In Running Against the Devil, veteran *Republican* strategist, frequent guest on MSNBC, and author of the delightful Everything Trump Touches Dies, lays out a comprehensive game plan for defeating Trump in the 2020 election. The author is a “Never Trump” adherent who would like to see a restoration of the Republican Party that has been hijacked by Trump. He believes Trump can be defeated. He predicts that not only would a Trump re-election be ruinous for the country, but it also would set the stage for a Trump Junior run in 2024. Trump must be stopped *now* the author declares, in order to prevent a dynasty of rule by the Trump family.
The primary principle behind any effort to prevent Trump’s re-election is this: the election must be framed as a referendum on Trump. The author claims that policy disagreements among the candidates do not matter. Moreover, he asserts that the election already has been decided in 35 states: New York and California will vote for the Democrats’ nominee; Mississippi and Alabama will vote for the Republican’s nominee. The election will be decided by 15 key swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and these are the states where election efforts should be concentrated. Other states should be visited only for fund-raising purposes.
These two principles form the core of Wilson’s book, but he offers much more advice to assist Democrats in defeating Trump. He reminds readers that there is no single national election for president, but, rather, 50 state elections, and therefore messaging should be tailored for each specific locale. Wilson is a big fan of polling and data, and he argues that this information will be key to determining the outcome of the 2020 election. He advocates the extensive use of social media, and the micro-targeting such an approach allows.
In some respects, Wilson’s advice already arrives too late. He points out that the campaigns of previous post-Eisenhower re-election efforts began and were decided well before Election Day. Obama’s re-election campaign began the day he took office, as did Trump’s. Nevertheless, the odds are tough but not insurmountable. The election is still the Democrats’ to lose. In addition to the voters most likely to vote for the Democrats’ nominee, the Democrats must also reach out to moderate Republican voters, those same voters who likely voted for Obama but were swayed by Trump in 2016.
Some of Wilson’s advice will be anathema to those running the campaign of the Democrats’ nominee. He offers sketchy advice such as surreptitiously supporting third-party candidates who otherwise might be inclined to vote for Trump such as the Libertarians. He urges Democrats to make white nationalists Trump’s running mates. Instead of impeaching Trump — advice which obviously is too late already — Democrats in Congress should initiate an endless series of investigations into Trump and his appointees.
Although Wilson offers a great deal of useful advice written in a compelling and trenchant style, the audience for this book is not so much for the general voter as it is for those who will be making decisions about how the Democrats run their primary and general elections. EVERY decision-maker in Democrats’ campaigns should buy this book immediately and begin putting its principles into practice. As Wilson points out, another Trump term would be catastrophic and must not be allowed to happen. Wilson, even though he effectively is a traitor to the Republicans, offers solid advice about how to prevent Trump from being elected to a second term. Democratic strategists and campaign advisors ignore his advice at their peril.