Top Democrats Think Targeting Trump is a Self-Destructive Campaign Strategy

Some prominent Democrats are questioning whether ex-President Donald Trump should be a focus of future campaigns after Glenn Youngkin, Republican, defeated Terry McAuliffe, Democrat in Virginia’s gubernatorial election.

“I just don’t think [Trump] needs to be the central focus,” said Gov. Roy Cooper, the incoming chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

“What you can do is continue to focus on your issues and [decide] if it’s worth reminding people how this candidate got elected, and what’s coming. Because our democracy is really at stake now,” Cooper added.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor between 2014 and 2018. He led Youngkin by ten in September. Youngkin lost to McAuliffe by two points. This is the end of a campaign that McAuliffe focused on linking Youngkin with Donald Trump.

McAuliffe referred to Trump’s name thirteen times during the campaign’s final days.

Democratic pollster Brian Stryker issued a memo to fellow Democrats earlier this month, warning that the party could be destroyed if they continue to make Trump as the central focus of their campaign.

“[I]f we are running 2022 on ‘Republican candidate = Trump,’ we’re getting killed,” Stryker said in the memo.

“Our weak national brand left us vulnerable. Voters couldn’t name anything that Democrats had done, except a few who said we passed the infrastructure bill. That bill didn’t overcome their opinions that we have spent the last year infighting and careening from crisis to crisis,” Stryker added.

In a NPR/Marist nationwide survey, the president has 43% approval and 51% defiance. A national poll by Monmouth University showed a 41% approval rate and 50% disapproval. Both surveys were taken in the last few days.

Real Clear Politics has calculated that Biden’s approval is 42% and disapproval 52% from the latest national polls. This average also included a large survey by  The Wall Street Journal last month which found that the president was well below his normal levels at 41%-57%.

The GOP is Trump’s party, undisputed. A poll by Morning Consult in October found that 47 percent of Republicans would vote for Trump if he ran for the 2024 party primary elections. Only 13 percent supported Mike Pence, former Vice President, and only 12 percent supported Ron DeSantis (the current governor of Florida). 

According to all accounts, Trump’s win in the 2022 midterms by Republicans will be paradoxically the most important event that could lure him into the 2024 race for the presidency. Trump’s camp believes that with the Republicans on the rise, and with their man, the most popular leader in the party, the political conditions could not be better for him to return to the upper echelons of American politics.

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