With his approval rating among Republicans hovering between 80 and 90 percent, Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP is nearly complete. But the proliferation of early campaign ads this year suggests the president is reshaping the Democratic Party just as rapidly as his own.
The long, historic line of Democratic happy warriors—Al Smith, Hubert Humphrey, Joe Biden—have given way to an earnest and indignant class of candidates who, no matter what office they’re running for, promise to take the fight to the White House. In a sign of their disdain for the president, their TV ads frequently refer to him as “Trump”—no first name or deferential title necessary.
Recent ads describe Trump in terms that capture the contempt with which he is viewed on the left. One Illinois candidate for governor disparaged the president as a grifter, a rich guy “who scammed the system.” Another candidate running for Congress in the same state characterized him as an “unstable president.”
In Texas, which held its primaries last week, congressional candidate Lizzie Pannill Fletcher used broader strokes, reminding Democratic voters that the president is “threatening everything we stand for.”
Fletcher finished first in the primary for her Houston-area district and will face off in a May 22 runoff against Laura Moser, who ran her own spot advancing her anti-Trump credentials. “After Trump got elected, I started an organization that helped hundreds of thousands of regular Americans stand up to him and the Republican Congress,” Moser says in a straight-to-camera ad.