All Democrat presidential candidates suffer electability issues, estimated Tommy Vietor, a former spokesperson for Barack Obama. He shared his concerns alongside fellow Obama administration alumni Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett during a Monday-published episode of the trio’s podcast, Pod Save America.
“I could make a case against every candidate running right now about why they are not particularly electable, and it literally keeps me up at night,” stated Vietor, “but I think the easiest one to make is probably against Bernie Sanders because I think you could point to concern among the Obama-Trump voters — or the moderates — who think his views are too far to the left, and you can see in research — and we’ve all seen the research out there — that they are the most predisposed to not vote for him. That would worry me a lot.”
“Everyone decries negative politics, but I want these guys to brutalize each other in the primary because Donald Trump is going to do ten times worse, and let’s not kid ourselves,” added Vietor.
President Donald Trump should not be underestimated, warned Vietor. The Democrats’ impeachment push against the president had damaged the Democrat candidates’ capacities to spread their campaign messaging, he added.
“I think [Donald Trump’s campaigners] are running a really smart campaign, and it should make all of us very worried,” Vietor said. “That article said they have $200 million in the bank. They way outspent everybody else during impeachment, which seems to have almost entirely blunted impact of messaging Democrats tried to do. I think having a tailored appeal to African American voters — to try to just chip away the Democratic advantage on the margins — is probably pretty smart.”
Vietor characterized Trump as a “racist.”
“I think part of [Donald Trump’s campaign strategy] is an appeal to white people, too,” assessed Vietor. “They’re trying to tell a bunch of white men and women who are educated, upper-income, that voting for Trump doesn’t mean they support a racist. They’re trying to sell that point, even though he is.”
Vietor went on, “[Donald Trump] has a great economy that he’s taken credit for, and I think we should all just be clear-eyed about what an advantage that is. So right now we are in the midst of primary. We’re fighting each other, and we’re looking incompetent. Look, this was always going to be a rough patch for the Democratic Party because you always look like a joke during your primary. The Republicans did in 2016 as Trump was rising.”
“It’s 60-40 at best that he’s going to get reelected,” estimated Vietor, “and I think everyone needs to understand that, and focus our efforts and be clear-eyed about the challenge, but incumbency is an incredibly powerful advantage, and they’re running a pretty simple but seemingly smart campaign, so far.”
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.