The 2020 presidential election is not that far away. It’s clear that Trump will most likely be the Republican nominee but his opponent is yet to be determined. There have been a handful of Democrats who have said they will run for the top seat. Democrats are working hard to unseat a president they clearly despise and their success will be determined on how they do in battleground states.
The 2020 campaign will also start in the backdrop of an ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department to look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. Reports indicate that the Mueller report is almost done. If indeed his office indicts the president, the political damage will be huge for the GOP. But there are a lot of Democrats who worry that such a report could also be dangerous for the party.
There’s a real risk that Democratic presidential candidates could try to overhype the report and in the process, they may fail to craft a solid message that would appeal to voters in these battleground states. Some of the top ranking Democrats seem to understand this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has in fact tempered down talks of impeaching the President in recent years now that the Democrats have control of the House. Such punitive actions will not do anything to appeal to voters unless the grounds for impeachment are serious and irrefutable.
Democrats ran mostly on healthcare during the midterms. This message resonated with a lot of people. In what’s already a polarized country, the inflammatory rhetoric leading to the 2020 polls will only serve to harden the Republican base. Many strategists agree that there’s a lot to focus on. Although president Trump has delivered on the economy, there are still many who feel that he lacks the ethics needed to hold office. This should be one of the messages from Democratic candidates. In addition to this, fixing healthcare and immigration could be potentially attractive to voters.
Focusing on the Mueller report could work too, but there’s a real risk that it could also backfire. It happened with Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Republicans overhyped and overplayed this card. It backfired, allowing Clinton to regain political momentum and energize his supporters. The same could also happen with Trump.
So far it looks like Democratic candidates are not keen on the Mueller report yet. Those that have launched presidential campaigns have steered clear of the probe by focusing on other policy issues instead. There’s a feeling that a lot of Americans are sick of the partisan political climate at the moment. They want to see action in addressing real issues. For Democrats, it would be a political miscalculation to focus on badgering the president on the expense of these pertinent issues for American citizens. But let’s not underestimate the kind of good fortune that the report could bring. If indeed Trump is guilty, even if Democrats overhype this, it will still be a huge political blow for him and the GOP in their efforts to retain the White House.