As of this moment, those surrounding Donald Trump are still presuming there will be a Donald Trump re-election campaign. This requires staffing up a new campaign operation, which will be a bit more of a challenge this time around, now that the majority of his previous top lieutenants are either in jail, under indictment, or otherwise caught up in the probe of Russian election hacking and related (and unrelated!) crimes.
It also requires doing a bit of research on who their likely Democratic opponent will be, presuming Donald does run again rather than holing up in a Russian embassy somewhere with his adult children and his tweetin’ phone. According to Politico’s sources, Trump’s current advisers are now “compiling opposition research” on Democrats Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker, the trio that Team Trump believes to be the current frontrunners.
Not exactly going out on a limb with that one, so … noted.
The strategy Team Trump is coalescing around is an unsubtle one, one in which any and all Democratic contenders will be declared “socialists” for proposing that the United States do a single damn thing for any of its citizens, regardless of specific plans or details. “Socialism” will be the bugaboo by which Trump’s Republican defenders defend imprisoning refugee children, regularly obstructing justice, promoting white supremacist concepts and theories, and leading the nation’s dumbest organized-crime ring. It will be “socialism” to not build a turgid monument to Trump’s ego in the southern desert; it will be “socialism” to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions rather than leaving them in the woods as our ancestors intended; it will be “socialism” to propose that we save the state of Florida from going underwater, build transportation systems to match those of other top industrial nations, return to the same tax rates that the wealthy had to pay back when the first Star Wars movie came out, or suggest that it was improper for Trump’s campaign manager to hand over internal polling data to Russian spies during an espionage campaign against the United States.
Donald Trump supporters are a simple people. They don’t like nuance. They do like being absolutely terrified of secret conspiracies, scary immigrants, and Europe, so expect the next Trump campaign, like the last one and like every Fox News program on any evening after new indictments or Russia-related revelations have surfaced, to consist primarily of high-pitched shrieking noises.
Politico also has a bunch of words devoted to who Trump’s advisers see as the most threatening Democrats, the ones they are supposedly most afraid of. This is all bunk and doesn’t deserve a moment’s attention: Anyone who has followed politics for even a single election should be aware by now that campaigns broadcast such statements in an effort to concern-troll the other side into elevating or diminishing specific candidates. If you want to know what the Trump campaign “thinks” about each candidate, cut out the middleman and go directly to the source of such statements: whatever idiot has just appeared on Fox & Friends on any given morning.
The biggest question in all of this? It’s got to be whether Russian intelligence services will be conducting espionage and propaganda efforts against Trump’s opponents with the vigor that they did last time around. There’s absolutely no reason they wouldn’t, after all. They’ve already gotten a good chunk of what they wanted, and Donald continues to fall over himself in efforts to give them more.