Will Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE capture the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination because of the gravitational pull of Barack Obama? Or will it be Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate Democrats propose corporate minimum tax for spending package The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Budget negotiators: 72 hours and counting Democrats face critical 72 hours MORE of Massachusetts, despite her self-serving and bogus claims to Native American ancestry? Perhaps it will be Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRNC targets McAuliffe, Biden campaign event with mobile billboard Obama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech MORE of California who seems to have no idea where she stands on several key 2020 issues or possibly the socialist Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight On The Money — Senate Democrats lay out their tax plans Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — FDA advisers endorse Pfizer vaccine for kids Manchin: 'I think we'll get a framework' deal MORE of Vermont who supports allowing the convicted Boston Marathon bomber to vote in U.S. elections. If President Donald Trump gets his way, it may not ultimately matter.
Enter the über woke socialist quadruplets who refer to themselves as “The Squad:” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled Republican spin on Biden is off the mark House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting MORE (D- N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPaid family leave proposal at risk The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal Six big off-year elections you might be missing MORE (D-Mass.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar targeted by suspicious substance deemed not hazardous Omar, Klobuchar lead charge seeking Congressional Gold Medal for Prince Dozens of Democrats call for spending bill to pass 'climate test' MORE (D-Minn.), and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibClimate advocates turn sights on Wall Street House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting Ilhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' MORE (D-Mich.).
What makes "The Squad" such a tantalizing and obvious political target for President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE is that all four are on the wrong side of every major 2020 issue. From their calls to “abolish ICE” and the Department of Homeland Security, a position that even the ultra-progressive Center for American Progress suggests is bonkers, to their support of the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, impeachment for Trump and outright disdain for Israel, they are the 2020 gift that keeps on giving for the Trump White House.
Let’s also not forget the squad’s over-the-top, incendiary rhetoric, which much of the mainstream press chooses to gloss over or outright ignore, coupled with the fact that these four individuals crave attention and media adulation like teenagers on Instagram. In fact, their social media presence is dwarfing the 2020 Democratic presidential field.
All of this is precisely what President Trump desires. He wants to make "The Squad" the 2020 face of the Democratic Party, and for good reason.
As it currently stands, the 2020 presidential race is likely to be an extremely close affair decided by a handful of states highlighted by Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And allies of both parties are flooding the zone in these four states.
According to internal Democratic polling, "The Squad" is beyond toxic for the Democrats in the 2020 swing states. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be popular among the Democratic base, but her favorability among voters the Democrats need in the states that matter is hovering around 22 percent. Further, only 9 percent of swing voters polled have a favorable view of Rep. Ilhan Omar, while socialism clocked-in at a not-exactly awe-inspiring 18 percent. Public polling from CBS News further confirms that many Americans view the squad unfavorably and that Trump has room to make them even more disliked among the electorate due to their currently limited name ID.
Amy Walter of the non-partisan Cook Political report was spot on when she recently tweeted, “[t]his fight w/the squad is exactly where Trump wants 2020 fought.”
If President Trump has his way, not only will "The Squad" serve as a placeholder until the Democrats officially select a 2020 presidential nominee, but he will use "The Squad" as a battering ram to disqualify the eventual nominee in much the same way that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day RNC targets McAuliffe, Biden campaign event with mobile billboard The real reason Biden is going to the COP26 climate summit MORE utilized the chaotic 2012 Republican presidential primary to disqualify Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIn Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government MORE before Romney could even officially assume the mantle as the GOP standard bearer.
If you think all of this is far-fetched or that Trump is incapable of staying focused on the squad and parlaying their toxic message in the swing states to his advantage, then you probably haven’t been paying close attention for the past four years. As New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan, no fan of Trump, observes: “Trump’s strength, after all, is his sense of others’ weakness,” and “[t]he squad is so far to the left that if Trump can run against them in 2020, rather than against any actual Democratic nominee,” he will secure victory. In other words, this is right in his wheel-house and it’s all due to the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party taking place right before our eyes as different blue team constituencies bicker over a wide-variety of policies.
Further, try as he or she might to resist, the eventual Democratic nominee will not only have to kiss the proverbial ring of "The Squad," but the nominee will also likely have to bestow coveted speaking slots to the progressive quadruplets at the 2020 Democratic convention in Milwaukee to solidify their own base, thereby inextricably linking the two together for Trump.
So move over Pelosi, Obama and Hillary, because Trump has a new political target in 2020 and their name is “The Squad.”
Ford O'Connell served as director of rural outreach for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign; he runs a political consulting business, is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and is a regular commentator on FOX Business. O’Connell is also an attorney. Follow him on Twitter @FordOConnell.