What the Democrats need to do to win

The Guardian reports:

Democratic voters should read Rick Wilson’s new book, he says, and heed his advice about how to beat Donald Trump. …

Wilson is a top Republican strategist with 30 years’ experience. He has made myriad attack ads, notorious among them efforts in support of Rudy Giuliani in New York in 1998 and against Obama 10 years later.

“We control 38 state legislatures right now and there’s a reason for that: it’s because of guys like me,” he says, on the phone from Florida. “I helped to build some of the tools in the toolbox for how you go out and exploit the cultural divisions in the country, and the political divisions, to win for Republicans in blue and purple areas. On paper it looks hard but we worked hard and recognised that the way to win is sometimes to not tell people who you really are.”

Wilson’s new book is a guide to how he thinks Trump can be beaten. The chief way to do it, he says, is to make the election a referendum on the president. He thinks impeachment and the Iran crisis, which happened after he went to press, only help prove Trump isn’t fit for office.

He thinks Democrats are making a huge mistake in the campaign so far – by telling voters who they really are. The main candidates are veering too far left, he thinks, away from the disaffected Trump voters they will have to turn. Among progressives, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is praised for her detailed policy plans. But to Wilson, Democratic “policy is the enemy”, whether it concerns Medicare for All, gun control or women’s right to choose.

“Guys like me who still work on the Trump side of the fence can always turn it into something that is a millstone around their neck. It’s not even that hard. Elizabeth Warren produces a 600-page healthcare plan and my research geeks can’t find, I don’t know, 30 things in there that I can’t demagogue the hell out of? Because I can. Or the guys that are me now can.”

Wilson is right. If the Democrats go into the election with a candidate with radical policy plans, they’ll lose.

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