Democrats are attempting to recruit veterans as candidates to run for Congress in 2018, as the party seeks to regain power by appealing to middle America’s patriotic voters.
According to POLITICO, the party is now planning its 2018 campaign strategy and on Tuesday met with DCCC leaders and Vote Vets, a left-wing group focused on veterans issues, chaired by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,)—an Iraq War veteran who flipped her Senate seat in Illinois last year.
Duckworth recently confirmed that she had spoken to over a dozen veterans about possible House races in either 2018 or 2020, adding that she expects to confirm some of their nominations soon. Two of her nominees include former female helicopter pilots, as the party hopes to attract both male and female members of the military.
“Especially among the younger generation of veterans, you have a community that is far less conservative than people might think,” Duckworth said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), also claims to have recruited 22 potential candidates to run in 2018, with some of their nominations currently being finalized.
“I don’t think you have to be a veteran to run for office, but when you’re looking for a group of people who might be able to rise above the bitter partisan gridlock, veterans are a good place to look,” Moulton said.
“Washington seems like a dirty place. But so was Afghanistan. And so was Iraq. And we’re going to clean it up. Donald Trump’s policies are terrible for our national security — what group of people better to point that out than a group of Democratic veterans?” he continued.
The move suggests that Democrats plan to launch a two-pronged attack on the Republican majority in 2018, combining candidates who vehemently oppose Donald Trump, as well as trying to widen their appeal to America’s patriotic underclass, who have deserted the party in past elections.
One of the core elements of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was his promise to look after and protect veterans’ interests neglected by Obama. A report in 2015 revealed that more than 30,000 veterans may have died while waiting for health care treatment.
Voting records after the election showed that Trump won the veteran vote by a landslide of 61 percent to 34 percent, translating into 4.8 million more votes over Hillary Clinton.
Before the election, Trump was endorsed by 88 retired U.S. generals and admirals, who in an open letter attacked Hillary Clinton as a person “substantially responsible for the hollowing out of our military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world.”