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Opinion | Donald Trump Will Pick the Democratic Nominee

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And every Democratic candidate’s theory of the race is a theory of Trump, reflecting his or her analysis of how Trump pulled off his astonishing upset.

Did it indeed rest on embittered and economically vulnerable white men in the Rust Belt? Then his challenger must be able to speak to that demographic group. That’s an argument made for and by Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Tim Ryan, Steve Bullock and John Hickenlooper. Note that they’re all white men themselves. By this thinking, it’s potentially reckless, after Hillary Clinton’s defeat, to stage a rematch against Trump with a woman or a member of a minority group.

Did Trump prevail in 2016 because too few young people, progressives and voters of color cast ballots? Then the key is a candidate who can supposedly energize one or more of those groups. Cue Harris, Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Julián Castro and Elizabeth Warren.

Has Trump’s grossly misogynistic behavior and assault on reproductive rights set the stage for a woman-powered rebellion at the polls? Then Harris, Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand deserve serious consideration.

Was the lesson of Trump that you must be able to saturate the media, social and otherwise, and become a compulsively watchable character in a narrative of your own invention? Beto O’Rourke obviously thinks or at least thought so, and that’s partly why so many Democratic voters saw such promise in him.

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“On stylistic and even substantive grounds, Trump is arguably exerting more gravitational pull on Democratic politics than the party’s most recent president, Barack Obama,” John Harris, a founding editor of Politico, recently wrote. Harris also asserted that the Democratic primary contest thus far “is over which candidate can most credibly claim that he or she will not just beat Trump but repudiate all he stands for.”

That’s the essence of Biden’s strategy and message, which boil down to this: Electing me would mean that the past four years were a bad dream, like that kooky season of the 1970s television series “Dallas.” It would restore Obama (in absentia), resume the arc and renounce this dance with the devil, who could no more drain the swamp than tell the truth. Nostalgia is the new revolution.



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