Democrats know impeachment is not the path to removing President Trump from office. He’s widely expected to survive the Senate’s impeachment trial next week.
At the first debate of 2020, Democratic candidates instead pursued the strategy of dismantling Trump’s reelection playbook and tried to expose him as a fraud on the issue he likes to brag about the most: the strength of the U.S. economy.
This strategy could prove to be fruitful for the Democratic nominee who runs against Trump because most Americans are not benefitting from the stock market highs Trump loves to tweet about. Only 14% of American households actually hold stocks outright and most working Americans only interact with the stock market through their pension plans or 401(k)s.
Additionally, stock market highs mean that stocks become even less accessible to average Americans as shares get more expensive; the S&P 500 index has been notching records in the past week.
“You're seeing the president boast about the Dow Jones, wondering whether any of that will ever get to your kitchen table,” said former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Billionaire Tom Steyer led the charge on taking down Trump’s 2020 reelection playbook. “We know how Donald Trump is going to run for president. He's going to run on the economy. He's already told Americans last month in Florida, ‘You don't like me and I don't like you, but you're all going to vote for me because the Democrats are going to destroy the economy in 15 minutes if they get in control,” Steyer said. “Whoever is going to beat Mr. Trump is going to have to beat him on the economy.”
Steyer tried to draw a sharp contrast between his business background and Trump’s. “I started a business by myself in one room. I didn't inherit a penny from my parents. I spent 30 years building that business into a multibillion-dollar international business,” Steyer said. “Then I walked away from it and took the giving pledge and started organizing coalitions of ordinary Americans to take on unchecked corporate power. I have the experience and the expertise to show that he's a fake there and a fraud.”
Biden, who is still a front-runner in the race, said he was ready to take on the president on this front as well, and on the issue of working-class people in particular. “When the middle class does well, the working class has a way up and the wealthy do well,” Biden said. “But what's happening now? They're being clobbered. They're being killed. They now have a situation where if they -- the vast majority believe their children will never reach the stage they've reached in economic security.”
“The wealthy are the only ones doing well, period. I'm looking forward to the economic debate,” he said. The latest economic data show that wage growth was flat in December and fell below 3% year over year for the first time since 2018.
“If there's one thing I will not permit, it is someone to run down the field and kick my teammate in the face. And that is exactly what I've seen over the last seven years, traveling around this country, seeing these Republicans, led by Mr. Trump, basically kicking the American people in the face,” said Steyer.
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