Juan Williams: How Trump should watch the Democratic debates

Juan Williams: How Trump should watch the Democratic debates
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This column is for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE.

He will be Viewer Number One for this month’s first Democratic primary debates.

He might as well be onstage.

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Trump will be tweeting his insults and offering demeaning nicknames for all the Democrats who want to take him on in next year’s general election.

The moderators might even ask questions based on his live, running commentary.

Trump’s goal during the split night debate — June 26 and 27 — will be to tar potential opponents in their first moment in the national spotlight. He needs to make all the Democrats appear less appealing to voters than the prospect of another four years of Trump.

He has no choice.

A majority of Americans disapprove of his performance in the White House. And already a majority of likely voters tell pollsters they will not vote to reelect him.

So Trump will be multitasking those two nights: He has to deflate any future opponent and look for lines of attack he might use in the general election.

One note of caution, Mr. President.

Any candidate you try to skewer could benefit from the attention, especially if they have a strong comeback that shows they have the skills to trade punches with you.

The number one issue for Democratic voters is finding a candidate with the ability to defeat you.

That means they will prize a general election candidate who will not let your schoolyard bully-boy tactics and crude comments win the day.

Do you remember how you walked behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE in threatening fashion during a 2016 debate without being told to sit down?

Clinton let you get away with that and Democrats don’t want to see it again. So, knowing that the candidates are preparing to counter-punch, you can’t let your guard down. What comes back at you could be devastating.

I’ve moderated a few presidential primary debates and the best performances are all about a good offense. That means the Democrats will be all about attack, attack, attack.

With each candidate expecting no more than ten minutes of talk time, they have to aim at the biggest targets — topics familiar to viewers such as the GOP’s assault on abortion rights.

So, here, Mr. President is your game plan for the debates.

First, every candidate is going to have to take a stand on former Special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE’s report and calls for the House to impeach you.

Since most Democratic voters want you impeached, your response has to be designed to please people who don’t identify as Democrats — the roughly 40 percent of voters who approve of you. You have a different audience than the Democrats.

Also on the Democrats’ list of attacks against you will be your tax breaks for the rich and the higher prices Americans are paying due to tariffs.

The candidates will have a lot to say about Mueller’s finding that he could not exonerate you on suspicions of obstruction of justice. Also, expect them to be asked if they agree with his conclusion that there is insufficient evidence of conspiracy between your 2016 campaign and the Russians to justify any charges.

Your corrupt indifference to Russian interference in the 2016 race and failure to take the lead on preventing a recurrence in 2020 are also certain to come up. Again, Mr. President, play to your base, not the Democrats on the stage or in their audience.

Now for the second level of attacks — the intramural fight among Democrats that will begin with attacks on the front-runner, Joe BidenJoe BidenMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Democrats release two new transcripts ahead of next public impeachment hearings Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage MORE.

The former vice president is popular among moderate, older, black and Latino Democrats who see him as the candidate most likely to defeat you.

There will be a moment when Biden is challenged, likely by one of the women on stage, about his handling of the Anita HillAnita Faye HillFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Christine Blasey Ford makes rare public appearance to accept empowerment award Anita Hill: 'I am ready to hold Joe Biden accountable' MORE-Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasKavanaugh to deliver major speech to conservative Federalist Society Five landmark moments of testimony to Congress Katie Hill calls out a 'double standard' in final floor speech MORE hearings in 1991.

From the more left-wing candidates, Biden can expect critiques of his support for putting more people in jail as part of criminal justice reforms in the 1990s — a stance that turned out to disproportionately hurt minorities.

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Since you apparently agree with polls showing Biden is the biggest threat to you, Mr. President, you have to join the critics. But be careful to avoid unintentionally elevating a non-Biden candidate in the eyes of moderate Democrats and independent voters.

Finally, expect attacks on Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE (I-Vt.). He is second to Biden in most polls, with strong support from the left wing of the party and younger Democrats.

His rivals will insist he is an easy target for your charge that Democrats are “socialists.” But keep in mind, Mr. President, that Sanders’s populist anger at income inequality has a lot of appeal to what you call the “forgotten men and women," your base.

If Sanders slips in the polls, the likely beneficiary is Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenRahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary' Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE (D-Mass.). You have to decide if facing a woman in the general election might be tougher than dealing with Sanders or Biden.

One more thing, Mr. Outsider: expect to hear that you did not “drain the swamp” of Washington politics.

That means first-term Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Fox News anchor apologizes for saying Booker dropped out of 2020 race MORE (D-Calif.), South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Sanders reclaims second place in new 2020 poll MORE (D) as well as tech-savvy businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangJayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' Sanders reclaims second place in new 2020 poll MSNBC apologizes after leaving Yang out of presidential poll graphic MORE will ask voters to take the country in a new direction — beyond polarizing anger at you.

Now, take the time to read your briefing, Mr. President.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.