David Plouffe got it very wrong in 2016.
After confidently predicting Donald Trump’s defeat, the campaign manager credited with Barack Obama’s historic 2008 victory watched a reality-television star become commander in chief. Four years later, Plouffe says he rewatched that Election Night. Over and over.
And after absorbing the lessons of that day, he’s written a book on what Democrats need to do to defeat Trump—a reelection battle that, as he told Edward-Isaac Dovere on the latest episode of The Ticket: Politics From The Atlantic, “probably has the biggest stakes the country’s ever known.” They discuss the president’s reelection campaign, the state of the Democratic Party, and a nomination fight that’s suddenly become a two-man race.
Listen to the full episode here:
- Plouffe on the Democratic candidates: “There’s gonna be a lot of pressure on Joe Biden and his campaign if he’s the nominee. Likewise with Bernie. And they should have it. If you don’t win this election, it’s shameful. You are the person above all … We all have a role to play, but that nominee and their campaign leadership better win. Because the consequences for the planet and for this country are hard to put into words.”
- Plouffe on President Trump’s campaign: “I have studied every incumbent presidential reelection carefully, was part of one … Incumbent presidents have amazing advantages and weaponry. And this guy’s obsessed with being reelected. It’s all he cares about … The menace is looming, and he is ready for this battle. But there are more than enough voters to get rid of him.”
- Plouffe on general-election debates: “I assume Trump is going to do them, because how can he not be part of that circus and spotlight? They are going to just be geriatric cage matches. I mean, it is going to be something for the history books.”