Juan Williams: Democrats finally hit Trump where it hurts

Is the Resistance finally landing some punches on President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE?

Show them the money:

Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official Castro tweaks brother's beard: 'If I knew it'd look like that I wouldn't have suggested it' MORE’s (D-Texas) new fight plan hit the bullseye when he tweeted out a list of Trump’s top donors in San Antonio.

“Donald Trump has put a target on the back of millions. And you’re too cowardly or agreeable to say anything about it,” Castro tweeted about those funders. “How about I stop mentioning Trump’s public campaign donors and he stops using their money for ads that fuel hate?”

ADVERTISEMENT

Separately, billionaire Steve Ross saw a rush for the exits at the upscale health clubs overseen by his firm, Equinox and Soul Cycle, after it emerged he was planning a fundraiser for Trump and the Republican National Committee with ticket prices as high as $250,000.

Then Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Vindman defends witnesses from 'cowardly' attacks at third day of hearings Trump knocks Pelosi ahead of new impeachment hearings: 'She's CRAZY!' Live coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings MORE (D-Texas) unleashed a new, money-based rationale for House Democrats to begin impeaching Trump — to put a spotlight on Trump’s big donors.

Impeachment, Green told MSNBC, would result in Trump becoming “persona non grata to a good many of these wealthy people.”

Green alleged that Trump’s wealthy donors saw him as a “beneficial bigot.”

Those donors, Green said, are giving money in exchange for right-wing judges on the courts and tax cuts for the rich. “So he has benefitted them to the extent that they will tolerate his bigotry. When you tolerate bigotry, you perpetuate bigotry.”

Also putting money at the front line of the fight against Trump is 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro, who is paying for tough advertising calling out Trump’s bigoted language in the aftermath of the mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead.

The former Obama Cabinet secretary broke new ground with an ad on Trump’s favorite network, Fox News: “As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you; because they look like me.”

Many Democratic presidential candidates are already on record calling the president a racist.

But paying for a television ad to rebuke Trump as a racist has the potential to penetrate the far-right bubble. Trump’s backers consistently show indifference to his use of racial fears and anti-immigrant anxiety to stir up his base for the 2020 election.

Polling indicates that this new willingness to confront Trump’s use of racial division has the potential to pay dividends.

Fifty-nine percent of voters in a Fox News poll released last week said Trump is “tearing the country apart.” That number includes 53 percent of white voters. And in terms of Trump’s bid for a second term, it is telling that 59 percent of independent voters also agree with this sentiment.

The poll found that 56 percent of voters disapprove of Trump. “His disapproval rating has only been higher once: 57 percent in October 2017,” according to Fox pollster Dana Blanton.

This reaction against Trump is likely fueled not only by his demonization of immigrants and nonwhite people, but by his constant bullying and name-calling.

If you are not a regular reader of Trump’s Twitter feed, you may have been perplexed by the insinuation that the Clintons were somehow involved in the jail-cell suicide of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

You may also be shocked to learn that the president has no problem telling Israel’s prime minister to block his political opponents in Congress from visiting Israel.

You may also be appalled to learn that he believes people with mental illness are to be blamed for mass shootings. And that there is no reason to worry about trade wars damaging the economy.

No American president has ever stooped this low. That’s why the time has come for Democrats to find new strategies to shake Trump’s trance-like hold on the Republican Party and a third of voters.

But there are risks.

Some voters may see revealing the names of Trump’s donors as dirty politics. Some people are certain to become defensive when they hear Trump called out for racism, fearing that because they voted for him they are being called racists.

Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres sing duet about latest book Michelle Obama receives Grammy nomination for audio version of memoir Hundreds turn out to see Michelle Obama on one-year anniversary of 'Becoming' MORE cautioned against taking the low road in dealing with dirty politics in her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech.

“Our motto is, when they go low, we go high,” she famously said.

ADVERTISEMENT

With Trump as the GOP nominee, the then-first lady advised that politicians’ use of “hateful language” is not representative of “the true spirit of this country.”

But now, with Trump in office, it looks like the Democrats’ best strategy may begin with acknowledging that she was wrong.

Former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPelosi refers to Sinclair's Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points' over whistleblower question Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Obama celebrates 'great night for our country' after Democrats' victories in Virginia and Kentucky MORE raised eyebrows last fall when he said, “Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high.' No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”

Holder added, “When I say we kick them, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight.”

Bill MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight If Trump was such a dictator, Donny Deutsch would be in prison Maher: The Clintons need to 'go away' for 2020 election MORE once joked, “It’s one thing to bring a knife to a gun fight, but the Democrats are bringing a covered dish.”

That time is long gone.

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