up and down the midterm ballot “earthquake” – whether they try to distance themselves from Trump or not.
“Every candidate currently running as a Republican in 2022 has to decide whether to embrace the MAGA movement and all the lies, deceptions and efforts to nullify the election or not. This is going to make it harder for Republicans,” said Casey.
Yet the fact that Trump is officially filing papers to run cannot be seen by Democrats as a saving grace. Casey said he thought his party needed to look more at attempts to contain high prices.
“We must hold Republicans accountable for stopping our efforts to help families in an inflationary economy,” he said. “Time and time again they have had the chance to do something to help families through this difficult time with prices and inflation. They did nothing.
Indeed, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, there were early efforts not to rely solely on Trump and the specter of his re-emergence. An adviser to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who faces famed Republican TV doctor Mehmet Oz, claimed that “Trump is not the scariest part. Anything after Trump is even scarier.
“We’re very focused on our own race and telling people what we need to do for them,” said Rebecca Katz, Fetterman’s consultant. “It’s not enough to be against something. You have to give people something to vote for.
In other races — like the Nevada contest between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and GOP challenger Adam Laxalt — Republican candidates are so closely tied to Trump that it may prove irrelevant whether he announces or not. before the mid-terms.
Instead, Democrats expect Trump’s presence to be felt more intensely in the House, where candidates aren’t generally as well-known.
“He’s a real anchor around the ankles for Republicans with the exact type of suburban independent voters, especially women, that they’re trying to win back,” said Jesse Ferguson, a seasoned Democratic strategist.
He argued that not all Republicans would be able to pull off the high-flying act that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin did last year when Trump and abortion were used against him — and Trump won’t. was not so present. “The longer Trump is in the foreground, the harder it is for the GOP to replicate what he did in Virginia in 2021.”