Democrats are concerned about yet another White House bid from former President Donald TrumpDonald Trump Trump urges GOP senators to vote against McConnell debt dealsomething that appears increasingly likely on the eve of an Iowa rally of the leading potential GOP candidate.
Democrats say Trump cannot be taken for granted. While some are convinced that a new Trump candidacy would provoke a wave of Democratic voters to defeat him, others are worried that he may return to power. And that’s enough to bring horror to most people at the party.
“There is not a strategist or insider that I hang out with who would like to see Donald Trump run again,” said Rachel Bitecofer, the Democratic pollster. “No one should think he would be a weak candidate.”
Bitecofer and other Democrats still traumatized by Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, his four years in office and his almost missed defeat last year say he has proven time and time again that he can be competitive, especially when the odds are stacked against him.
“He almost won the White House again in 2020, even after four years of scandal after scandal, and then the pandemic and the poor management of it,” she added. “It never affected him. And he almost won, and his party got a place in the house. ”
“No one should underestimate his ability to energize the base with appeals policies,” added Mike Morey, the Democratic strategist who was an assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. Charles SchumerChuck Schumer Trump urges GOP senators to vote against McConnell debt deal Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Senate approaches surprise agreement on short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (DN.Y.). “Democrats would be stupid to think he would be easy to take down.”
Behind the scenes, Trump, 75, has told his staff that he is eager to announce another bid in the White House. But advisers have asked him to keep a low profile, preferably until after the midterm elections next year.
Trump’s urgency to announce a new bid, GOP strategists say, has been driven by Biden’s poor poll in recent weeks. Trump often sends media outlets e-mails with bad numbers for Biden.
Biden has seen his approval numbers drop after a messy withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and even Democrats have accused him of mismanaging the border and immigration issues.
Independents who helped catapult Biden into the White House last year also have angered him and the gridlock on Capitol Hill, where Democrats control both chambers.
And Trump is ready to strike.
“We are not going to talk about it yet, seen from the campaign’s finance laws, which are frankly ridiculous,” Trump said last month during a stop at a police station to commemorate 9/11 after being asked if he was going to launch another bid for the White House. “But I think you will be happy. Let me put it this way. ”
Trump has also sought to retain others – including the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis Florida Board of Education approves sanctions against eight school districts over coronavirus mandates We all pay for DeSantis’ defiance of first amendment Foreign COVID misinformation helps fuel public health skepticism MORE out of the race, clears the field for a potential race.
“If I faced him, I would beat him as if I would beat everyone else,” Trump said in an interview with Yahoo Finance last week. “I think most people would drop out. I think he would drop out. ”
A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll last month showed that 58 percent of GOP voters polled wanted Trump to become the Republican nominee in 2024 and create a potential rematch between Biden and his predecessor.
A Des Moines Register-Mediacom Iowa poll this week showed that Trump’s preferred rating reached a new high, with 53 percent of Iowans approving him.
The investigation comes as the former president holds a convention in Hawkeye State this weekend.
Biden, 78, has told his staff he plans to drive again in 2024. “It’s very real,” an ally said.
But some Democrats who recognize his age will be a deciding factor in a re-election race, supposing he will not. And they worry about what they see as a weak democratic bench.
“The most frightening thing about the next election is that we have seen what [Trump] can do and I am not sure we have a candidate who can be competitive, ”said a Democratic donor. “I thought Biden was the only one who could take him out in 2020. And if he does not run, many are wondering if Kamala [Harris] can be effective. So who accepts Trump if not Biden? That is the question. ”
To make matters worse, the last few months have “not been good” for Biden, the donor said.
“He looked weak, he looked defensive,” the collection said. “That’s exactly where Trump wants him.”
But other Democrats say they would enjoy another Trump race, pointing to his polarizing nature and his ability to shut down independents and mobilize the Democratic base.
“Even though there’s a little angel over my shoulder that reminds me of what I was thinking in 2016, I’m more convinced it would be a disaster for him – and Republicans up and down the ballot – than in 2020,” said Democratic strategist Eddie Vale. “Another Trump run is not just the rock star over the hill trying to play his biggest hit again, it’s trying to get back on stage in an encore after you’ve been bowed off.”
Vale argued that it would not just be Trump who hurt himself.
“This would help continue to push independents, suburban voters and even some Republicans away from the party,” he said. “And the Senate card in 2024 would be really good for the Democrats if Trump had turnout.”
But a Democratic strategist described another Trump race as “the world’s biggest nightmare.”
“He has shown that he is willing to campaign from the lowest denominator and do everything to win,” said the strategist. “If it does not scare the shit out of any Democrat, we’re in trouble.”