Democrats pinning their hopes on a fairytale
By Alfredo Rodriguez III
An overwhelming majority of Democrats — leaders, operatives, pundits, and voters — are salivating over the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee, believing the result will catapult their party from minority to majority status in Congress. They engage in giddy talk of an all but certain Democratic Senate majority, and possibly even a Democratic majority in the House, if Trump wins the nomination.
The problem? They’re pinning their hopes and wishes on a fairytale. A fairytale that says Donald Trump, as the GOP nominee, will unquestionably be a harbinger on down-ballot Republicans and heavy losses are inevitable. Democrats’ wishful thinking, though, is like Swiss cheese — full of holes. Four to be specific.
First, since the day Donald Trump launched his campaign for president, he has defied all odds, all expectations, and all conventional wisdom. Throughout the Republican primaries, Trump has been a Venus Fly Trap — any candidate that has disturbed his surroundings has been eaten up and devoured. In his pursuit of the Republican nomination, Trump’s won 19 states and received more than 3.3 million votes (more than Romney at this point in 2012). He won 44 of 46 counties in the First In The South primary of South Carolina. He won 66 of 67 counties in the quintessential swing state of Florida. And he’s won in every region of the country, crossing all geographic and socio-economic boundaries.
So, despite a late #NeverTrump effort, Trump is winning among Republicans and growing its ranks.
Second, Donald Trump has proven to be more than simply a candidate for president; he’s a movement. He’s a populist with several conservative leanings, a moderate with a few center-left leanings, and an enigma with many unknown possible outcomes. And he’s offered to lead this movement, delivering promises on key conservative issues, like bringing jobs back to America, cutting taxes, eliminating government waste, defeating ISIS, and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants crossing our border.
With this movement Donald Trump has defined the 2016 elections. Not the party leaders, not the media, not the political environment — Donald Trump has defined this election cycle. Trump has received nearly $2 billion worth of free airtime. Everyone is talking about The Donald. But more importantly than everyone talking about Donald Trump, everyone is hearing and listening to Donald Trump.
Third, even as an antithetical retail politician, Donald Trump makes a personal and meaningful connection with Americans who feel neglected, taken for granted, cheated, used, and angry by the politics and policies of the Obama Administration. And there’s no reason to think his message, his affinity, and his success in the Republican primaries won’t carry over into the general election.
Let’s be very clear, as large as that population of Trump supporters may be in the Republican primaries it’s even larger in the general election.
Finally, if his winning streak, his iconic status in the political arena, and the personal connection he’s cultivated with the American public isn’t enough to convince you that Donald Trump won’t be a harbinger for down-ballot Republicans there’s one last thing.
Donald Trump wants Republicans in Congress, Governor’s Mansions, and Statehouses to win. He said so:
“It’s very, very important as a Republican that our senators and congressman get reelected. We have something going on that is the political story all over the world. Millions of people are coming out and voting in the primary. We have something that if we could embrace it we are going to have a massive victory in November. If this party came together, no one could beat it.”
The 2016 campaign is very likely to have the largest turnout in American history. Donald Trump will be at least in part responsible for it. And so, this fall as the Republican nominee, Donald Trump will not only campaign for himself but also for Republicans up and down the ballot. And that will be a powerful outcome for the GOP.
Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice for president. He wasn’t even my first choice for the GOP nomination. But I no longer feel threatened he will bring down the Republican Party.
Alfredo Rodriguez III is the founder and president of DYCE COMMUNICATIONS, a national Republican political media and strategic communications firm based in Charlotte, NC. DYCE builds winning campaigns with persuasive messaging and dynamic television advertising using its years of experience and talent.