News Analysis: By calling Democrats radical, Trump aims to galvanize supporters

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 14:27:49|Editor: Li Xia
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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 10 (Xinhua) -- With the Democratic Party undergoing a major leftward shift, U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign strategy of portraying Democrats as "radical leftists" is aimed at galvanizing his supporters, experts have said.

Kicking off his campaign last month in the U.S. state of Florida, Trump claimed at a rally that "a vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream."

"Trump's campaign will come down to portraying Democrats as radical extremists who are outside the American mainstream," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

While so far there is no serious primary challenge to Trump within the Republican Party, the 2020 Democratic primary is poised to be the most crowded, with at least 23 candidates, among whom there are a number of previously moderate Democrats trying to get noticed by endorsing far-left policies.

During last month's second Democratic debate, all 10 candidates raised their hands when asked whether the government should provide free healthcare for illegal migrants.

However, recent polls have suggested that far-left-of-center policies, as well as candidates who promote such policies, may not resonate with many voters, including those moderate ones who will balk at the price tag and fret over the tax hikes needed to pay for such programs.

A CNN poll earlier this month found that 58 percent of Americans oppose giving government-backed healthcare to those living illegally in the United States.

Experts said Trump will continue to focus on galvanizing his core supporters, in a bid to ensure they get out to cast their votes in 2020.

Pointing out that fear is a motivator in U.S. politics, Republican Strategist and TV personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua that casting Democrats in a negative light will benefit the Trump campaign.

"People tell you that they want to hear positive and not negative. But it's amazing, in general, how much better negative works out," O'Connell told Xinhua.

Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the University of Maryland, told Xinhua that if the U.S. economy keeps growing at almost 3 percent and unemployment stays low, then Trump could "denounce Democrats as radicals and make people afraid of losing this good economy."

While it remains unclear whether Trump's strategy of labeling his Democratic rivals as radicals will work, Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that it shows that his strategy will be about maximizing turnout among his base, not expanding his support among voters in general.

"It will be up to the Democratic nominee to present a strong defense of his or her ideas and explain why the public supports a number of the progressive ideas," said West.