As Democrats portray Donald Trump as a dangerous leader for his party, most of them barely acknowledge he could be president. But some centrist Democrats say they’re ready and willing to work with the business mogul should he defeat their party’s nominee.
“The people will have a chance to vote. If Donald Trump is elected president there will be a great opportunity to sit down and have a conversation about what that agenda looks like,” explained Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who has long backed Hillary Clinton. “If he’s president, we’re going to have disagreement. But we’d better all figure out how to come up with an agenda for the American people.”
Getting ready for a potential Trump presidency in their home states may just be good politics for moderate senators such as Heitkamp, Jon Tester of Montana and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. They’ll be top targets for Republicans in 2018, a midterm year that could favor the GOP if recent trends of lower turnouts in nonpresidential elections continue. And it’s a good bet that they’ll need Trump voters to keep their jobs.
Trump should easily win North Dakota and neighboring Montana this fall if past is prologue: Montana went to Bill Clinton in 1992, while North Dakota hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964. He’ll also certainly win West Virginia and be favored to win Missouri as well: Both states have been in the GOP column since 2000.
For Democrats in those states, ignoring Trump’s political success, and by extension his supporters, would be a risky move. So some Democrats say they can see some opportunities for working together during a hypothetical Trump presidency, given that the Republican front-runner has based his campaign on being a deal maker — unlike any other prominent GOP candidate this cycle.
Sure, because running away from a Democratic president worked so well in 2010 and 2014, especially if turnout is an abysmal 36% like the last midterm election.
Look, I understand the impulse to appease Trump voters if you're in friggin' West Virginia and whatnot, but odds are very, very good that Democrats are going to lose these seats, plus Joe Donelly's seat in Indiana, giving the GOP five pickups in 2018.
So unless Democrats out in those states get super-motivated, they are going to get smashed again, and acting like Trump's your buddy is only going to get you a bigger loss.
Ask Kentucky Senator Alison Lundergan Grimes and Governor Jack Conway how well it works to run screaming from a Democratic president.
On the other hand, if Trump does actually win, what Joe Manchin does in 2018 will be the least of our problems as Democrats.