"I am no member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."
Although jokingly stated as a reflection of 1920s political satire, Will Rogers' aforementioned quote can perfectly sum up today's Democratic Party. On the heels of one of the most remarkable presidencies in American history, the Democratic Party is currently struggling to unite in an effort to retain the White House, retake the Senate, and make substantial gains in the House. At a time when the Republican Party is in absolute disarray, this should be a prime opportunity for the Democratic Party to unify behind a common vision for the country and to denounce the extremism seen on the Republican side. Yet here we are, a mere six months away from Election Day and the Democratic Party has once again struggled to find a unifying message that not only will electrify its base but will also bring in millions of new voters into the democratic process. Somehow, the Democratic Party is once again managing to miss the massive elephant in the room.
And that elephant's name is Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's candidacy is bad for the Republican Party. As in, historically bad. He has the second highest unfavorability rating of any major party candidate to run for president in the last thirty years, surpassed only by David Duke in 1992, a man who has gone on record in support of Donald Trump himself. Nationwide 70% of people have an unfavorable view of Trump and among that number is 80% of Latinos, 79% of African-Americans, 74% of millennials, and 70% of women. Unlike Duke's 1992 presidential run, Trump is not a fringe candidate but rather is the man who is on pace to become the Republican nominee for president. Rather than realign and remedy the issues identified in the 2013 GOP autopsy report, the Republican Party has instead doubled down on the issues, causing the party to end up with the most unpopular and unqualified major party political nominee in our nation's history. There's simply no denying what the Republican Party has become:
The Party of Trump.
And it is those four simple words that can unify the Democratic Party going forward. If the Democratic National Committee is smart (and that's a big if) they will get every single nominee, all local and state party leaders, all national party heads, bigwigs, donors, and power players all together on one single conference call this week and tell them that this four-word phrase will be the Democratic message for the next six months. They would craft campaign ads, stump speeches, talk show interviews, debate answers, and fundraising emails all along this four-word phrase. Billboards would link Republican candidates to Donald Trump. Political fliers would link Republican candidates to Donald Trump. Voter registration and GOTV efforts would link Republican candidates to Donald Trump. Every single time a Democratic candidate met with any member of the media from now until Election Day, he or she would be sure to mention that his or her opponent is a member of the Party of Trump.
It won't be difficult to do. Sure, Republican candidates will insist they aren't Donald Trump or even that they support him. There's a reason why only one Republican candidate running in a competitive race has endorsed Donald Trump and that reason is the fact that they know exactly how unpopular Trump has become. They know that his views and rhetoric are extremely offensive to a large portion of the American electorate. But even if these candidates try to distance themselves from Trump, Democratic candidates should constantly invoke Trump's name in describing their Republican candidate's platform. For example, every single Democratic candidate should add the following phrases to his or her stump speech and debate prep:
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent is also against humane immigration reform..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also wants to criminalize a woman's ability to make her own health decisions..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also wants to limit the intake of women and orphans from war-torn areas like Syria and Iraq..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also believes that the Senate should have the ability to obstruct the will of the people and refuse to vote on a Supreme Court nominee..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also believes in using tactics against our enemies that would violate international law..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also believes that states have the right to discriminate against the LGBT community..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also refuses to acknowledge the valid concerns and challenges raised by the Black Lives Matter Movement regarding the African-American community..."
"Like Donald Trump, my opponent also refuses to acknowledge the role of human beings in climate change..."
And the list goes on and on.
Because getting all the Democratic candidates on the same page is exactly what will lead to a resounding victory in November. All it will take will be the implementation of that simple four-word phrase. With that, the Democratic Party can tie any Republican candidate at any level to Donald Trump. Trump is a gift in that he has been saying what Republicans have been thinking for decades. The more Republican candidates try to distance themselves from Trump, the more their Democratic opponents need to go on the offensive by pointing out that these Republican candidates believe exactly what Trump is saying. Donald Trump is not a lone wolf. He embodies the core tenets of a Republican Party and these views are extremely unfavorable to the vast majority of the American people. The sooner the Democratic Party can link Trump to Republican candidates at the local and state level, the sooner Democratic candidates can go on the offensive for once by painting their opponent's views to be closely aligned to those of Donald Trump. History has shown that people often vote against something rather than for it and so what better way to implement this idea than to assure that each and every November election convinces people to vote against Donald Trump, the man who has become the least likeable major party political candidate in our country's history.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz and those at the DNC have been given a gift to end all gifts. Sitting in their laps is an opportunity to finally create a singular message that every single candidate can easily adopt in their mayoral, gubernatorial, congressional, or senatorial run. All they have to do is make sure everyone is onboard with the messaging and they will have the opportunity to use Donald Trump's historical unfavorability against the Republican Party. As long as they seize this opportunity, they have a chance to truly organize and implement a winning campaign strategy over the next six months. If they can't do that, if they somehow, some way manage not to take advantage of this golden opportunity, then there truly is no hope for the Democratic Party moving forward. Should that happen, it would prove to be a disaster of epic proportions.
One that not even Will Rogers would have thought possible.