To hear Democrats talk about President Donald Trump now, one would think he is nothing short of evil incarnate, an authoritarian tyrant with racist tendencies who needs a “resistance” movement to keep him in check.
But Democrats were singing an entirely different tune 30 years ago when they attempted to get Trump to abandon Republicans and join the Democrat party, because they believed he projected an image and touted a message that they wanted the party to adopt.
A Nov. 18, 1987, article from The New York Times detailed the efforts of congressional Democrats to convince Trump to switch political parties, and also in retrospect revealed that the future president predicted his own eventual electoral success at the time.
It all started with an official request to Trump, a registered Republican, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to be the host of the DCCC’s 25th annual Democratic Congressional Dinner and fundraising gala in March of 1988, as well as the request that he switch political parties.
Trump responded at the time that he would consider hosting the Democrat dinner, but noted that a change in parties would be rather unlikely.
Of the request for Trump to host and serve as chairman of the annual gala, Democrat Arkansas Rep. Beryl Anthony, who was then-chair of the DCCC, stated, ”He’s young, dynamic, successful,” not to mention, ”the message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message.”
”What we were doing was talking among ourselves and looking for someone who is young and who would be good at politics but never especially involved in politics before,” explained Anthony, who added that Trump fit the archetype of a Republican-voting business leader who hadn’t been treated right by the GOP and “should be a Democrat.”
House Democrats enlisted the help of Senate Democrats in their efforts too, as then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry called Trump to extend the invitation, with a Kerry spokesman telling reporters that, “(Kerry) sees Trump as an independent thinker who can put this thing together.”
Trump had caught the eye of Democrats, among many others, with a speech he had delivered in New Hampshire during the Republican primary, when he talked about many of the same issues he has addressed in recent years.
It was at that time that Trump had insisted he wasn’t a candidate for president in 1988, but stated, “I believe that if I did run for president, I’d win.”
As we now know, that prediction from Trump 31 years ago turned out to be quite true.
Ultimately, Trump declined the invitation to chair and host the annual Democrat dinner, according to a Nov. 27, 1987, article from The Washington Post.
That article was full of barbed criticisms of Trump — though it was downright friendly compared to what the media has to say about Trump today. And in a way, the snark in the piece was a grudging compliment:
“He is, after all, an archetypal figure, a modern-day Gatsby. Since recent events suggest that the nation is reliving the let-‘er-rip, get-rich-quick, boom-and-bust, glamor-and-greed decade of the Roaring Twenties, who else but Trump could fill the hunger for a new political icon?”
While the writer of the piece was obviously attacking Trump — no one quotes a “Doonesbury” cartoon about a Republican intending it as a compliment — it was also clear that even then Trump was a larger-than-life figure in American politics, and he was hardly even trying.
Thirty years later, he did try, and try hard. And that prediction from the New Hampshire primary came true — just like he said.
Please share this on Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know about the time Democrats wanted Trump to join their party and he predicted his own presidential victory … 31 years ago.
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