'Squad' Fight Boosts President's Reelection Bid: 'Exactly Where Trump Wants 2020 To Be Fought'

Sen. Bernard Sanders says President Trump may be crazy, but he’s not stupid when it comes to crafting a message and sticking to a strategy that could boost his reelection chances next year.

That theory could help explain why Mr. Trump is going after the four minority congresswomen known as “The Squad,” who have come to embody a liberal brand of politics that hurt their party’s ability to woo voters in swing districts next year.

“He wants to make ‘The Squad’ the face of the Democratic Party as a placeholder until they know who the nominee is,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who communicates regularly with the White House.

“He wants to keep it on celebrity versus celebrity, and ideology versus ideology, rather than solutions because he wants to tell you their ideology is going to creep into the policy solutions that the eventual 2020 Democratic presidential nominee puts forward,” Mr. O’Connell said.

That could prove to be a smart move for Mr. Trump, whose approval rating has been underwater.

Polls suggest the president could be on better footing than the liberal foursome who have become the center of attention in Washington: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls shows 44% of voters approve of the job Mr. Trump is doing and 52% disapprove.

Mr. O’Connell said Mr. Trump has been itching for the chance to tie Democrats to the group. The opportunity appeared last week when Ms. Ocasio-Cortez accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of singling out minority members of the Democratic caucus.

Amy Walter, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said the fight with “The Squad” “is exactly where Trump wants 2020 to be fought.”

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at the Washington Times

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Analysis & Political Strategy