In the dirty world of political tricksters, there is no more valuable information to be obtained than the electoral game plans from your opposition party.
Getting such desirable competitive information was the aim of the burglars when they broke into the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee on behalf of President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign.
The same lust for inside information was behind the Trump campaign’s attempts to get the email from the DNC and Hillary Clinton servers and their infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
Texas Democrats didn’t have to do anything illegal, however, to obtain the Texas Republican Party’s 2020 election strategy.
For some unexplained reason, a copy of a draft document intended for an initial discussion of the GOP’s strategy for both the 2020 primaries and the general election began showing up in the email boxes of Texas Democrats as an early Christmas present late yesterday, according to The Dallas Morning News.
In what the newspaper calls a “bizarre political blunder,” the Democrats now know the exact 12 statehouse districts that Republicans are trying to target in next year’s elections and their online strategy to attack Democratic incumbents and preserve their threatened majority in the Texas House of Representatives.
“Starting after the Primary, the RPT will generate microsites for negative hits against the Democrat candidates in our twelve target race—we expect each microsite to be roughly $500,” the document reads. “We will then begin rolling out these websites, prioritizing the races that were within 4% in the 2018 election.”
The misrouted document exposes a GOP plan to buy up website domain names associated with the names of Democratic candidates in order to be able to reroute them to websites featuring negative propaganda about their targets.
“We will attack these Democrat candidates with contrast hits which we will obtain from, public votes from the 86th Legislative Session, their campaign websites, and any other means to gather negative material on them,” the document continues.
“Given the polarizing nature of the President, I suspect some Republicans will refuse to turnout during the General Election because they don’t want to vote for him – though I don’t know that we will know what this universe would look like without us or a stakeholder creating a model,” the document states. “Regardless, I suggest we set up a contingency budget to target these folks with mailers, digital ads, and texts to encourage them to turnout for U.S. Senate, State Senate, State House, and so on.”
With the fear of Donald Trump becoming an albatross around the necks of even local GOP candidates, one must wonder how long it will take for this sentiment to filter up to the Republicans in the Senate who will ultimately determine Trump’s fate when the impeachment trial inevitably arrives on their doorstep.
So far, Trump has been able to keep his party unified behind him through fear of his endorsement of another more Trump-friendly candidate in GOP primaries. If the local Republican party members begin to see him as more of an impediment to their election than a help, support for Trump may crumble more rapidly than anyone anticipated.
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Original reporting by James Barragán at The Dallas Morning News.