President Donald Trump and his advisors are working with outside groups to try and pick his Democratic challenger for 2020.
According to a report by BuzzFeed, a pair of opposition groups are working to develop research "in an effort to smother Democrats" attempting to mount a challenge against him. They're hoping that they can use the research to force Democrats to run on his issues and his terms instead of focusing on the issues Americans care about most.
America First Policies and a super PAC associated with it have already invested heavily in an opposition group named America Rising looking into first and second-tier candidates to prepare research reports on them. According to those close to Trump, they intend to use the research in the Democratic primaries. The focus will be Democrats who could pose a greater challenge to Trump and try to weaken them before the general election.
“They are important partners of America First, and we’ve already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build a robust, substantive research operation for 2020,” said America First spokesperson Erin Montgomery.
The opposition research organization was formed in 2012 in response to the Democratic counter, American Bridge.
BuzzFeed said that the group intends to work "much more closely" with "Trump's orbit" to play in the Democratic Primary. Normally, campaign finance laws prevent coordination, so the campaign will likely be forced to find a workaround.
“This is going to be a gigantic field and going to require an aggressive effort from Republicans,” one Republican involved told BuzzFeed.
Trump's campaign has already raised more than $100 million and the president has worked to destroy progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Meanwhile, his cadre of MAGA bots and faux progressives have tried to frame former Vice President Joe Biden as a predator of women.
Warren already fell for Trump's attacks by researching her Native American heritage and releasing her results in a DNA test.
"She totally fell for his trap," BuzzFeed quoted GOP strategist Andy Surabian.
"President Trump has the ability to infect the psyche of Democrats in a way that no politician has had the power to do," Surabian said. "He knows what to say to get in their heads."