Donald Trump terrifies Democratic leaders almost as much as he scares establishment Republicans, because they’re starting to come to terms with the possibility he could be the next president of the United States.
Republicans say publicly and privately that they’re worried that Trump will win their nomination and then get shellacked in the general election, robbing the party of necessary support in congressional races. The truth, I suspect, is they are also concerned about him winning the presidency, which would empower the tea party wing of the party and marginalize insiders.
It’s that latter scenario that suddenly has Democratic elites wringing their hands.
For a long time, they seemed content to watch Trump wreak havoc on the Republican primary field. Now, though, it’s clear they’re alarmed at the possibility he could win the presidency.
And why wouldn’t they be?
Trump’s more open to policies that appeal to Democratic voters than any of the other Republicans in the race. Though he tends not to emphasize them in the primary — for obvious reasons — he holds or has held un-Republican positions on the social safety net, taxes, campaign finance, gay rights and other issues.
While his un-Republican positions on these issues won’t win over Democratic activists who are repulsed by his rhetoric on immigration and his inarguably loutish behavior on the campaign trail, they could present a threat to the Democratic nominee holding less sticky Democrats in place. That is, he could fray the Democratic coalition in a general election.
Labels: election, Trump