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During the primary election season, Democratic Party officials believed (as they still do) that Hillary Clinton would have no trouble beating Donald Trump in the general. But you might be surprised to learn who DNC leaders were worried about facing one-on-one.
DNC officials viewed Trump, along with Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, as useful tools to the Democrats in a general election, according to a leaked memo from last spring.
Of the so-called Pied Piper candidates, a Democratic official wrote:
The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more “Pied Piper” candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:
- Ted Cruz
- Donald Trump
- Ben Carson
We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously.
In other words, if you voted for Trump in the GOP primary, you did exactly what DNC officials wanted you to do.
In the DNC’s view, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie would have been tougher matches for Clinton.
Here’s a bit from the memo on the candidates they didn’t want you to take seriously:
[M]ore will need to be done on certain candidates to undermine their credibility among our coalition (communities of color, millennials, women) and independent voters. In this regard, the goal here would be to show that they are just the same as every other GOP candidate: extremely conservative on these issues….
Paul, who very aggressively reached out to black Americans and Bernie Sanders’ youthful supporters, was of particular concern to Democrats. They believed Clinton’s controversies would send voters to his side in droves.
The memo advised Democratic operatives to undermine “the idea he is a “different” kind of Republican; his stance on the military and his appeal to millennials and communities of color,” in conversations with the press.