The Democrats have a Twitter problem: They suck at it.
Donald Trump has understands that Twitter is a amazing platform for punchy one-liners. He is brilliant at it. His sound bites come fast and furious and the press eats it up so he dominates the news cycle at will.
The Dems have no answer to this. Their top legislators, Nancy Peolsi and Chuck Schumer, play it safe on Twitter. Rising stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar do as well. That makes sense electorally and legislatively, but not in terms of taking Trump on.
What the Dems need is a trash talking surrogate. Someone who can command press attention, sink to Trump’s level of discourse and command enough press attention to stay in the news.
The obvious option is one of the almost 20 people running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. One of them should just go for it. How about Beto O’Rourke? There is no way he actually get the nomination, but the press loves him and if he goes mano a mano against Trump on Twitter they will love him even more.
It might even boost his presidential chances. After all, it worked for Trump.
The Democrats want to take a look at Donald Trump’s taxes. What are they going to find that we don’t already know?
We already know that Trump doesn’t pay a lot of taxes. He says this makes him smart, and you know what? It does. Who doesn’t want to take advantage of the tax code and its loopholes?
The tax returns might also show that Trump is not as wealthy as he claims to be. But we already know this as well. The fact that Donald Trump exaggerates his wealth, hand size or whatever when it suits him is not going to shock anyone.
So why is Trump fighting so hard to keep his taxes private? One reason is ego – he doesn’t want to have to admit that he exaggerates his wealth. But there is probably a bigger reason.
Trump’s tax returns likely contain a whole bunch of information about who he is doing business with. His partnerships are probably with obscure off shore entities, but some journalist is eventually going to figure out who is behind them.
When the world sees who Trump is doing business with it is not going to look good for him. Nor will it be good for Trump’s business partners. None of them will appreciate being in the spotlight.
A few weeks ago Donald Trump threatened to close the Mexican border. “I’m not playing games” said Trump. Some people evidently thought he was, so two days later the White House had to double down: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway insisted that the president’s threat “certainly isn’t a bluff.”
Still, no one really took him all that seriously, except the talking heads in the media that needed fresh meat to chew on. Sure enough, less than a week after his threat, Trump reversed himself. He was going to give Mexico a “one year warning” instead.
The same week, Trump also backed off on a threat to go after Obamacare again. The last time Trump actually followed through on one of his big threats, he shut the government down and it didn’t work out so well for him.
Still, don’t look for Trump to stop making threats. It’s his MO and has worked for him all of his life. In addition, he doesn’t appear to know any other way to negotiate.
The problem for Trump is that fewer and fewer people believe his treats. Which makes him look impotent. Which is a problem for all of us, because if he feels like no one is taking him seriously he may resort to something dramatic that could be good for his ego but a disaster for the country.